The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s winter solstice sign is back in the Milwaukee County Courthouse for the 12th year in a row.
FFRF and local members have provided the secular message at the courthouse alongside religious seasonal messages to ensure that secular viewpoints are accorded the same rights as religion in government buildings. A winter solstice sign was first put in the courthouse to counteract a nativity scene placed there in 2009. The state/church watchdog’s sign is now placed next to a massive holiday tree and will be up until Jan. 1. This representation continues to be important, since up to 30 percent of Americans identify as nonreligious, including 26 percent of Milwaukee County residents.
The first side of FFRF’s display reads: “At this season of the winter solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” On the back it says: “State/Church. KEEP THEM SEPARATE.”
FFRF thanks volunteer and area member Ted Shellhamer for his “faithful faithless” work to spread the secular cheer every year.
“If there’s going to be religion in government buildings, there must be ‘room at the inn’ for dissenting points of view,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “As we like to point out, the winter solstice — the shortest, darkest day of the year — is the real reason for the season.”
The Wisconsin-headquartered Freedom From Religion Foundation has over 38,000 nonreligious members and several chapters all over the country, including more than 1,600 members and a chapter in Wisconsin. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.