The Freedom From Religion Foundation's local chapter will once again put up a secular display in downtown Chicago on Easter weekend to counter a Catholic shrine there.
On Saturday, April 3, FFRF's Metropolitan Chicago Chapter (FFRFMCC) will place in Daley Plaza two colorful 8-foot banners on a 12-foot structure promoting the secular views of the Founding Fathers. The display will be on public view until Saturday, April 10.
One banner reads “In Reason We Trust,” and pictures Thomas Jefferson, highlighting his famous advice to a nephew: “Question with boldness even the existence of a god.” The other side proclaims, “Keep State & Religion Separate,” and pictures President John Adams, who signed the Treaty of Tripoli, which assured that “the government of the United States is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
The FFRF display is designed to balance a period of prayer and evangelism that occurs annually in Daley Plaza by a Catholic group, the Thomas More Society, that has preached in the plaza every Easter since 2011. The group’s aim, through its “Divine Mercy Project,” is to seek the “conversion of Chicago, America and the whole world.”
The Thomas More Society’s Catholic shrine, including a large wooden Latin cross, a 9-foot banner of Jesus, and “kneelers” for people to pray, is expected to return Friday. In past years, Catholic supporters have also held 24-hour prayer vigils, distributed thousands of prayer cards and hosted anti-abortion rallies in front of the Jesus painting.
Rather than place such displays on church grounds, the Thomas More Society explicitly seeks to take over public property for its purposes, claiming that at Daley Plaza it encounters “militants, feminists, Satanists, radical Muslims, just about everybody.”
FFRF warmly thanks FFRFMCC Executive Director Tom Cara for securing a permit for the display and two board members of the active local chapter, Shane Stapley and Steve Foulkes (pictured above) for their assistance in putting it up.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national state/church watchdog with more than 35,000 nonreligious members and several chapters all over the country, including almost 1,100 members and the Metropolitan Chicago chapter in Illinois.
Correction: A previous version of the press release stated that the Thomas Moore Society display was erected Thursday.