(Photo: FOX40 video screencap)
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is putting up over 55 billboards across Sacramento, Calif., in November with messages like "I'm not a believer and life is still awesome." A local bishop has branded the ads as "propaganda."
"While I'm not happy about these billboards, I am certain people still, when they look deep down in their soul and in their heart, find a spark. They believe in a higher power," said Bishop Jaime Soto with the Cathedral of a Blessed Sacrament in an interview with FOX40.
FFRF, one of the largest secular groups in the nation, says that its idea behind the billboards is to show that atheists are regular people too who can be good and happy and love the holidays, but without a belief in God. The ads feature images of secular people and couples with declarations reading: "Integrity and passion require no gods" and "Reason. Equality. Doing good without Gods."
FFRF Sacramento President Judy Saint of Roseville said the ads will help nonbelievers realize that they are not alone.
"We are just like other people. We celebrate the holidays, but we don't believe in god. You could call us free thinkers," Saint added.
Soto and the FFRF president also disagreed on how much of an impact they believe the billboards will have on the Sacramento community.
The atheist group has made news a number of times this past year with billboards it has put up across the country. Most recently, the group advertised a poster in New York's Times Square, reading "OMG, there is no god!" The ad served as a response to a previous digital billboard by creationist group Answers in Genesis that was addressed to "our atheist friends," stating "Thank God you're wrong."
"A fifth of the U.S. population identifies as nonbelievers," explained FFRF co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor. "We don't thank a nonexistent god, we put faith in each other and human ingenuity. We believe in deeds, not creeds. We believe the only afterlife that ought to concern us is leaving our descendants a secure and pleasant future."
Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham previously told The Christian Post that atheist groups across the country have been focused in their attacks on Christianity, which prompted AiG to act.
"Not just promoting their atheism, but attacking Christianity. And they put one in Times Square last Christmas that said 'Keep the Merry' with a picture of Santa Claus, 'and dump the myth' with a picture representing Christ," Ham reminded readers.