Solstice banner placed in Sanford, Maine

Maine solstice
An FFRF banner celebrating the winter solstice to counter a Christian crèche went up on public property in Sanford, Maine, just in time for Christmas.

After Tom Waddell, FFRF Maine chapter chairperson, was contacted by a local resident about the nativity scene in a park that's part of the town square, Tom alerted FFRF and received permission from city officials to place a solstice banner in an area designated as a public forum. Sanford, located in the southwest corner of the state, is Maine's seventh-largest municipality.

FFRF sent one of its mesh "Let Reason Prevail" banners on Dec. 21 to Tom via two-day delivery (the quickest available option) so it was in place in time for "Christmyth" on the square.

"The banner helps to educate the public that Maine is the third least religious state and that about 23 percent of American adults are nonreligious, including about 35 percent of millennials," noted Tom. "The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, has been celebrated for thousands of years before the birth of Christ with festivals of light, evergreens, feasts and gift exchanges.

"In short, Christmas as we know it today, is a relatively recent Christian invention based on pagan practices. Placement of a nativity scene alone is but one perspective on the season and does not represent the growing population of nonbelievers."

FFRF Maine was organized in March 2014 and became an official FFRF chapter in October 2014. Its meetings are held the second Saturday of each month at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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