By Tessa Berenson
December 11, 2015

A billboard urging people to skip church on Christmas is causing a stir in a North Carolina town.

The sign was put up by the activist group American Atheists, and says, “Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness’ sake” next to an image of Santa Claus.

“We want people to know that going to church has absolutely nothing to do with being a good person,” David Silverman, president of American Atheists, said 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.”

But members of the Kernersville, N.C community where one billboard was hung are upset by the sentiment, the Washington Post reports.

“I think this is awful,” one woman said. “After all we do have Christmas because it’s Jesus’ birthday.”

“It is beyond disrespectful to my community and disrespectful to my beliefs,” said another.

Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.berenson@time.com.

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