The owner of a Christian billboard company is defending American Atheists' "Skip Church!" Christmas ads on display in cities across the United States.
David Johnson, owner of Signs of Christmas, a group that displays Christian-themed billboards, told Fox News in an interview Saturday that he's thankful the secular group included the word "Christmas" in its ads, saying that even some Christians fail to do that.
"I appreciate that they put 'Christmas' on the billboard," Johnson said.
"Even Christians were not recognizing that it was the birth of Jesus Christ. We are appreciative of anyone recognizing Christmas," he said.
"Without the atheists, I wouldn't be on Fox News right now!" Johnson quipped.
American Atheists' National Program Director Nick Fish explained that for his part, the message the group is trying to send is "if you don't believe in all the religious stuff, you could still have a great Christmas."
Fish added: "Having a meal with friends and family, giving gifts to our kids, doing charity — all those things are not just religious; Christianity does not have a monopoly on those things."
Johnson agreed that people deserve to have the right to choose how they celebrate Christmas, noting that churches do a lot of good over the holidays, such as reaching out to homeless people and assisting disaster victims.
Fish said that non-believers are generous and giving as well, which Johnson did not disagree with.
"I like what Nick's saying. I think he's right. People should have a choice. And people shouldn't be ridiculed for their choice," the Christian billboards owner said.
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, said in a statement about the ads that "it is important for people to know religion has nothing to do with being a good person, and that being open and honest about what you believe — and don't believe — is the best gift you can give this holiday season.
"More and more Americans are leaving religion, but we still have work to do when it comes to fighting the stigma many atheists face."
Fish mirrored that sentiment, and insisted that although someone can be a Christian and a good person, that doesn't mean that people must be religious in order to be good.
The two American Atheists billboards, with the messages to "Skip Church!" and celebrate an "Atheist Christmas," were put up earlier in December in Colorado, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina.
Johnson concluded his Fox interview with a call for Christians to show love, not hate, toward atheists.
"I would encourage Christians to not show hate toward someone with an opposing view, let's use the opportunity to show Christian love" to all, he said.