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FFRF debuts freethought displays in San Diego city park

1SolsticeBannerSanDiego

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, with the help of local activists, is debuting secular Winter Solstice displays in San Diego's Balboa Park this holiday season.

Katie D., a San Diego freethinker who has asked to be identified without her full last name, put up two Solstice displays to counter the religious messages placed on public property.

The first is a large banner which 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.”

The second display is a secular Bill of Rights nativity. The cutout depicts Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, along with the State of Liberty, gazing in adoration at a “baby” bill of rights. A sign beside the tongue-in-cheek nativity reads:

“At this Season of the Winter Solstice, join us in honoring the Bill of Rights, adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, which reminds us there can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent. It ends with: “Keep religion and government separate!”

The two are triumphantly displayed after Katie D. and FFRF faced challenges getting the application approved by the city, despite the large existing religious nativity scene which has been put up for many years.

“This permit issue and others exist because I believe this is the first time they are realizing this is an open forum,” Katie D. says. “The other nativity has been there every season forever, and no one else, including staff, probably thought the park was open for other displays until I asked.”

FFRF places these solstice displays in many cities around the country, to celebrate freethought and to ensure representation of the growing number of secular Americans.

“If there’s going to be a forum for religion on government property, there must be ‘room at the inn’ for the views of nonbelievers, too,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It’s important in this day and age, with secular folks making up an ever-larger portion of the population, that our message be visible throughout the country, including in the Golden State.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 31,000 members and several across the country, including more than 3,900 members in California and a chapter in Sacramento. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.