Colorado Springs

Annual atheist campaign draws mixed reviews

COLORADO SPRINGS - The holidays are typically very busy for area churches, but an atheist group is once again encouraging people to skip church.

The group's latest billboard along I-25 is generating a lot of comments on both sides, not only for its message, but who it targets.

It's located along i-25 near near south academy.

This year's American Atheists holiday campaign depicts a mother reading her daughter's text messages to a friend.

In the exchange, the daughter says she's not going to church because she "doesn't believe in that stuff anymore" and her parents "will get over it".

The billboard is different from last year's ad or one currently in other cities that simply encourage people to skip church.

This one appears to target young adults in particular.

According to a statement from American Atheists, "Almost 40% of young people are atheist or non-religious.  This billboard campaign is specifically aimed at that growing population, especially those who no longer believe but still occasionally attend religious services or call themselves religious despite their lack of belief."

Everyone who saw a picture of the billboard this week told KRDO Newschannel 13 they respected the group's message, but some took issue with the mother-daughter division.

"If they don't want to do the church thing, I'm fine with that.  I'll still go to church, I'll still do the right thing.  But that's pretty aggressive," said Joe Donnel.

Another man, who claimed to be an atheist himself, admitted that the tone was a little aggressive.

"I think that's honestly a bit militant, "said Tyler Roquemore.

Ironically, neither the woman on the billboard nor her daughter are atheists.

From her home in Arizona, Candy Burns wrote via Facebook that she will always stand up for Jesus.

"Legally they have the rights to use those photos from YEARS ago. My daughter and I are Christians and have NEVER been atheists!  They have Christian women on their billboards, it just looks bizarre," she wrote.

Click here to read more about the American Atheists campaign.

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