Santa Says 'Skip Church!' on Atheist Group's Billboards
A national Atheist group isn't shying away from the so-called War on Christmas, they're embracing it - at least the Christ part.
American Atheists, a 50-year-old New Jersey-based group, launched their annual Christmas campaign this week, which urges holiday revelers to keep out of the pews.
On the billboards in two states, a naughty-looking Santa tells passersby: "Go ahead and skip church, just be good for goodness' sake."
The billboards were erected in Winston-Salem, North Carolina area and in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Both cities are considered to be among the more Christian-minded metros in America.
American Atheists president David Silverman said in a statement on Monday that the billboards are just a reminder that anyone can be good, whether or not they claim a religion.
"We want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person. The things that are most important during the holiday season—spending time with loved ones, charity, and being merry—have nothing to do with religion.
"Last year’s billboard showed a child writing a letter to Santa, telling him that all she wanted for Christmas was to skip church. This year, Santa wrote back."
Meanwhile, though, the group does admit to having motives outside of just casting themselves in a positive light.
“It is important for these folks who are on the fence about their beliefs to know that they can take that first big step and leave church,” said Nick Fish, national program director of American Atheists. “There are tens of millions of atheists in this country. We’re everywhere. And we don’t need church or gods to tell us how to be good people.”
Not surprisingly, as KRDO in Colorado Spring reports, some residents find the billboards offensive. "It's terrible. Especially this time of year. I don't think everyone has to go to church but I'm a believer and I just don't like that whole message," said Bonnie Miller.