Calif. Atheist Group to Raise Anti-Christmas Billboard Next Week

Backyard Skeptics, an atheist group based in Orange County, Calif., known for staging anti-religion events and advertising campaigns, is planning to put up a roadside billboard with an anti-Christmas message in Costa Mesa next week.

The billboard is to read: “It is the season to celebrate reason. Happy winter solstice non-believers,” which refers to the pagan practice of celebrating the winter solstice, Bruce Gleason, the group’s founder and president, told The Christian Post Friday.

The group is also planning to buy a year-long billboard in Westminster, Calif., which it could use for changing artwork every month or two.

The group, founded in 2008, has been fighting to convince the public that the United States is a country not grounded on any religious principles.

“Backyard Skeptics is a place where humanists, rational thinkers, atheists and agnostics have a place to explore the world without religious dogma. We strive to bring awareness and acceptance to the non-theist community,” reads a statement on the group's website.

One of the group's previous billboards attempted to convince observers to “Make this a better world. Reject all religious superstitions.”

Backyard Skeptics has also received a lot of media attention recently, after it came out that the group had erroneously assigned an anti-Christian quote to Thomas Jefferson. The billboard the group raised in Costa Mesa in late October read: "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It is founded on fables and mythology --Thomas Jefferson." The group took it down after it was pointed out that experts say the founding father never uttered these words.

But the message of that billboard was a good example of what the group is trying to convey -- that the United States of America should be a secular country, with a complete separation of church and state.

Its most recent billboard, which is called the “Treaty of Tripoli” billboard, is trying to convince the public once again, that America’s founding fathers did not intend for the country to be based on Christian principles. It reads: “America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” The message relates to the famous and much disputed clause on religion that was included in a peace treaty between the United States and Tripolitania (modern day Libya) in 1796. Some claim that the pro-secular clause is proof that the people who shaped the laws of this country did not intend it to be one based in Christian principles.

“Even though some of them had their personal beliefs, they all wanted a secular America. Not a Christian America, not a Muslim America, not a Jewish America, not a Protestant or Baptist or Catholic America,” Gleason told CP Friday, speaking of the founding fathers. “They wanted a secular America where they wanted to hold their conscience, their freedom of conscience, to the standards of what hey were writing down.”

The group has also staged multiple anti-Christian events, including one in September in which members ripped out passages from the Bible they deemed “immoral.”

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