Texas Capitol latest to get solstice message

FFRF acquired a five-day permit to place its Bill of Rights “nativity” display inside the Texas Capitol in Austin starting Dec. 18.

After a Christian nativity scene was placed in the Capitol last December, Staff Attorney Sam Grover worked to ensure that this year FFRF’s freethought message would receive equal treatment.

The metal cut-out display of the Bill of Rights “nativity” features images of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin standing or kneeling around the Bill of Rights. Area freethinkers are invited to attend placement of the display on Friday, Dec. 18, at 9 a.m.

“We’re very appreciative of state Rep. Donna Howard, who showed a lot of courage and integrity in agreeing to sponsor our display,” said Co-President Dan Barker. Rules require a legislative sponsor for displays.

FFRF is also working with a number of members and groups around the country to place freethought signs or displays in so-called public forums on government property to balance religious displays.

FFRF offers several displays and banners, including “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia” (a riff on “Keep Christ in Christmas”) and its classic equal-time protest of religion in governmental buildings, composed by FFRF principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor. Her statement reads:

“At this Season of the Winter Solstice, Let 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 heart and enslaves minds.”

Additionally, the Bill of Rights “nativity” is pictured on a banner, which reads: “Happy Winter Solstice. As this season of the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the Birth of the Unconquered Sun — the true reason for the season. As Americans, let us also honor the birth of our Bill of Rights, which reminds us there can be no freedom OF religion without having freedom FROM religion in government.”

Below are the places where FFRF signs or banners are up this year or are expected to be displayed (in addition to ones mentioned in photo captions on this page):
Florida Capitol: Bill of Rights “nativity” banner. Placed by FFRF members Gary Whittenberger and Warren Brackmann.

Franklin County Courthouse, Ind.: “Bill of Rights nativity” metal cut-out. Placed by FFRF member Greg Stuart on Nov. 29. This display is the victorious outcome of FFRF’s lawsuit, with the ACLU of Indiana, against the county for a five-decades-long policy of placing a nativity scene by itself on the lawn. The settled lawsuit opened the lawn up as a “public forum” this year.

  • Manassas, Va.: “Let Reason Prevail” banner. Placed by FFRF member Steve King.
  • Warren, Mich.: “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.” To be placed by FFRF member Douglas Marshall.
  • Michigan Capitol lawn: “Let Reason Prevail” banner.
  • Milwaukee County, Wis., Courthouse: “Let Reason Prevail” display. Placed by FFRF member Kurt Bocksenbaum.
  • Rhode Island Capitol: “Let Reason Prevail” sign. Placed by FFRF member Debbie Flitman as part of several secular displays countering a nativity scene.
  • Springfield, Ill.: “Let Reason Prevail” sign, to be placed by a local FFRF member.
  • Washington Capitol lawn: “Let Reason Prevail” banner, to be placed by FFRF member Darrell Barker, in the event a nativity scene is erected there by a private religious group. A previous FFRF equal-time challenge chased the nativity scene (and all such displays) from inside the Capitol.

Freedom From Religion Foundation