The Freedom From Religion Foundation's Winter Solstice banner is on display on the grounds of the Gladwin County Courthouse in Gladwin, giving Michigan secularists an opportunity to celebrate reason during the winter holiday season.
Local FFRF supporter Joe Chavez put the banner up last week after fashioning a sturdy frame of 2-by-4 lumber. It's part of the holiday display at the county building for the second straight year.
The banner's inclusion in December 2011 came after a long struggle with the county board. For more than a year, FFRF had been sending letters of complaint to the board about the unlawful nativity scene being displayed prominently on government property.
FFRF's letters prompted the county board to review its administrative polices on the use of government property for a public display. The county, which had previously let the Ministerial Association erect a holiday display but refused to open the door to any alternate groups, agreed to open a true public forum due to pressure from FFRF.
Dan Barker, FFRF co-president, a former minister turned atheist, said Christians tend to think they own the month of December. "We don't agree. No month is free from pagan reverie!"
Barker also thanked Chavez for his efforts in placing the banner.