Atheists billboard: ‘Make Christmas Great Again ...Skip Church’

CO Atheists put up 'Make Christmas Great Again' billboard

GRAND JUNCTION, CO (KKCO/CNN) - A new billboard along the I-70 business loop in Grand Junction, CO, tells people to “skip church” this holiday season.

The group that put it up says they want to shift people's focus.

“At Christmas time, the focus shouldn’t be on organized religion, because organized religion has proven problematic,” said Anne Landman, a member of the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers. “It’s not the baby Jesus, and the nativity and the going to mass.”

The group believes Christmas shouldn't be about religion.

"We'd rather the focus be on humanity, ethics and respect for others," Landman stressed.

She said the billboard stands for other reasons, too.

"The abuse and the fraud in organized religions is rampant," Landman said.

And she said she’s heard stories of secular people facing discrimination.

“I’m atheist, but I’m afraid to tell my family," Landman said. “I can’t let my employer know.”

Robert Burkholder and other locals oppose the billboard.

"You take Christ out of Christmas and you don't have anything," Burkholder said. "They have a right to their free speech, but it would seem that they could do that without being deliberately provocative."

He believes it crosses the line.

"I don't think they have the right to say that I need to change my beliefs, so they can feel more comfortable," Burkholder stressed.

Even so, some locals say the billboard doesn't mean much.

"I just feel that it's a matter for personal decisions," said Duane Hogue.

Hogue said the country was designed for this kind of thing.

"I would not expect it to be banned or anything, not because of free speech," Hogue said.

The billboard won't be up for very long, but will stay up through Christmas Day.

Landman is part of another group that put up an anti GOP billboard back in July.

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