This year’s edition of the “war on Christmas” trope continues. This time the complaint is about something that isn’t actually new and isn’t directly connected to Christmas. Rather, it’s about atheist billboards … you know, the ones that have been going up around the US and (in the form of bus advertising, in Europe) for the past few years? Another such campaign is running, and it’s irking Christian religionists, as mentioned in a story in the New York Times (with WebCite cached version):

An unusual holiday message began appearing this week in the nation’s capital on the sides of buses and trains.

“No god? … No problem!” reads the advertisement featuring the smiling faces of people wearing Santa Claus hats. “Be good for goodness’ sake.”

Apparently it’s not acceptable for these to go up around Christmas-time:

“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 the Liberty Counsel, a conservative religious law firm, and dean of Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Va. “It is insensitive and mean.”

What Staver wants, then, is to have personal, calendrical approval over atheist billboards; they can only go up at times of the year when Christians won’t perceive them as “mean.” Would he like … following the same line of reasoning … for atheist groups to have personal, calendrical approval over Christian signs? Somehow I doubt it.

Note the gratuitous — yet still fallacious — argumentum ad populum in his comments. “Millions of people celebrate Christmas,” he’s saying — and I paraphrase here — “so knock off the atheist billboards!” Sorry Mr Staver, but the wishes of “millions,” or even “billions,” of people, are not relevant here. They just aren’t. Millions, if not billions, of people through the ages also believed the earth was at the center of the universe — but that turned out not to be true.

What’s really going on here is that religionists have had their way for nearly all of human history. Now that they’re confronted by people who are not religious, who will not become religious, and who are openly expressing their lack of religion, these religionists just cannot handle it. They’re too immature to accept the existence — and openness — of the non-religious. Unfortunately for Mr Staver and the rest of his co-religionists, the time has come for them to finally grow up … perhaps for the first time in their lives.

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