U.S. - The American Atheists group wants to share the "true meaning of the holidays" with the masses. As part of that effort, members have put up a billboard in New York City's Times Square that reads, "Keep the Merry! Dump the Myth!"
On the billboard, "merry" is accompanied by a picture of Santa, while "myth" sits below a picture of a Jesus statue.
“The true beauty of the season -- family, friends, and love -- have nothing to do with the gods of yesteryear," Teresa MacBain, the group's communications director, said in a press release. "Indeed, the season is far more enjoyable without the religious baggage of guilt and judgmentalism.”
“We know that a large population of Christians are actually atheists who feel trapped in their family's religion," David Silverman, President of American Atheists, said of the billboard. "If you know God is a myth, you do not have to lie and call yourself Christian in order to have a festive holiday season. You can be merry without the myth, and indeed, you should.”
The billboard will be displayed in Times Square through Jan. 10.
The group has made a tradition of erecting similar billboards every December, as part of a campaign critics have labeled "entirely unreasonable, inflammatory," and a "below the belt crusade."
More American atheist billboards:
In this Sept.9, 2010 photo, a billboard erected by atheists in Oklahoma City reads "Don't believe in God? Join the club." Oklahoma ranks eighth in the nation for percentage of residents who self-identify as Christians (85%)
Atheist billboard on Capital Blvd. in Raleigh, North Carolina, can be seen March 29, 2011
A billboard sponsored by an atheist group is displayed near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel in North Bergen, N.J., Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010. Now, the Catholic League has countered by putting up its own billboard near one of the tunnel's New York City entrances
An atheistic billboard in Chicago
A billboard erected in one of the Harrisburg's most racially diverse neighborhoods featured an African slave with the biblical quote, "Slaves, obey your masters." It lasted less than a day before someone tore it down