Atheist group pays for billboard, urges people to 'skip church' on Christmas

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers paid for a new billboard that reads, "Make Christmas Great Again ...Skip Church!"

It's been up since December 19. The group says they did it because they feel that atheists are a minority in Mesa County, Colorada, where the billboard is location. They think the focus of the holiday season should be on respect for everyone.

Members of the Western Colorado Atheists and Free Thinkers said the focus of Christmas should be on kindness, respect and ethical treatment of others; instead of what they call religious backgrounds and practices.

The group also feels secular people face discrimination and say organized religions, like Catholicism and the Jehovah's Witnesses, are ridden with sexual abuse and corruption.

"Christmas time, the focus should not be on organized religion because organized religion has proven problematic lately. We'd rather the focus be on humanity, ethics and respect for others," said Anne Landman, a board member of Western Colorado Atheists and Free Thinkers.

"They have a right to their free speech, but it would seem they could do that without being deliberately provocative," said Robert Burkholder, who lives in a nearby city.

The billboard won't be up for very long, but will stay up through Christmas Day.

Read the original version of this article at nbc11news.com.