Atheist Billboards: Non-God Messages Pop Up As Christmas Draws Near

Image: Atheist Billboards: Non-God Messages Pop Up As Christmas Draws Near

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 07:18 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Atheist billboards will be popping up throughout Sacramento, Calif., this Holiday season courtesy of the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).

More than 50 billboards are expected to be used in the campaign which asks Sacramento residents to "come out of the closet" and openly embrace their lack of belief in God at a time of year when the FFRF claims non-believers are inundated with religious sentiment.

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"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," FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told FoxNews.com.

On the billboards, onlookers see area atheists with their name, their profession and their message to fellow Sacramento residents.

Among the messages is one from Liz Shoemaker, a Sacramento teacher whose advertisement reads "I believe in people, not gods." Another is from Matt and Kimberly Martin, a Sacramento couple who says "Integrity and compassion require no gods," on their atheist billboard, Fox 40 KTXL-TV reported.

One of those Sacramento residents featured on a billboard is FFRF local chapter president Judy Saint, who appears with her wife Kathy.

"There are a lot of non-believers and this time of year, they feel like they're all alone," the atheist Saint told local ABC affiliate Sacramento's News 10. "This is not directed to people who enjoy their church, who enjoy their religion. That's fine. But we're talking to people who don't know that atheism is OK."

According to Gaylor, the response thus far has been positive throughout Sacramento, so much so that the atheist organization had to contract with a second billboard company to meet the demand, Fox News reported.

"We’re a free society, and it’s the free marketplace of ideas," Gaylor added. "It should be debated publicly. What’s wrong with open debate?"

Gaylor refused to say how much the billboard campaign will cost, saying only that it will run through the end of the year.

Not everyone in Sacramento however embraces the billboards.

"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," Bishop Jaime Soto, of Sacramento’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, told KTXL-TV.

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"Sacramento is a very religious community, lots of good is being done by religious people," Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento spokesperson Jon Fish told Sacramento's News 10. "I don't have any grief with any of that [but] I hope the religious people reach out to them. That's what we're supposed to do."

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