Advertising is not the reason for the season

First post here, and I'm not being completely original. This is (adapted) from my own atheist blog, but I think it's worth sharing over here.

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The American Humanist Association has a simple message to send out to people this year with their No God No Problem campaign. It advertises the need to be good for the sake of goodness and includes Humanist contact numbers for interested people. From CNSNews.com about this:

“People of faith should view the Humanist displays at this special -- even holy -- time of year, with compassion,” said Kristi Hamrick, president of the Campaign for Working Families and spokeswoman for Gary Bauer’s American Values. “Because of the blessings of liberty we enjoy as Americans, they certainly have the right to their strident displays of antagonism to faith. But at this time of year when so many of us are thanking God for our blessings, especially the blessing of his only Son come to earth for us, we need to pray for them.”

I don't look at the ads as antagonizing anyone. It's by no means a hostile message. It's a reminder to anyone who doesn't believe in god to still be good and includes the American Humanist Association site for more information.

Hamrick pointed out that the “eternal truths” of Christianity do not require validation by atheists and Christians especially should feel “empowered” to celebrate the Christmas holiday openly and proudly.

Celebrate it. We don't care. Most of us will be celebrating a Christmas of our own design, too. I have Santa and elves and snowmen for my tree every year and Mom wants to pass out handmade gifts which means I have to think of something I can make in the time I have left that she'll actually like enough to show off to friends and neighbours.

“I hope people will take a moment to pray for others when they see the (Humanist) displays,” Hamrick said. “Eternal truths are not dependent on the permission of the Humanists to be (true.) And I hope that people of faith will feel equally empowered at this time of year to express their own beliefs.” Christmas, which commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, should be a joyous time of year for religious Americans, she said, even if the Humanists don’t want to join in.

Everyone of any faith can express whatever they like in December. Christians don't own it. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, whatever you've got going on, celebrate it. Christmas is also a secular celebration to cherish loved ones, hand out gifts and eat too much. I should find out if Mom's hosting Christmas again this year or if an aunt or someone else is taking it on.

“Christians are often told to hide their Merry Christmas greetings behind the blander ‘Happy Holidays.’ But a Merry Christmas it truly is, even without the Humanists joining in our celebration.”

Christians don't have to hide "Merry Christmas." They can say it all they like. I say it, too, but "happy holidays" is more inclusive, as is "season's greetings" which has been in use since the late 1800s.

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One comments I got was a complaint:

"during a time of the year when people are generally more inclined towards charity—peace on earth and good will towards non-gender specific personages—atheists are busily collecting hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars during a time of recession not in order to help anyone in real material need but in order to purchase bill boards and bus ads whereby they seek to demonstrate, to themselves, just how clever they are—need any more be said?"

The following comment is part of my retort:

"if we don’t advertise, how else will anyone know we exist? We don’t have giant churches on every street corner and calendars marked with our very special days (whatever those might be). The only way to get the word out that we exist is through advertising. Are you going to say we shouldn’t advertise that we exist? Hopefully not."

I do think the first comment was a good one, insulting though it wound up being. Does the advertising get in the way of the message, or is it the only way to be visible in a crowd of other groups all vying for attention and support?

Views: 1

Tags: advertising, humanism

Comment by Reggie on December 6, 2009 at 7:45pm
Advertising on billboards and buses are a waste of money....but all these lavish churches are not?

And I don't really understand what the recession has to do with anything. Does this meant hat churches across the land are only spending money on charity? Are pastors and priests taking a pay freeze? Are they turning off the heat in the churches? Not spending money on Christmas plays or displays?
Comment by Monique Reimer on December 6, 2009 at 8:59pm
Comment by Reggie on December 6, 2009 at 9:08pm
Well, wasn't it Jesus himself who told his followers to give away all their possessions to follow him?
Comment by Monique Reimer on December 7, 2009 at 8:09am
Hemant Mehta makes a good point about this on his blog today:

"The first (and most important) question that is asked is: Why is the AHA doing this at this time of year?

It’s not because they’re attacking Christians or whatever ludicrous explanation O’Reilly makes up.

They do it because people like Bill O’Reilly give the AHA more publicity, which raises awareness of the AHA, which brings in more contributions to the AHA, which more than pays for the ad campaign.

Furthermore, this isn’t even about Christmas. I know the people in the ad are wearing holiday clothing and the coloring is all red and green, but this ad’s purpose is to reach out to other atheists and let them know it’s ok not to believe in God. "

http://friendlyatheist.com/2009/12/07/why-do-atheists-loathe-the-ba...
Comment by Shine on December 7, 2009 at 9:10am
That comment is too much. Right, because the immense wealth of the Vatican is totally used "to help anyone in real material need."

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