Last week it was American Atheists launching their anti-Christmas campaign. And this week it is American Humanists’ turn, this time claiming discrimination against atheists runs rampant during the Christmas season and they want it stopped. Their image on billboards reads “Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice”.
â€œNonbelievers in America continue to be the object of discrimination,â€ Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said in a press release. â€œWe hope this campaign will spur a conversation about this problem that moves us in a positive direction.â€
While Speckhardt claims that atheists are unfairly encountering â€œhatredâ€ for their urge to advocate for separation of church and state, many religious adherents believe that non-believers take their opposition to religion too far. Additionally, some contend that atheist groups misread the First Amendment to mean that they must purge public forums of all references to faith.
â€œMany humanists and atheists in America experience hatred in their own communities when simply standing up for the separation of church and state, or fighting for other rights that should be afforded without question,â€ Speckhardt was quoted in the release.
The newspaper ads being placed by the group capture stories about atheists who have been called names and belittled as a result of their opposition to prayer and religion in the public square. The AHA claims that the group was turned down for billboard placements and newspaper ads in numerous towns.
â€œFrom past experience we knew that ad space is not always easy to obtain for groups with a secular message,â€ Speckhardt explained. â€œBut the refusal to accept an ad with a simple and friendly reminder that prejudice is â€˜naughty,â€™ is disheartening.â€
According to the groupâ€™s press release, a bus campaign will also be unveiled in Washington, D.C. The messages on it will read, â€œDonâ€™t Believe in a God? Join the club,â€ as a group of people in Santa hats give a thumbs up.
This year’s campaign seems tame compared to years past when ads were used specifically to mock belief in God.