This display will be going up soon at the Texas State Capitol. Pictured: FFRF's legal department and executive directors. Photo- Andrew L. Seidel.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has acquired a permit to place its Bill of Rights "nativity" display in the Texas Capitol Building, to balance a Christian nativity there. FFRF's display setup event will take place on Friday, Dec. 18, at 9 AM. The location is the Ground Floor Rotunda in the Capitol Building, located at 1100 Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas.
All are welcome to help FFRF celebrate the Winter Solstice and the "birth" of the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15, 1791.
FFRF is a state/church watchdog with about 23,000 nonreligious members, including nearly 1,000 in Texas.
"We're very grateful to Texas State Rep. Donna Howard for agreeing to sponsor our 'equal time' display," said FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover. A state sponsor is required by Capitol rules. The display is privately funded and is not endorsed by the state.
The Bill of Rights "nativity" features Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington gathered in reverence before the Bill of Rights, overseen by the Statue of Liberty. In addition to the "nativity," the display will also feature a sign celebrating the Winter Solstice:
"We'd prefer that the government stay out of the business of promoting religion or irreligion on governmental property," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "But, because a private group received permission to erect a Christian nativity in the Capitol Rotunda, we think there should be 'room at the inn' for all points of view at this time of year."
The Bill of Rights was adopted on Dec. 15, 1791. The Winter Solstice — what FFRF deems "the real reason for the season, a natural holiday" is the shortest, darkest day of the year, occurring this year on Dec. 22.
FFRF invites area freethinkers to attend the placement of its solstice display on Friday, Dec. 18 at 9:00 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."