By Mana Rabiee
The D.C. based group American Humanist Association has launched an ad campaign to promote atheistic ideas. Some local Christians believe its timing with the upcoming holiday is awkward.
The group is running 200 ads on D.C. buses that feature smiling people in Santa hats and the caption that asks "No God?...No Problem!"
Spokesman Roy Speckhardt says he realizes some people will see the ads as an attack on their faith. "I hope they can see it as a chance to say, 'hey, there's folks out there who feel different from me and they're OK too.' That's the message that we're trying to get across," says Speckhardt.
Reverend Shana Lynngood ministers at All Souls Unitarian Church in northwest D.C.. Her traditionally progressive parish includes many former Catholics. "It's a little bit adversarial to publish it at this time of year; sort of thumbing its nose at folks who are more orthodox Christians," says Lynngood.
"Uh-uh, heck no. This is the devil. This is the devils' work," says Manoja Wimalkantha, a senior at George Mason University and a worshiper at the Living Hope Pentecostal Church, just across the street from All Souls Unitarian. "For me to know that this is coming during Christmas it is definitely--it's hurtful--but it makes my faith a lot stronger," says Wimalkantha.
The ad campaign extends to four other major cities in December.