If there’s one group that consistently pisses off their fellow Americans by pointing out double standards it’s American Atheists. This time around, they’re doing what they’ve done in past years. Putting up a billboard remind people that no matter how much annoying Christmas music is being broadcast, the month of December is not dedicated to the 25th.

Their program director points out that the boards are placed purposely in places where atheists don’t have strong voices, this year in Colorado Springs. This year’s ad responds to last year’s, in which a child is asking Santa for permission to skip church. That request was granted this year, and I hope somewhere there really is a youngster overwhelmed with the joy of not being pulled along to worship and getting to celebrate Christmas instead.

In their press release on the subject, the group points out that the billboards are directed toward people on the fence about their beliefs (their campaigns tend to have this in mind) and not people who either enjoy church or those who never go and already know that they won’t.

Needless to say, anything and everything this group does is attacked from both sides. From the religious zealots, it’s “why are you being so mean to us?” and from the, for lack of a better term, ‘old’ atheists, it’s “why are you making us look bad?”

Here’s why the billboards are important. Plenty of non-Christians and even anti-theists end up in church services on Christmas, because of guilt, manipulation, or coercion on the part of our friends or family. This happened to me just last year and it was very uncomfortable, but the group I was were all Jewish, so at least I wasn’t the only one who was a bit out of place.

We all ought to strive to have a nice Christmas, and let’s face it; when we’re pushed into dealing with a religion like this, where you celebrate the birth of someone you think saved your soul on the wrong day of the year instead of celebrating the Pagan holiday that the traditions were stolen from, nice isn’t the word you ought to be using to describe this.

Yes, there are plenty of us that want to skip church. Some of us do, some don’t, but either way there’s no issue because it’s a holiday we should be celebrating however we want.

No one’s picking on anyone else with this billboard. If I had a nickel for every time I saw an ad telling me that I was going to hell my tuition worries would be over and it’d be easier to stomach TBN for material.

Plenty of people in both communities have called the billboards offensive. American Atheists “Go Ahead and skip church. Just be good for goodness sake” message must be entirely offensive. “Telling people they don’t need to go to church? Where is that 1950s morality where we pretend that going to church is an expected weekly activity? And how dare they suggest that we should be good people! I mean, the nerve of these guys.”

Yes, that’s really how it sounds.

It doesn’t ever matter how they word those ads. It’s more about the fact that they say anything at all during the month of December that is offensive. This month in the minds of many is reserved for holidays (which were successfully secularized in order for these same people to get a few days off of their responsibilities, nulling any religious argument that could be made.

I’m sure skipping church on Christmas, and just like American Atheists I encourage anyone else to skip with me. Enjoy your life, just like you ought to do every other day of it.