Just in time to spread some holiday cheer this season, the American Atheists want to let you know they think going to church is “fake news.”
On their website, the American Atheists shared the designs for their new Christmas-themed ad campaign. Alongside the typical manger scene used to symbolize Christmas, one of the billboard ads reads, “JUST SKIP CHURCH IT'S ALL FAKE NEWS!”
Another ad for the American Atheists National Convention mentions Santa Claus.
According to their website, the “fake news” billboard ads appear in Albuquerque and Dallas.
American Atheists’ national program director Nick Fish told NBC News, “The choice is often between being provocative or not being heard at all. If we can start that initial conversation, then we’re doing our jobs to get the ball rolling and get our foot in the door.”
Fish said he chose to put the “fake news” sign in Albuquerque not because of its association with President Trump, but because there are a lot of Christians who live there.
“It’s about targeting areas where religious identity is assumed. Albuquerque is not necessarily a conservative place,” he explained, “but there is a lot of religious expectation there and we want to challenge that.”
Fish’s statement on the American Atheists website claims that people are “skeptical” of news stories they see on the internet, but they don’t share that same skepticism when it comes to their religion.
“People are rightly skeptical about some of the news they see on Facebook, hear from their family, or are told by elected officials,” Fish said. “But too often, they don’t extend that skepticism to their religious views and what their religious leaders are telling them.”
In addition to the “fake news” signs in Albuquerque and Dallas, there are also advertisements for the American Atheists National Convention in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
NBC News claims the “fake news” sign was also intended for the Oklahoma market, but Lamar Advertising said no.
Lamar Advertising Company said the ad referencing Santa, however, “was deemed acceptable, but given the nature of this market, it is still considered to be sensitive.”
In 2016, the American Atheists ad campaign encouraged people to “MAKE CHRISTMAS GREAT AGAIN” by skipping church.
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