- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2015

An atheist nonprofit is erecting billboards advising children to “go ahead and skip church” this Christmas.

The American Atheists announced in a press release Monday that it was posting the billboards in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Go ahead and skip church and simply be good for goodness’ sake,” says a gleeful Santa Claus featured in the billboards.

The message is a followup to last year’s, which featured a child writing to Santa that she wanted to skip church, The Washington Examiner reported.

“Last year’s billboard showed a child writing a letter to Santa, telling him that all she wanted for Christmas was to skip church. This year, Santa wrote back,” American Atheists president David Silverman said in a statement.

“We want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person,” he said. “The things that are most important during the holiday season — spending time with loved ones, charity, and being merry — have nothing to do with religion.”

The group said the billboards are intended to reach the millions of people who still attend church occasionally and call themselves religious, but have doubts about their beliefs.

“It is important for these folks who are on the fence about their beliefs to know that they can take that first big step and leave church,” said Nick Fish, national program director of American Atheists. “There are tens of millions of atheists in this country. We’re everywhere. And we don’t need church or gods to tell us how to be good people.”

The billboards will run through December.

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