Santa Claus is famous for bringing joy to children, but a billboard of the jolly fat man telling people to skip church is angering adults in North Carolina.
The giant sign in Kernersville, N.C., located between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, features a picture of Santa with the words “Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness’ sake. Happy Holidays!”
The billboard is visible to “thousands” of Route 66 drivers daily, reports Fox News.
According to local residents, they might as well change the road name to Route 666 or Highway to Hell.
“I think this is awful,” said an unidentified woman. “After all we do have Christmas because it’s Jesus’ birthday.”
The New Jersey-based group behind the billboard — American Atheists — said they often advertise in the Bible belt because it gets more attention than way up north closer to where Santa lives.
The goal of the billboard is allegedly to “let Atheists and people questioning their faith know they are not alone this time of year,” said the article, but it is more likely they just wanted to get someone to write a news article about it.
Ad Week says at least two of the billboards exist, the other one is in Colorado.
“We want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists, in a statement. “The things that are most important during the holiday season—spending time with loved ones, charity and being merry—have nothing to do with religion.”
Residents want the sign taken down immediately, but American Atheists says they have spent money to give the folks of North Carolina their version of Christmas cheer through December.