The Freedom From Religion Foundation's Winter Solstice display is back at the Illinois Capitol for the ninth year in a row.
The exhibit was installed by FFRF member Kathryn Koldehoff in the heart of the Illinois state government in Springfield on Dec. 1 and will be up till the end of the month.
FFRF is the largest national association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics) with approximately 30,000 members and 20 chapters all over the country including almost 1,000 members and a Chicago chapter in the state of Illinois. The organization works to protect the constitutional separation between religion and government. Back in 2008, Illinois members asked FFRF to erect an equal-time display in protest against a decision to permit a religious group to plant a nativity scene in the Capitol during the holiday season. A manger scene and Christmas tree were already set up in the Capitol when FFRF installed its display this year.
"Contentious exhibits need not be on show at state capitols," notes FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. "But if a state allows an overtly religious manger scene, we will be there to balance out this religiosity."
The pretty green and red sign contains a secular message, composed by the late Anne Nicol Gaylor, FFRF's principal founder:
"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."
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, "This sign is a reminder of the real reason for the season, the Winter Solstice," FFRF co-president, which is the shortest and darkest day of the year and takes place on Dec. 21 this year. The natural holiday heralds the rebirth of the sun and the natural new year, and has been celebrated for millennia in the Northern Hemisphere with festivals of light, evergreens, feasts and gift exchanges.
An engraved sign with the same wording has been erected by the Foundation for 22 Decembers running at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, where FFRF is headquartered.
FFRF and its members are ensuring a space for freethought at seats of lawmaking around the country.