Members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation have installed a freethinking banner in a Connecticut park to counter a nativity scene.
Jerry Bloom, with the help of John Levin and Cary Shaw, has put up an FFRF banner in Huntington Park in the city of Shelton. Last year, the city refused to allow Bloom to place the same banner in a separate park, to counter another religious display, because city officials thought the banner's nonreligious message would be "offensive to many." FFRF filed a lawsuit in March to correct this censorship. FFRF is currently negotiating a settlement with the city that will ensure Bloom receives equal access to city parks.
The banner carries FFRF's message, by FFRF's principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor. It was composed as an equal-time challenge, following divisiveness over religious displays in governmental places. It reads:
At this season of the Winter Solstice, may 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 hearts and enslaves minds.
The banner is permitted to be up through Friday, Dec. 23.
"We'd prefer to keep public parks and government buildings free from religious divisiveness," says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. "But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, there must be 'room at the inn' for all points of view, including irreverence and freethought."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nontheistic organization with almost 25,000 members all over the country, including 200-plus in Connecticut.