In the midst of this year's holiday advertising, a call for reason has come out for the season.
But we report, and you decide.
There is a billboard above a New Jersey highway which looks to be celebrating the Christmas season, showing the images of the manger, the three wise men and the Star of Bethlehem.
It is on Route 495, at Kennedy Blvd. (on the NJ side, right before the Lincoln Tunnel entering Manhattan).
American Atheists say they are trying to reach out to what they claim are millions of closeted non-believers during this holiday season. According to the American Atheists website, the billboard serves three purposes:
- 1) To address those atheists who "go along to get along", and to encourage them to come out of their closets
- 2) To attack the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season.
- 3) To raise the awareness of the organization and the movement.
According to NorthJersey.com, the $20,000 campaign is timed to preempt annual accusations that liberal groups are waging war on Christmas by asking church adherents to question their holiday traditions, according to American Atheists President David Silverman.
Other atheist groups are also stepping up their campaigns. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is showing a stained glass-like billboard in North Carolina with a similar message.
Foxnews.com reports the American Humanist Association has launched a television and print ad campaign, quoting the Bible and the Koran, to show how religion is the root of personal and worldly conflict.
Atheists are acting off recent polls that show 15 percent of Americans have no religious affiliation ... and that the number is growing.
"One mistake that is commonly made in interpreting some of these trends is assuming that the 15 to 20 percent of Americans who now say they have no religion are in fact atheists in the strong sense of that word," says Mark Chaves, professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University.
"Only a minority of them are outright atheists," he says.
Actually, America remains one of the most religious nations in the Western world ... with some of the highest rates of religious attendance and participation.
Whether the atheists' campaign will have any effect remains to be seen. Roughly 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God or some kind of higher power. Ironically, Chaves says, America's religious tolerance has made people more accepting of others whose religion is different from their own — even those with no religion.