The past couple of years, as a sort of holiday tradition, the American Atheists Society has put up a billboard outside the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, displaying a seasonal message about the delusional nature of religion, meant to encourage “closeted” atheists who might go to church with their families at the holidays to explain their true beliefs publicly. (It’s probably smart placement; it’s hard to believe in a higher power when you’re cruelly confronted with the abject, terrifying horror of the traffic patterns outside the tunnel.)
Last year, reports City Room, the billboard — which read, “You KNOW it’s a myth,” accompanied by a picture of the three wise men on horseback — incited a dust-up with a conservative Catholic group, Bill Donahue’s Catholic League. An anonymous elderly man volunteered to pay for a billboard response that read, “You Know It’s Real: This Season, Celebrate Jesus.” This year, though, says Bill Donahue, the atheists’ billboard is too weak-sauce to even merit a response. Alongside pictures of Jesus, a Greek god, the devil, and Santa Claus, the group’s message reads “37 Million Americans know Myths when they see them. What do you see?” We see they got wise to the journalistic secret of framing anything vaguely controversial as a question, not a statement — a holiday gift that keeps on giving.