Atheist Humanist Ads Hit Washington DC Buses During Christmas season

By Jonquil Frankham

WASHINGTON, DC, November 13, 2008 ( –"Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake," proclaims a new ad campaign by the American Humanist Association meant to coincide with the Christmas season.

The campaign has already been launched in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and is due for the sides, backs, and interiors of more than 200 Washington buses by December 1st.

The American Humanist Association predicts that the ads will raise public awareness, and controversy, about the debate between science and religion. It is set to run throughout the Christmas season, says AHA president Fred Edwords, “to reach those open to this message but unaware how widespread their views are.” He also says, “There are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion."

“Morality doesn’t come from religion,” says Edwords. “It’s a set of values embraced by individuals and society based on empathy, fairness, and experience." He says that the intention of the ad campaign is not to offend, though he admits that “some folks may be offended.”

But Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, counters, “Codes of morality, of course, have always been grounded in religion. For those of us in Western civilization, its tenets emanate from the Judeo-Christian ethos. By casting this heritage aside, and replacing it with nothing more than the conscience of lone individuals, we lay the groundwork for moral anarchy.”

“And that is because there is nothing that cannot be justified if the only moral benchmark is what men and women posit to be right and wrong. Indeed, every monster in history has followed his conscience,” Donohue added.
  Tim Wildmon, of the American Family Association, asked, “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."

"It’s the ultimate grinch to say there is no God at a time when millions of people around the world celebrate the birth of Christ," said Matthew Staver of the Liberty University School of Law.

The ad campaign follows a similar campaign launched in London, with the support of prominent atheist Richard Dawkins. The bus ads read: "There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

For related coverage:

Bush Proclaims 56th Annual National Day of Prayer - May 3: American Humanist Association will observe a National Day of Reason instead

Campaign to oust Vatican from U.N. Gains support

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