Takes a lot to offend me, but this goes over the line.

A group of local atheists have erected a billboard over Times Square with 2 images…one of a merry Santa Claus; and the other with Jesus on the Cross.

Under the image of Santa is the inscription, “Keep the Merry”; and under Jesus’ depiction is the expression, “Dump the Myth.”

Now, as an occasional Catholic, I might look at that and think that was a completely pinheaded thing to do, then go on my merry way.

But I’m sure fellow Christians see it differently.
Perhaps akin to hate speech.

But this one, and perhaps the way it's done has something to do with it, strikes me to the core. It's like someone is trying to jab their finger in my eye.

And while I don't see it as hate speech per se, I'm sure a good many Christians do.

Do you?

It’s a damn shame. It’s an insult,” said Anthony White, 41, a of Jersey City, N.J. said. “Why did they have to put that up?”

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, had an answer, though not one likely to please the faithful.

“Most Christians are really atheists who feel trapped in their family’s religion," Silverman told FoxNews.com. "They need not be Christian to enjoy the holiday season.”

Silverman said a private donor paid more than $25,000 to have the billboard posted above a nightclub in the crossroads of the world for one month, ending Jan. 10, 2013.

“We chose Times Square because it is a place where people go to shop and be festive, which has nothing to do with religion,” Silverman said.

Lamar Outdoor, the advertising giant that leased the space to Silverman's group, said it wasn't the company's place to censor the message.

"We felt as long as it's not misleading that it's their First Amendment right," Lamar spokesman Hal Kilshaw said. "We think it's their right to have their message heard," he said, adding that they have not received any complaints over the Times Square billboard yet.

The ad is the latest in holiday-themed billboards put up by the group every year. In 2011, American Atheists posted a variety of ads as part of a “Myth” campaign in three states with images of Santa, Jesus, Greek god Poseidon, and the Devil with the phrase, “37 million Americans know MYTHS when they see one.”

Atheists have every right to display their message wherever they want. It’s their First Amendment right to do so.

However, while I wouldn’t consider it “hate speech” in that I don't feel it intimidates or threatens harm in any way…at the very least it’s offensive.

But offend they will…(or if you prefer to see it this way: open a few eyes!) with all the protections afforded them according to the Constitution.

And by the way, Merry Christmas to all…believer and non believer alike!

Do you find the billboard in Times Square depicting Jesus on the Cross as a myth offensive?