(Photo courtesy the Municipality of Anchorage)
A nationwide atheist organization has purchased and put up 10 ads on the buses that service the largest city in Alaska.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation posted the ads on Anchorage's "People Movers" bus system on Monday. The ads on display for two of the buses depict a cartoon Santa Claus with the statement "Yes, Virginia...There Is No God."
The phrase for the ad parodies the famous editorial by Francis P. Church in an 1897 New York Sun newspaper edition.
Others include phrases such as "Imagine No Religion," "Enjoy Life Now: There Is No Afterlife," and "Sleep in on Sundays."
Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Co-President, said in a statement that these and other bus signs posted across the country were meant to give expression to the many nonreligious thought to exist in the area.
"Given that independent streak Alaskans are known for, there are many nonbelievers in Anchorage and Alaska at this time of year, who also have a message of good news and cheer – that reason is the answer," said Gaylor.
Paula J. Kangis, spokeswoman for the Municipality of Anchorage, told The Christian Post that this was the first year that FFRF had purchased ads for their buses.
According to Kangis, the ads will be on the buses until Jan. 6 of next year. She added that Christian groups are free to post pro-Christmas and pro-faith messages.
"If an advertiser with such messages would like to place ads on our buses with those messages, they would be welcome to," said Kangis.
When asked by CP about those who may feel that such messages are offensive, Kangis responded that the city government does not endorse the ads' message.
"The messages do not represent the opinion of the Public Transportation Department or the Municipality of Anchorage. However, they do fall within our guidelines and do not depict what we prohibit," said Kangis.
According to FFRF, Co-President Dan Barker explained that the overall free-thought ad campaign was meant to challenge the perception that Christians "own" December.
"[Christians think] they own the month of December. We don't agree. No month is free from pagan reverie!" said Barker.