Observers say Christianity and the Christmas spirit are under attack after an atheist organization kicked off an ad campaign in Washington, D.C., that suggests believing in humanism is a better alternative for Christmas enthusiasts than believing in God.
Sponsored by the American Humanist Association (AHA), ads reading: "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake" began appearing Tuesday on buses in the nation’s capital. The ads, which will run through December, are a play on the lyrics from the famous Christmas song: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
“It is the ultimate ‘grinch’ to suggest there is no God during a holiday where millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” said Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based legal group that just launched its “Friend or Foe” Christmas Campaign in an effort to defend America from the same secularization faced by people living under atheistic governments.
“Christmas is a time of joy and hope, not a time for hate,” Staver said.
But Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA, said humanists have always believed society doesn’t need God to be good. “Morality doesn't come from religion,” he said.Â
His organization proclaimed the ad campaign as a new kind of “holiday ad” and boasted that for them such high-profile promotion wasn't new.
Earlier this year, humanist ads popped up outside New York City and Philadelphia, which read: “Don't believe in God? You are not alone” while in Europe, a similar campaign supported by the British Humanist Association and best-selling atheist author Richard Dawkins was launched by a 28-year-old comedy writer.
Ads from that campaign reading: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life,” will begin appearing on London buses in January.
But Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, took issue with the notion humanists promote that good can be derived from some place other than God.
“It's a stupid ad,” he said of the AHA’s latest campaign, according to the Associated Press. “How do we define ‘good’ if we don’t believe in God? God in His word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what’s good, it’s going to be a crazy world.”
“Why believe in God?” asked Staver. “Because Santa is not the only one coming to town.”
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