Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have put up a display at the state capitol, urging people to "forget your guilt" and treat Easter like any other day.
"Only go to church on Christmas? Forgot about lent? Forget your guilt and like any other day, have a happy April 16<sup>th," the message reads.
AHA explained on its website that the Wisconsin capitol "becomes dominated" by Christmas and Easter displays each year, and that is why it is adding its own messages.
"We chose for this display to be bright and cheery to draw viewers in, and then to have them comprehend what it is saying and to give somewhat of a shock factor," the group explained.
AHA Outreach Officer Emily Pyszora said that "it is vital for the secular community to have a voice, especially in our government if the church is going to continue to be ingrained within it."
Pyszora argued that the message is aimed to illustrate that nonbelievers live in Wisconsin as well.
"The more that the secular community puts themselves out there to be seen, the better. People who only see the world through their religious viewpoint need to be comfortable and understanding of secularism, because secular people have to live their daily lives in a religious world and are tolerant to religion," she said.
"If only religious displays are shown in our highest state government building, one who is an agnostic humanist, like myself, will not feel represented."
Last year, the same group posted a "Jedism" display at the state capitol around Easter, featuring character Obi-Wan Kenobi in the role of Jesus, as the "one man [who] died for all."
Easter is one of the most important dates on the Christian calendar as it marks the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His message of hope and salvation to the world.
Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California recently spoke of the significance of Easter.
"This Easter, millions of people will gather in churches all over the world to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Easter is the story of the greatest rescue mission in history. God came to earth in the form of Jesus Christ to rescue all of humanity. Because of the cross and because of His resurrection, hope is alive," Warren wrote on Facebook last week.
Nick Vujicic, the man known around the world as the "limbless evangelist" as he was born without any arms and legs, said in his Easter message on Sunday that the world needs to remember that Jesus is the reason for the holiday.
"With Easter soon approaching, I want to take the next week to focus on the relentless, comforting love provided to us by Christ Jesus. Many people associate Easter with bunnies and eggs, but I want to take the next week to focus on the sacrifice Christ made for US," Vujicic wrote.
"Despite our messy, sinful, human-ness, Jesus sacrificed Himself as an act of real love, so that we may be made whole. I can't wait to go on this journey of experiencing the love of God together."
Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas in Texas suggested that there is a "war on Easter" coming from secularists who want to remove the religious meaning of the holiday.
Commenting last week on the controversy surrounding the chocolate company Cadbury's removal of "Easter" references from its egg hunt promotions, Jeffress told Fox Business, "I just returned from Israel today, and I have the breaking news that the tomb of Jesus Christ is still empty, just as it has been for 2,000 years, and nothing a candy company does is going to extinguish that historic fact. That is the hope of Christians around the world."