Non-believers are ready to cut through the cheer this holiday season with an in-your-face ad campaign aimed at stemming discrimination against those who don't place credence in a higher power.
The American Humanist Association's new campaign, which was announced today, features messages that highlight the fact that some atheists and non-believers feel mistreated by the masses. Billboards and newspaper ads proudly proclaim, "Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice."
While atheists and the religious go back and forth in their debate over what God's role in society should be, many non-believers contend that they, being such a small minority, are treated poorly as a result of their lack of faith.
“Nonbelievers in America continue to be the object of discrimination,” Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said in a press release. “We hope this campaign will spur a conversation about this problem that moves us in a positive direction.” The web page setup to promote the campaign echos this sentiment:
The phrase “Bias against atheists is naughty, not nice” is the main focus of this year’s campaign. Because of continued acts of discrimination against atheists in American, the AHA is attempting to bring attention to the problem and spur a conversation that will move us forward.
While Speckhardt claims that atheists are unfairly encountering "hatred" 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.
"Many 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,” 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.
“From past experience we knew that ad space is not always easy to obtain for groups with a secular message,” Speckhardt explained. “But the refusal to accept an ad with a simple and friendly reminder that prejudice is ‘naughty,’ is disheartening."
According to the group's press release, a bus campaign will also be unveiled in Washington, D.C. The messages on it will read, “Don’t Believe in a God? Join the club,” as a group of people in Santa hats give a thumbs up.
Last year, the Blaze reported on the AHA's holiday advertisements, which seemed even more inflammatory. Meredith Jessup wrote, "A number of the planned advertisements pluck scripture passages out of the Old Testament in an attempt to frighten impressionable women and homosexuals."
One of the ads read, “'The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.' (from Hosea 13:16, New International Version)."
The ads this year, though some may disagree with what they claim, seem a bit less inciting.