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Jesus 'Has Nothing to Do With' Christmas, Says 'Skip Church' Ad

Jesus 'Has Nothing to Do With' Christmas, Says 'Skip Church' Ad

American Atheists' holiday billboards promotes being 'Good for Goodness Sake' in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area and in Colorado Springs, Colorado, going up in December 2015. | (Photo: American Atheists atheists.org)

The American Atheists group is posting billboards in two cities ahead of Christmas, calling on believers to be naughty and "skip church."

"We want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person," American Atheists President David Silverman said in a statement Monday about the billboards, which are located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"The things that are most important during the holiday season — spending time with loved ones, charity, and being merry — have nothing to do with religion."

Silverman indicated that this year's billboard, which depicts Santa Claus, is a continuation of the group's billboards from last year which featured a young girl writing to Santa asking to "skip church" for Christmas.

Silverman told The Christian Post in December 2014 that the message behind the ads is about "atheists who go along to get along, attending and possibly tithing a church that preaches a religion in which they don't believe, for no other reason than habit or familial pressure."

Much like last year's campaign, the group said that its Christmas billboards this year are also aimed at reaching the millions of Americans who still attend church but have doubts about their beliefs.

"It is important for these folks who are on the fence about their beliefs to know that they can take that first big step and leave church," added Nick Fish, national program director of American Atheists. "There are tens of millions of atheists in this country. We're everywhere. And we don't need church or gods to tell us how to be good people."

FOX21News.com reported that the billboards along the I-25 in Colorado Springs were stirring some controversy, with some residents unsure about their message.

"I think it's a little offensive. When I first saw it I thought 'what did they mean by that,'" said Alexis Esselman.

Damara Metrick added, "I think their intentions are good, but maybe they could have worded it differently."

The atheist group insisted, however, that the ads aren't meant to be an attack on Christians.

Spokesman Randy Gotovich said that it is "perfectly fine" for people to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ during Christmas, but also said that the other side of the holiday, such as "spending time with family, swapping gifts, having a meal together," is "inherently secular."

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