by Dr. Susan Berry 2 Dec 2013
An atheist organization is beginning a billboard campaign in Sacramento, California to encourage other atheists to “come out of the closet” as the Christmas season has believers turning their focus to faith in God.
According to a local ABC news affiliate, the Greater Sacramento Chapter of the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is erecting 55 billboards on Monday just as the Christmas season gets into full swing. The campaign, part of an ongoing endeavor titled, “Out of the Closet,” hopes to let atheists know that having God in your life is not a necessity.
“It’s because atheists are starting to speak up and they’re beginning to identify each other and find out they’re not alone,” said Judy Saint, president of the atheists’ group chapter. “There are a lot of non-believers and this time of year, they feel like they’re all alone.”
Saint said the movement is not about being anti-God but that it’s acceptable not to embrace a God. Happiness and goodness, she said, are not exclusive to having a higher being in your life.
“You don’t have to have a God in your life,” Saint said.
Some of the billboard quotes include: “A life of love, no Gods required;” “No Gods, no devils, no worries;” “Live for now, not for after;” and “I believe in people, not gods.”
Fox News reported that Roman Catholic Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento said of the billboard campaign, “While I’m not happy about these billboards, I am certain people still, when they look deep down in their soul and in their heart, find a spark. They believe in a higher power.”
Annie Laurie Gaylor, who is associated with the atheists’ organization, stressed that the billboard campaign is not meant to insult Christmas but, instead, to urge people to ignore the religious messages behind it.
“The whole month of December is taken over in a celebration of the religious beliefs, in particular Christianity, and it’s just as if the whole month turns non-believers into outsiders,” Gaylor said.
Gaylor would not disclose the cost of the billboard campaign, but said it would run throughout the holiday season.