By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The same humanist group that peppered the Washington DC transit system with signs reading “Why Believe in a God? Just be Good for Goodness’ Sake” last Christmas is back with a new and larger campaign aimed at the growing percentage of people who claim no religious affiliation.
After last year’s successful campaign, the American Humanist Association has announced plans for a new advertising campaign that will run in five major U.S. cities this Christmas – Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The ads, which proclaim “No God? No Problem!” and feature images of smiling youth in Santa hats, will be blazoned across the cities’ transit systems. The ads kicked off this week inside 200 buses, on fifty rail cars and the side or tail of twenty buses. Beginning early this month, the same ad will appear on select buses New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, explained, “We’re hoping this campaign will build awareness about the humanist movement and our ethical life philosophy – particularly among the ‘nones:’ the rapidly growing percentage of people who claim no religion.”
The group says this year’s holiday campaign aims to promote the idea of being good without God.
“Humanists have always understood that striving to make the world a better place is one of humanity’s most important responsibilities,” said Speckhardt. “Religion does not have a monopoly on morality–millions of people are good without believing in God.”
Speckhardt pointed to the false assumption held by many that not believing in God indicates a lack of morality as the reason for needing such advertising campaigns. “We want to change the way people think and talk about nontheists, and to pave the way for acceptance of humanism as a valid and positive philosophy of life.”
Kristi Hamrick, president of the Christian conservative group, Campaign for Working Families, told CNSNews that religious Americans shouldn’t be intimidated by the ads or think they need to respond with contempt to the producers.
“People of faith should view the Humanist displays at this special — even holy — time of year, with compassion,” she said.
“Because of the blessings of liberty we enjoy as Americans, they certainly have the right to their strident displays of antagonism to faith. But at this time of year when so many of us are thanking God for our blessings, especially the blessing of his only Son come to earth for us, we need to pray for them.”
She also said that the “eternal truths” of Christianity do not require validation by atheists and Christians especially should feel “empowered” to celebrate the Christmas holiday openly and proudly.
“I hope people will take a moment to pray for others when they see the (Humanist) displays,” Hamrick said. “Eternal truths are not dependent on the permission of the Humanists to be (true.) And I hope that people of faith will feel equally empowered at this time of year to express their own beliefs.”
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