It must be dehumanizing to belong to an organization that has no identity of its own, one that is defined by what it is not. To makes matters worse, it is a sad commentary for any organization to be founded on hate. But that’s exactly what American Atheists is — an organization that is known for what it doesn’t believe in, and for its unabiding hatred of religion.
American Atheists has a special hatred of Christianity, and that is why it seizes on the Christmas season — it would take too much courage to focus on Ramadan — to sell its anti-Christian message. Their latest assault is their billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel that takes direct aim at Christmas.
The Catholic League has responded with a billboard of its own. On the New York side of the Lincoln Tunnel, we have a pro-Christmas statement. To counter the American Atheists’ billboard, “You Know It’s a Myth: This Season, Celebrate Reason,” ours reads, “You Know It’s Real: This Season, Celebrate Jesus.”
We are very proud of the fact that Advertising Age credited the Catholic League, along with the American Family Association, for the pro-Christmas turn-around this year: more retail outlets are saying “Merry Christmas” this year than has been true in a long time.
We are also happy to note that American Atheists put out a news release condemning the Catholic League’s initiative of sending a nativity scene to all 50 governors; we have asked that it be placed in a public spot, such as in the Capitol Rotunda. The response has been very encouraging.
Moreover, we have purchased a brand new life-size nativity scene that will be erected in Central Park on Dec. 16. Every year, we get a permit from the Parks Department to erect our crèche, and this year we have a new one that will be displayed on the corner of 59th Street and Fifth Avenue.
In other words, the Catholic League is taking the moral high road, offering a pro-Christmas message. The difference between us and American Atheists could not be more stark. Our approach is to contribute to the common good, while their approach is to sow division.
Merry Christmas from all of us at the Catholic League!
Bill Donohue is president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.