FFRF Solstice greetings to Washingtonians vandalized

Solstice Display Vandilized

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Winter Solstice banner at the Washington Capitol has been battered and downed by vandals.

FFRF’s Solstice sign, which was set up to be displayed till Dec. 28, was erected thanks to Darrell Barker, president of FFRF’s “Unfettered Freethinkers of South Sound” chapter. It reads: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, Let 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.” It is put up annually to counter a Nativity display.

It seems that FFRF’s message was unpalatable to a few Washingtonians, even though they belong to a remarkably freethinking state, with almost half of residents identifying as nonreligious in a 2017 poll.

“The Pacific Northwest has been amazingly hospitable to freethought but there’ll always be a few disgruntled souls,” says Dan Barker, Foundation co-president and brother of Darrell. “We are saddened that such residual hostility exists.”

Those wishing to aid in the “resurrection” of the sign can donate to FFRF by selecting the "Resurrection Fund Drive" in the dropdown, "How would you like your donation to be used?" Darrell Barker plans to repair the damage and get the sign back up again soon.

This isn’t the first time that FFRF’s Olympian sign has been subjected to such treatment. Two years ago, the sign was vandalized but was quickly resurrected. FFRF installed its sign inside the Capitol building for the first time in 2008 to counter a life-sized Nativity exhibit allowed for a second year within the Statehouse. Placement of the sign that year set off such a firestorm, when Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and others condemned its presence, that the governor ended public forums inside the Capitol. That was FFRF’s goal. However, the state now permits displays outside the Capitol, and a Nativity scene has been placed there by a private group in a number of subsequent years. That’s why the FFRF banner is also on the scene — and will continue to be there every December, regardless of hooliganism.

The Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, is taking place in 2019 on Saturday, Dec. 21. This natural holiday signals the return of the sun and the new year, and has been celebrated for millennia in the Northern Hemisphere with festivals of light, evergreens, feasts and gift exchanges. The national church/state watchdog organization had installed the Winter Solstice sign in front of the Capitol building in Olympia on behalf of its more than 1,400 members in the state of Washington.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 30,000 members and several chapters across the country. 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.

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.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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