SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Just as the holiday season gets into full swing, 55 billboards about atheism will go up in the Sacramento area next Monday.
The billboards are part of an ongoing national campaign called "Out of Closet."
"It's because atheists are starting to speak up and they're beginning to identify each other and find out they're not alone," Judy Saint said.
Saint is the president of the Greater Sacramento Chapter of Freedom From Religion Foundation, the group organizing the campaign. She said the movement is not about being anti-God, but being OK with not embracing a God.
"There are a lot of non-believers and this time of year, they feel like they're all alone," Saint explained. "This is not directed to people who enjoy their church, who enjoy their religion. That's fine. But we're talking to people who don't know that atheism is okay."
Saint said happiness and good actions can come without a higher being.
"You don't have to have a God in your life," said Saint.
Some of the billboard quotes include: "A life of love, no Gods required," "No Gods, no devils, no worries," and "Live for now, not for after."
The billboard campaign will feature 55 different people all from the Sacramento area. It includes their picture, their name, their profession and their message in their own words.
"Sacramento is a very religious community, lots of good is being done by religious people," Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento spokesperson Jon Fish said.
He said he is not opposed to the billboards.
"I don't have any grief with any of that," Fish said.
But he hopes the church will also send a message to non-believers.
"I hope they won't be feeling alone," Fish said. "I hope the religious people reach out to them. That's what we're supposed to do."
The billboards will be up for at least a month. The national campaign has been running for several years.
By Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org