Atheists Wage War on Christmas in Anchorage
Anti-religion signs on People Mover buses
ANCHORAGE - Christians like to say that Jesus is “the reason for the season.”
But a group of atheists say no time of year should be free from “pagan reverie.”
To that end, Anchorage city buses are carrying some very non-traditional Christmas messages. The Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin, has spent decades fighting for the secularization of America.
The group has turned its attention to Anchorage because a member who lives here wanted to counter the religious theme in December.
So 10 People Mover buses are adorned with four different atheist messages.
"Our kind member -- and he helped to pay for this -- would feel that he could even lose his job if he came out of the closet as an atheist," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the group, who said she's trying to separate church and state and encourage rational thinking.
"If you live your life under a delusion that you're going to have your real life when you're dead, what does that do to you in this life?"
"We live in the United States of America,” said Reverend John Carpenter of Baxter Bible Church. “You can believe anything you want to believe. I wouldn't ever go against that. I think, to me, I find it humorous. Almost, you know, as if they were tongue-in-cheek."
Carpenter said he's not bothered by the campaign. "I'm not offended when I see those signs. And those signs in particular are not very offensive. They're just, like, it's in your face atheism."
But while Carpenter said he's amused and is not offended and said the group has every right to do it, he said it's also a serious matter.
The minister said there's proof of God everywhere.
"You can say the sky is orange all you want. But it's still blue. And truth is truth. And you can say whatever you want. Truth is truth."
One People Mover rider said he wished the city had rejected the ads.
“Well, freedom of speech, yeah, but freedom of advertisement, that's a different story," said James Krona.
Meanwhile, the controversy rolls through the streets of Anchorage.
Four calls were made to various city employees to inquire about the advertising policies for the People Mover buses.
None of the calls were returned by airtime.