Just as millions of Americans are preparing to commemorate Jesus’ birth, a secular activist group is once again taking aim at the traditional purpose for the holiday season, asking in a new digital billboard: ”Who needs Christ during Christmas?”

American Atheists, an activist group known for posting its controversial messages on billboards across the nation, unveiled its latest anti-Christmas ad this week in New York City’s Times Square — a 40′ by 40′ display that is sure to rile critics concerned over the so-called “War on Christmas.”

After asking “Who needs Christ,” the digital billboard shows a hand crossing out Jesus’ name with a marker and text that answers the curiosity with a one word answer — “Nobody.” The next graphic tells viewers to “Celebrate the true meaning of XMAS.”

This “true meaning,” according to the billboard, includes charity, family, friends and food — all secular elements that are associated with Christmas. It concludes with the more general “Happy Holidays” greeting.

Christmas Is Better Without Christ: Atheists Take Their Anti Christmas Message to NYCs Times Square

Credit: American Atheists

A press release announcing the new billboard noted that its purpose is to declare that “Christmas is better without Christ.”

“This season is a great time of year for a hundred reasons — none of them having to do with religion,” American Atheists President David Silverman said in the release. “This year, start a new tradition: Don’t go to church. You hate it, it’s boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated. Instead, spend more time with your family and friends — or volunteer. There are better uses of your time and money.”

American Atheists’ Public Relations Director Dave Muscato went on to say that he believes most individuals aren’t concerned with religious ties during the holiday season and that fun, family and friends are really what observers care about.

The 15-second ad is running three times every hour and will be shown in a separate location near New York City’s Penn Station starting next week.

“We all love this time of year. Christianity has been trying to claim ownership of the season for hundreds of years,” Silverman added. “But the winter solstice came first and so did its traditions. The season belongs to everybody.”

Watch the digital billboard below:

Anti-Christmas ads are a tradition for American Atheists. In 2010, the group posted a message in New Jersey calling the Christmas story “a myth” (The Catholic League erected a response). And in 2011, American Atheists followed that up with another campaign, featuring Jesus, Satan and Santa.

Last year, the group’s 2012 “Keep the Merry! Dump the Myth!” ad elevated the controversy the group regularly ignites by providing an image of Santa with a photo of Jesus suffering on the cross. The “merry” corresponded to the traditional Christmas mascot, with “myth” (in caps) presented beneath the Christian savior’s picture, clearly in reference to Jesus’ death.

(H/T: Huffington Post)

Featured image via American Atheists