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Anti-religious holiday messages are not humanistic

The American Humanist Association (AHA) and similar groups will soon be launching an anti-religion advertising blitz to coincide with the holiday season.

The AHA's campaign will contrast violent and sexist passages from the Bible and Koran with quotes from non-believers like Albert Einstein and Katharine Hepburn. It differs from last year's "Be Good for Goodness Sake" theme. According to the AHA, "This year, we're going further in our attempt to challenge the intolerant view that atheist and agnostic humanists can't be good without Bible-derived morality. We're taking a hard look at what is included in religious texts."

I consider myself an atheist and humanist, but I don't support such campaigns. Attacking religion is not an act that defends humanism. It is negative statement that, in today's environment, is usually coupled with a condescending attitude towards those who hold moral beliefs. These ads will convince no one; they will just annoy. Specifically, this campaign utilizes the dodgy tactic of using selective quotes. I admire Einstein, but a line from him on a billboard wouldn't change my mind about anything. Moreover, by organizing the effort over the holiday season, the AHA and others give credence to the view that Christmas should be considered primarily a religious occasion, when in fact it has long been a secularized celebration enjoyed by people of many (or no) faiths.

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