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Billboard at the Lincoln Tunnel celebrates atheism

atheists2112910_optBY PAM LOBLEY
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
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.

atheists112910_optIt'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.

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Comments (14)
14 Wednesday, 01 December 2010 19:48
Mike J
If its a Myth, then why pay so much attention to it?
13 Wednesday, 01 December 2010 04:55
Zachary Quinlan
Atheists go after Christmas more than other holidays because it's the only federal holiday that's also explicitly religious. understandably, most atheists feel very strongly about keeping religion out of government, and we feel it is our right and our duty to fight any example of government favoring, endorsing, or legislating a religious belief. That's one big reason why we go after Christmas more than other religious holidays, although this billboard in no way addresses that fact.

So count me as an atheist who, despite understanding the motivation for it, thinks this billboard is a bad idea.
12 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 18:47
Brendan O'Casey
I don't have a problem with atheists putting up signs, but haven;t they anything better to do with their money? Like working to save the environment, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, protect the rights women and minorities, combat the Tea Party extremists. OK, we know what the atheist ad folks are against, but what are they for?
11 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 16:50
Keeping the spirit
Seems to me this billboard is screaming "cheap shot" in my face when I go through the tunnel. It strikes me as rude. If the billboard was attacking the muslims or the jews, I would feel the same. It's just plain rude. I'm saddened that our society has become so vicously intolerant. This is nothing more than a silly outcry from a small minded group of people. Let's move on and use this as a lesson on how NOT to behave.
10 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 15:23
Eddie
I ride by hundreds of Churches every year with NEGATIVE connotations of not being Christian ? If you don`t repent you will go to hell .A life without jesus is a life of evil ,Come share the bread of life " jesus ".,A man without jesus is a man withoutout morals .You christians do nothing but put down those who don`t add to your collection plate ,Are you blind of what your Preists,and pastors are doing with your money ???? They Rape little boys ,Buy mansions ,jet planes ,expensive suits ,and jewelry to show how god has been good to them .
Idiots ....YOU have been good to them .There is no god or jesus just folklore that continues to feed the kitty .I give to the needy ,homeless, elderly ,animal rights ,the sick and the lonely directly fromMY pocket .How about you ?????
Or do you donate to the church for a TAX WRITE-OFF ????
9 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 14:28
pughua
Over and over I read articles about this. How dare Atheists "attack" your holiday. I mean, I haven't been bombarded my whole life with 'Got Jesus' billboards or 'better safe than sorry' junk mail in my mailbox or hanging on my doorknob.

Maybe Christians should think about what they're defending. Is Christmas a Christian holiday? Not really. It's been turned into one, adopted by Christians from an existing religion that had a similar holiday at the same time (Yule). Much like all the other "Christian" holidays.

Tell me what do Christmas trees, wrapped gifts, Santa, elves, flying deer, etc have to do with Christianity? Must've been in one of the scriptures the church voted to leave out of the bible eh?

And, don't bee silly author and get your panties all in a bunch. We won't see anti-mulsim or hindu or jewish billboards because those religions are a tiny minority compared to the amount of Christians. When you put up a billboard, you try and attract the largest demographic you can.

It's hard, being one of the masses, for you to see what it's like living on the other side, where you can't run for public office in some states if you don't check a box next to a religion or where the president of the united states can say that he doesn't consider atheists American citizens. Gotta love how a President can just casually dismiss one of the most important bits of the Constitution in the name of his religious beliefs. Can't imagine why atheists would want to go after Christians...
8 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 13:51
TXatheist
The author asks why no billboards against Ramadan/Islam or Hanukah/Judaism? Cause they aren't say there is a war on Ramadan or Hanakuh. md457@hotmail.com
7 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 13:22
Scarlet A
You would think that in this day and age, a mere billboard would be a non-issue. The reason this billboard had a christian slant is that christianity has inserted it's mythology right into the solstice and now claims it exclusively as a christian holiday...which it is not.

I am proud of my home state! Here in AZ we have an uphill battle, but we are making ourselves known.

I am a proud American Atheist!
6 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:28
John Fitz
Pam,

I have to wonder why this gets you or any christian agitated. When I see a billboard asking me to "Find Jesus" or to "Get Saved" I never see any news stories or pundits discussing whether it is right or wrong for such a billboard to be posted. Why is our non belief not as valid as your belief?
5 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:27
Clint Page
Atheists, agnostics and the other associated non-believers outnumber Jews in this country. We outnumber Muslims. We outnumber Hindus and Jains and Ba'Hais and Wiccans and Cthulhu cult practicioners. If you want to develop a strong rep, you obviously don't bully the little guys--you try and punch above your weight, right? American Atheists is targeting the biggest religious group in the country, the one that is in absolutely no danger of suffering the effects of discrimination. As an atheist, I think the billboards are actually pretty pointless and way past their useful time, but that doesn't mean that the Christian reaction I've seen so far hasn't been pathetically over-sensitive. You guys represent 4/5 of the population. Stop your whining.
4 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 11:26
Alabama Atheist
"This week begins Hanukkah. Will they put up a billboard somewhere saying "Be Reasonable "

Did you read your own article?

"Every year, atheists get blamed for having a war on Christmas, even if we don't do anything. This year, we decided to give the religious right a taste of what war on Christmas looks like."
3 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 10:40
Atheist
I agree. In fact, I think they should put the billboard against "Diwali"/Hinduism in India...that would make sense since it's a majority there.
I know many atheists who are closeted in India, and I think that would be something the Indian Atheists should do.
2 Tuesday, 30 November 2010 10:19
Atheist, Norway
I can ensure you that Atheists also would like to comment similarly to other religions too. It's reasoneable to start with the majority here, wouldn't you think?
1 Monday, 29 November 2010 21:43
Yah, way
It continues to be remarkable that the religion which enjoys the greatest hegemony in the United States, Christianity in its many varieties, produces such defensive reactions in some of its adherents to the slightest of challenges.

Judaism now accounts for about one percent of religious *world-wide.* Islam remains a very small minority religion in the U.S. If you're really concerned being "reasonably" fair, perhaps to be proportionate the atheists can get around to challenging Jewish tradition after they've devoted - what, perhaps a thousand? - billboards to Christianity.

That seems reasonable. Unless, of course, it's really cultural domination rather than fairness that the complaining Christians are intent on protecting.

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