Ok, when I watched the video regarding the comments from David Silverman, American Atheists (AA) president – I sort of understood what he was saying. That by putting up these billboards, he’s reaching out to those individuals who do not believe in a God, or a religion and who were ‘closeted’ and too afraid to ‘come out’ as an atheist for fear of what there families would think of them. I immediately thought of gay people. But I feel that the billboards don’t convey that message. I feel that the Atheists are saying to EVERYONE – not just those who are closeted Atheists that God doesn’t exists and we should just focus on Santa Claus. Personally, I felt attacked as a Christian because I happen to believe that there is a God. That Christ died for me so that I can return to heaven one day and live with him and my family. If these billboard simply mentioned something to the effect of: “If you don’t believe in God, focus on the happiness of the holidays with Santa Claus” – or something like that. I feel that this group, although they may be saying when asked directly, they are not trying to force they’re ways and views of living down my throat, I feel that they are. When we can’t have a nativity scene up in our community, when the Christmas trees are being renamed, when God is being taken out of nearly EVERYTHING, I feel that they’re way of living and believing is being forced upon me. But I did, however, like how Hannity wrapped up the interview – he said, “Merry Christmas David” and David returned by saying, “Happy Holidays!” That is how it should be. Tolerance for all religions.
American Atheists (AA) president David Silverman is a frequent guest on Fox News, where he regularly tussles with conservative hosts over a plethora of issues pertaining to the separation of church and state. Last month, Silverman debated Bill O’Reilly about the War on Christmas. And on Thursday night, he returned to battle Sean Hannity over his group’s potentially-offensive, anti-Christmas billboard in New York’s Times Square.
As TheBlaze previously reported, the controversial message, which reads, “Keep the Merry! Dump the Myth!,” is meant to attack the religious sentiments associated with the Christmas season. The sign includes an image of Santa with a photo of Jesus suffering on the cross. The “merry” corresponds to the traditional Christmas mascot, while “myth” (in caps) is presented beneath the Christian savior’s picture.
Photo Credit: American Atheists
The segment opens with a montage of comments from people who are unhappy to see the ad posted in one of the busiest areas of New York City. The reactions ranged from “horrible” and “disgusting” to “I don’t like it.” Even Santa, himself, rejected the anti-Christian message.
Following these comments, Hannity wasted no time targeting the billboard as offensive and questioning Silverman’s motivations for posting it. The atheist activist doubled down and, instead of focusing upon the negative connotations, he claimed that the billboard is meant to attract the attention of non-believers who go to church to celebrate Christmas because of pressure from their families.
“You want to insult people. You want to attack them. You want to stick it in the ribs on their holiday,” Hannity charged. “And you just want to be rude and narcissistic and mean. Why?”
Silverman obviously rejected these claims, noting that AA is actually looking to help non-believers cope with the religious nature of the holiday season.
“There’s a lot of familial and social pressure that keeps atheists in the closet,” he responded, noting that he and his group are working “to tell the atheists of this country that they are not alone.”
The debate extended into the Big Bang, what happens after people die and other related issues.
(You can view the video at the link provided above.)
The interview concluded with Hannity throwing a “Merry Christmas” Silverman’s way. In response, the atheist leader poked back, saying, “Happy Holidays, Sean.”