The Freedom From Religion Foundation posted a "Winter Solstice" sign at the Illinois Capitol in Springfield over the weekend, arguing that there are no gods, angels, heaven or hell, and that religion "hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
The sign, which has been featured before in counter Christian displays, reads:
"At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
The group, which claims to have nearly 20,000 members nationwide, says that it celebrates Winter Solstice, which takes place on Dec. 21 and is the shortest and darkest day of the year, signaling the return of the sun and the New Year.
"We don't think that religion, or irreligion, belong at the seat of state government. But if religious displays are going up in state capitols, then our display representing the freethought point of view will be there, too. In celebrating the Winter Solstice, we celebrate reality," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Dan Barker, FFRF co-president, commented that Christians tend to think "they own the month of December. We don't agree. No month is free from pagan reverie!"
FFRF has been heavily active in posting atheist-themed billboards across the country this year, sparking controversy in a number of instances.
In October, the atheist group responded to a Christian billboard in New York's Times Square by putting up an ad at the same location with the phrase "OMG, there is no god!" alongside the face of former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Julia Sweeney.
Answers in Genesis had posted a 15-second video message stating, "To all of our atheist friends: Thank God you're wrong."
Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, previously told The Christian Post that the ad was in response to the growing number of atheist billboards going up across America.
"The atheists have been pretty aggressive in putting billboards up across the nation and some of the billboards have been very much focused on attacking Christianity," Ham said. "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 added that his organization received a lot of backlash from atheists over the Times Square ad.