This display will be going up soon at the courthouse in Franklin Co., Ind. Pictured: FFRF's legal departments and executive directors. Photo- Andrew L. Seidel.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has acquired a permit to place its Bill of Rights "nativity" display on the lawn of the Franklin County Courthouse. FFRF's display setup event will take place on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 10:00 a.m. The location is the Courthouse lawn in Brookville, Ind., near the corner of Main Street and 4th Street (401-449 Main St, Brookville, IN 47012). Our local contact will be there along with at least a dozen members of the Tri-State Freethinkers.
All are welcome to help FFRF celebrate the Winter Solstice and the "birth" of the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15, 1791.
This is the first year that Franklin County will allow a variety of displays on its courthouse lawn, thanks to FFRF's lawsuit with the ACLU of Indiana, challenging the county's decade-long policy of only allowing a nativity scene on its lawn.
FFRF is a state/church watchdog with about 23,000 nonreligious members, including more than 350 in Indiana.
"We'd prefer that the government stay out of the business of promoting any religious belief or atheism on government property," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "But, because the county created a forum for displays in response to FFRF's lawsuit, we are taking the opportunity to ensure that freethinkers are well represented at the courthouse in Brookville, too."
FFRF invites area freethinkers to attend the placement of its solstice display this Sunday, Nov. 29 at 10:00 a.m. "to celebrate diversity, freethought, the Winter Solstice, and the freedoms we all share in the United States, thanks to our Bill of Rights."
"There Is No Afterlife: Enjoy Life Now" is the message of cheer that an octogenarian member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is sponsoring on a billboard in Janesville, Wis. It will be up through at least early December.
The message is posted on a 10-by-30-foot billboard off U.S. 14 East near North Lexington Drive. Janesville is about 40 miles south of Madison.
Wayne Hensler, a Wisconsin Lifetime FFRF member, calls the message "a legacy for my grandchildren."
Since 2010, he's paid to have the message placed several times throughout Wisconsin, most recently in Janesville in 2013. He's expressed the hope that other FFRF members might be "inspired" to place similar messages in their areas on behalf of FFRF.
"Christianity instructs that we humans are just 'passing through' this world," said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister who is author of several books, including "Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist," "Godless" and "Life-Driven Purpose."
"Think of hymns such as 'This World Is Not My Home.' But as Emily Dickinson put it, 'That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet,' " Barker said.
"We should enjoy life now, and also realize that the only afterlife that ought to concern us is leaving our descendants a secure, pleasant future," added Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-founder and co-president.
The colorful billboard has a "stained glass window" theme, which is FFRF's signature billboard look, first debuting in Wisconsin in late 2007 with the slogans "Imagine No Religion" and "Beware of Dogma." The Madison, Wis.-based state/church watchdog is the nation's largest association of nonbelievers, with about 23,000 members, including more than 1,300 in Wisconsin.