Break out the banjo, geeee-tar and Deliverance song book 'cause it's time to raise a holler over dueling billboards along the 55 freeway.
On one side, hanging on a 40-foot trailer in the O'Neil Storage lot facing the 55 near Dyer Road in Santa Ana, is the billboard proclaiming, "Jesus Christ is the Reason for the Season." Nearby, along the 55 north of Fair Drive in Costa Mesa, is another that reads, "Tis' the Season to Celebrate Reason--Happy Winter Solstice Non-Believers!"
The pro-Lord display's message, or one very similar to it, has been featured at the Christian-owned storage lot for the past several Decembers. According to the mischief makers of Backyard Skeptics--the organized group of Orange County atheists, humanists and other non-believers--O'Neil Storage's owner knew nothing of the pagan-promoting billboard 2 miles south of his, nor of the Winter Solstice being something worth celebrating.
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"All of the supposedly Christian traditions have been taken from pagan belief systems," explains Backyard Skeptics founder Bruce Gleason in a release that lists the holiday tree, ornaments and mistletoe among them. It's also pointed out that feasts, yule logs, blazing fires, processions, door-to-door caroling and parades with floats can be traced back to the customs and observances of the early Mesopotamians. "Gift giving was common in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient festival which took place in late December," the release states.
"Not one attribute of the holiday season is founded on Christ's birth or Christianity," Gleason is quoted as saying. "Many of today's Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ Child was born."
To further drive home this message, Backyard Skeptics members assemble at 5 p.m. today at the Circle K market at the southeast corner of Fair and the 55 before embarking on a two minute walk to their 48- x 14-foot billboard on the lot of the OC Marketplace on the Orange County Fairgrounds.
Guess they won't be praying for no rain.