NOW THAT'S FUNNY
Have you seen the new billboard at the Lincoln Tunnel? The American Atheists, a national atheist organization, have put up a sign that features a typical Christmas silhouette of wise men on camels approaching a manger, and the words read "You Know it's a Myth, This Season, Celebrate Reason!"
The Atheists say they want their point of view to be seen by many people during this Christmas season, and, certainly, in its location at the Lincoln Tunnel, it will. David Silverman, the President of the American Atheists, said the billboard served two purposes. One is to get people who do not believe in religious rituals but practice them anyway to "come out". The other is a somewhat reactionary response. He says, "Every year, atheists get blamed for having a war on Christmas, even if we don't do anything," he said. "This year, we decided to give the religious right a taste of what war on Christmas looks like."
I'm Catholic, and I celebrate Christmas, and I completely respect and defend the right of the atheists to post their viewpoint on a billboard. This is America, where we have freedom of speech, and separation of church and state. And frankly, no matter how religious you are, when you've heard "Jingle Bell Rock" on the radio 60 times before December 4, it's easy to feel a bit assaulted.
It's not that atheists don't believe in a Christian God, they don't believe in ANY God. That's why I can't wait to see their other billboards that dispel the myths of other religions. This week begins Hanukkah. Will they put up a billboard somewhere saying "Be Reasonable — Why Light all Those Candles When You Can Just Turn on a Light?
I don't recall seeing any billboards during the month of the Muslim holiday Ramadan, but maybe I missed it. Was it something like "Fasting? Really? Is that Reasonable?" Perhaps the atheists have a message for the Islamic extremists that they will post ..."Is It Reasonable to Commit Violence in the Name of Someone That Doesn't Exist?"
During the Hindu Festival of Dussehra, we might be treated to a billboard of this type: "A Cow is Just a Cow. Be Reasonable."
Americans love differing viewpoints, and we love equal opportunity. If the message is that it's OK not to believe in God, then that message would be for ALL believers, not just a select few.
That seems reasonable to me.
Pam Lobley writes the "Now That's Funny" column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.