American Atheists and Santa

Maybe you've heard the hubbub about the billboard that the American Atheists have placed in NYC this holiday season?  I was watching our Question of God Forum partner Dave Silverman defend/explain it on FOX news yesterday afternoon.  If you haven't seen the now infamous billboard, here it is:

"You KNOW it's a Myth.  This Season, Celebrate REASON."  So sez the American Atheists, anyway.

Dave says that he's not trying to convert people to Atheism, only trying to get Atheists to "come out of the closet."  Fair enough, though the notion of Atheists being a persecuted minority seems a bit dramatic.   Now, even some atheists themselves don't like this billboard, and I don't really care for it either, but I suppose it's a free country and if Dave's organization wants to drop $20,000 and buy themselves a bit of controversy (and air-time), they have the right to do so.

On a side note, the billboard company approached several Christian organizations to see if they wanted to put up a competing billboard, and they declined, saying they felt the money could be spent better elsewhere.  

On another side note, there are very good reasons why Dave's accusation about Christianity being a myth (read: made up or grossly exaggerated story) don't hold water, but that's a topic for another discussion.  If you're interested in the topic, here's a good place to start: Myth Article

Now money and historical debate aside, personally, I would think if someone wanted to use the Christmas season as an excuse to take on a "myth" that is actually destructive to our culture, they'd be much better served firing their vitriol elsewhere.  Namely, at the North Pole.

Yes, I mean Santa.  The omniscient red-velvet-clad home invader who inspires greed in the hearts of children and induces stress in their parent's wallets.  Now there's a story worthy of our ire.

A blast from the past, two of my first posts for your reading enjoyment.  I like this billboard so much better than Dave's...



10 comments:

Don and Shelly said...

Jess, you nailed it. Keep em' coming.

Prisca said...

Thank you, Shelly! I appreciate your encouragement! :o)

Prisca said...

Oh and on a side note, I do have to say that I heard last night on the news that a catholic organization did just put up an "opposing" billboard that says something like "you know it's REAL... this season, celebrate Jesus." Of course I like the message, but I wish they hadn't taken the bait when there are so many more worthy things to drop that kind of money on. Oh well.

Katie said...

Interesting, I had not heard of the billboard before.

Glad we serve a God who is so much bigger than all this. He is not threatened.

(Joining you at Gathering Inspirit)

Don and Shelly said...

Jess: so true.

Katie: nicely put, simple, to the point and no billboard required~!

Merry Christmas!

Prisca said...

Katie, I could not agree more. It's almost as if they think that THIS will be the argument that destroys 2,000 years of Christian history. Virtually laughable. God is not threatened, and we don't need to be either. How liberating is that?! :o)

Thanks so much for your comment, and for stopping by!

Manolo Matos said...

I don't know how can you say atheists have not been a "persecuted minority" when we can't even run for public office in six states (TX, AR, MS, TN, SC, MD). But like everything else, we will change that. By the way, I love the billboard.

http://loquemedicenlasvoces.blogspot.com/2010/08/is-that-your-solemn-affirmation.html

Steve said...

How can you say we Atheists are not a persecuted minority when Presidents (George HW Bush)have said Atheists are not real Americans.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_03/008488.php

Also, laws based on Christian "morality" do have an impact on our lives. There are many things in the bible that I don't think you would consider to be moral.

Prisca said...

Hey Manolo and Steve,

Thanks for your comments!

Manolo, I have never heard of Atheists being denied office, so I can't confirm or deny that. I will say though that there are thousands of antiquated laws on the books across the US that are never enforced and are generally regarded as ridiculous, and they aren't removed because it takes more effort to legally remove them than it does to just keep on ignoring them. I wouldn't be surprised if those laws (if they do indeed exist as you say) would fall into that category. And in a nation where more college professors (who educate future politicians) are atheist than are evangelical Christians, I suppose you don't have anything to worry about.

And Steve, do you think that being called unamerican by someone (even someone in power) makes you a persecuted minority? Really? I guess you just made my case when I said that the whole atheists-as-persecuted-minority thing was a bit dramatic. I'd be willing to wager that there are probably some beaten and bloody near-victims of genocide somewhere huddling in a cave who would take issue with you as well.

Peace to both of you. Merry Christmas. :o)

Steve said...

Steve again...For some reason I had to create an account to comment this time.

I agree, not persecuted like some other groups, but there is definitely prejudice out there. I have a feeling a person of any religion would have an easier time getting elected to office than an atheist. I have a feeling there are many atheists in national office but they remain "in the closet" for fear of backlash.

What do you think is worse? An atheist who pretends to be Christian, or an open atheist? Do you think atheists are immoral no matter what? Do you think I will go to hell if I don't accept Jesus even though I leave a relatively peaceful life?

Merry Christmas to you as well. I happily celebrate Christmas, just not the religious aspects of it.