Atheist billboards are going up around Northern California in an effort to bring non-believers out of the closet at Christmas time.
An organization promoting secular views has paid to put up more than 50 billboards in the Sacramento area, aimed at bringing light to the growing number of atheists who don’t fit in with the outward displays of Christianity that accompany Christmas.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation says they want to help non-believers “come out of the closet” and be open about their atheism.
“The whole month of December is taken over in a celebration of the religious beliefs, in particular Christianity, and it’s just as if the whole month turns non-believers into outsiders,” Annie Laurie Gaylor, president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, told FoxNews.com.
The atheist billboards show testimonials from non-believers in the area, delivering messages like, “I believe in people, not gods,” and “Integrity and compassion require no gods.”
Gaylor said she hopes the atheist billboards might inspire some healthy debate about the role of secularism in America.
The atheist billboards are going up as non-believers nationwide have grown more organized. In several cities, “atheist churches” have popped up where non-believers meet for music, an inspirational message, and quiet time to reflect.
After starting in Great Britain, these churches have popped up in Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, and many other cities.
The group Sunday Assembly has even started efforts to create and promote “a godless congregation in every town, city, and village, that wants one.”
Founder Sanderson Jones said he developed the idea after attending a Christmas program at a traditional church:
“There was so much about it that I loved, but it’s a shame because at the heart of it, it’s something I don’t believe in… If you think about church, there’s very little that’s bad. It’s singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships.”
The atheist billboards will take a more aggressive stance against Christianity and Christmas displays. The Freedom from Religion Foundation plans to erect a large version of the letter “A,” which stands for atheism, in Chicago’s Daley Plaza, near the location of an annual Christmas display.