, which bills itself as "the premier organization laboring for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion," is sponsoring the billboards at a cost of $15,000.
David Silverman, president of the group, said in a press release that the ads are intended to "expose the foolishness of religion in the political landscape."
"Our political system is rife with religion and it depends too much on religion and not enough on substance," Silverman told CNN
. "Religion is silly and religion has components that are inherently divisive," he added. "There is no place for any of that in the political system."
One billboard targets Christianity, showing an image of Jesus Christ on a piece of toast with the caption "Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Versions of 'Truth,' Promotes Hate, Calls it 'Love.'"
Another ad slams Mormonism, showing a man in white underwear (temple garments
, sometimes derided as "magic underwear," that Mormon folklore says protect the wearer from evil) with the caption "God is a Space Alien
, Baptizes Dead People, Big Money, Big Bigotry."
Both billboards contain the slogan "Atheism: Simply Reasonable."
Silverman defended sponsoring the ads despite the fact that believers may find them offensive.
"If a person believes stupid things, we have every right to question his or her judgment, and that directly impacts how the nonreligious voters vote," he told CNN.
American Atheists wanted to run the ads in both Charlotte and in Tampa, Florida, which will host the Republican National Convention
later this month. But no billboard company would allow it, so the group is focusing solely on the Democratic convention
that this isn't American Atheists' first foray into controversial advertising. Earlier this year, the group paid for ads in Jewish and Muslim neighborhoods in the New York metropolitan area. The Hebrew and Arabic billboards said, "You know it's a myth, and you have a choice."