Groups Denounce American Atheists' Times Square Billboard that Says 'Nobody Needs Christ During Christmas'

Answers in Genesis Billboard American Atheists launched a major billboard display on Dec. 3 that declares Christmas is better without the Christ. The  40′x40′ digital billboard is located in Times Square in Midtown Manhattan. Using motion graphics, the billboard proclaims, “Who needs Christ during Christmas?” A hand crosses out the word “Christ” and the word “NOBODY” appears. The display then says “Celebrate the true meaning of Xmas” and offers a series of cheery words: family, friends, charity, food, snow, and more.

In an effort to engage atheists and other secularists the Christian ministry Answers in Genesis has sponsored billboards of its own with a positive message for this time of year.

Ken Ham, president and CEO of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum said the billboards read, “To all of our atheist friends: Thank God you’re wrong.”

"In a friendly way, we want to reach out to people in secularized parts of the country and share the hope we have in Christ," said Ham. "Atheists live in a world of ultimate meaninglessness and purposelessness. But the good news is that God sent His Son to offer the free gift of salvation. There is purpose and meaning in life. And we thank God for that."

With the Times Square “digital spectacular,” the animated image is visible for 15 seconds every 2 minutes. Located at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, it measures 45 feet by 90 feet.

The American Atheist billboard is on display at Penn Station next week, and continues through New Year’s Day, only a few months ahead of American Atheists’ 40th National Convention in americanatheistsbillboardSalt Lake City over Easter weekend in April.

“Most people don’t care about any religious ties to the season because church and religion are not what Americans care about during this time of year—they care about family and friends and giving presents and food and having fun,” said Public Relations Director Dave Muscato. “Many so-called ‘Christmas’ traditions celebrated by Americans have nothing to do with Christianity. For example, the North Pole and Santa traditions come from Nordic and Germanic pagan traditions, and caroling, yule logs, mistletoe, holly wreaths all pre-date Christianity,”

State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) has called for the removal of the atheist billboard. 

“Just as millions of Americans are preparing to celebrate Christmas, the American Atheists organization has ridiculed the solemn beliefs of millions of New Yorkers,” Lanza said in a statement.

Lanza said Americans have an obligation to defend each other’s right to believe in God or not, however, he denounce the organization’s lack of decency,

“It seems to me that this is part of a continued ‘War on Christmas’ and also upon the belief and value system of millions of Christian, Jewish and Muslim people who have faith in God,” Lanza said in the statement. “Religious persecution of the kind that similarly led to the Holocaust began with small baby steps of ridicule and hatred of the religious beliefs of others. I believe that when we see expressions of hatred, we should do something about it. It is why I have hoped that those who live in Manhattan and around Times Square and the community’s political leaders would have decried this hate speech as something not to be tolerated or allowed."