The Freedom From Religion Foundation has made freethought’s presence felt in the land of Lincoln for more than a decade now during the winter holiday season.
The organization’s Winter Solstice display is back at the Illinois Capitol for the 11th year running. FFRF member Kathryn Koldehoff recently installed the exhibit in the seat of the Illinois state government in Springfield.
FFRF is the largest national association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics), with approximately 30,000 members and several 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.
“We’d rather see the state Capitol free of religious divisiveness,” notes FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “However, if a governmental entity allows religious displays, there must be room in the inn for our message.”
The pretty green and red sign contains a secular note, 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 says, “This sign is a reminder of the real reason for the season, the Winter Solstice,” 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 more than two decades during the holiday season at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, where FFRF is headquartered.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and its members are making certain that space is made available for freethought all over the United States of America.