The Atheists Are Coming!

It looks like the Religious Right will have a new enemy to fight in their annual “war on Christmas” now that the American Humanist Association has announced its new ad campaign:

“Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake,” proclaims a new holiday ad from the American Humanist Association. Already appearing today in the New York Times and Washington Post, the message will soon be blazoned on the sides, taillights, and interiors of over 200 Washington DC Metro buses.

It’s the first ad campaign of its kind in the United States, and the American Humanist Association predicts it will raise public awareness of humanism as well as controversy over humanist ideas.

Needless to say, right-wing leaders and activists have already swung into action to warn unsuspecting Americans of the dangers of this new advertising campaign:

Peter Sprigg, vice president of policy at the conservative Family Research Council (FRC), told that sustainable morality is grounded in a belief in a higher being.

“I don’t think it’s possible to sustain long-term morality without religion,” Sprigg said. “If there is no higher being obliging humans to act morally and ethically, why should we do it?”

Sprigg emphasized he thinks that atheists can act morally, but he also said that society would shift towards greed and selfishness without a belief in a higher power.

And you just knew that Bill Donohue was going to have something to say about it:

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.

The danger is so great in fact that even the moribund Christian Coalition was obligated to speak out against this effort to “ban Christmas and God from the public square,” saying the AHA “has an elitist contempt for Americans believing in God” and urging their “millions of supporters to call the city of Washington, DC and Congress to stop this un-Godly campaign.” Even Mat Staver weighed in to call the campaign “insulting” while American Family Association president Tim Wildmon called it “stupid.”

We had mentioned a group called In God We Trust once before when they inexplicably demanded that Barack Obama publicly denounce a series of “Imagine No Religion” billboards that the Freedom From Religion Foundation had placed around the country … and so it is no surprise that they would weigh in on this latest affront and do so by attempting to link the AHA to the Right’s most-hated nemesis – the United Nations:

“These ads are a deliberate attack on American traditions, beliefs and customs by a United Nation’s affiliated group that espouses a radical anti-American agenda and is funded by an zealot who believes that the U.S. is a backwards nation full of imbeciles,” says In God We Trust Chairman Council Nedd.

“This ad campaign is yet another attempt by America-hating snobs to mock and attack our nation’s traditions and culture” says Nedd. “The AHA is not some harmless little atheist group. These people hate America and they are working with our nation’s enemies to attack our heritage.”