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Local Atheist Groups Wish For Critical Look At Religion During Holidays

"Don't Believe in God?" billboard that was put up by the San Diego Coalition of Reason in November, 2009.
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Above: "Don't Believe in God?" billboard that was put up by the San Diego Coalition of Reason in November, 2009.

— In years past, saying you were an atheist or agnostic was publicly looked down upon. But not so much anymore, says Debbie Skomer, a coordinator of the San Diego Coalition of Reason, an umbrella group advocating for secularist thought and questioning society's view of religion.

"We've always wanted a very strong separation of church and state and that seems to be eroding these days," says Skomer. "And I think that's why people are willing to put up these signs where they actually target Christmas and say it's a myth."

In the last year, the San Diego Coalition of Reason put up billboards questioning religious belief around town. They haven't done so this holiday season for fear of seriously offending anyone. But other groups around the country, especially in New York and New Jersey, have put up billboards advocating for and against religion ahead of Christmas.

"We drive by thousands of religious symbols every single day without even thinking," adds Skomer. "So to actually have a billboard that says 'Don't believe in god, join the club,' you know, people take a second look."

Skomer says she's more interested in the fact that the conversation is easier now than it's been in the past, and finds it encouraging that a growing number of people locally are reaching out to her group as non-believers.

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