Celebrating the Real Reason for the Season
'Tis the season . . . for the Freedom From Religion Foundation's gilt "Winter Solstice" message, which returns for its 12th visit to the first-floor rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol for the month of December.
The pretty sign, with a secular message composed by Anne Nicol Gaylor, Foundation co-president emerita, reads:
"At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail."
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
"There is only our natural world.
"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
The back of the sign reads: "State/Church: Keep Them Separate."
"Our sign is a reminder of the real reason for the season, the Winter Solstice," says Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president.
The Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, takes place early on Dec. 22 this year. The natural holiday signals the return of the sun and the new year, and has been celebrated for a millennia in the Northern Hemisphere with festivals of light, evergreens, feasts and gift exchanges.
"We nonbelievers and freethinkers don't mind sharing the season with Christians, but we think there should be an acknowledgment of the natural origins of many of December's customs!" Gaylor adds.
Foundation co-president Dan Barker pointed out that the state tree, while still officially a "holiday tree," for the second year in a row contains many overtly Christian ornaments, including crosses and nativity scenes.
"I am concerned that the state-hosted tree, which dominates the Capitol rotunda for a full month, is now being used to promote one religious viewpoint, and to perpetuate the myth that Christians have a monopoly on the season," Barker said."