FFRF greets Xmas with full-page Bill of Rights ad in Wis. State Journal

Readers might be surprised to see a striking full-page ad headlined “Joy to the World” on Christmas Day in the Wisconsin State Journal, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wis.

Why surprised? Because the advertisement was placed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics), which is based in Madison.

The catch? Underneath the headline are “three wise men” (Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison) accompanied by the Statue of Liberty, who are all gazing adoringly at a manger holding . . . the Bill of Rights.

A headline under the graphic heralds: “The Bill of Rights is born.”

FFRF’s ad, which sends greetings of “the Winter Solstice Season — the real reason for the season” — also wishes a happy birthday to the Bill of Rights, which was adopted on Dec. 15, 1791.

The state/church watchdog invites readers to “Help defend our imperiled Bill of Rights,” references President Trump’s appointments of extremists to more than a quarter of the federal judiciary, and notes that “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” will be ensured by preserving the U.S. Constitution, a godless document.

A quote by FFRF’s principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor (1926-2015), a well-known Wisconsin firebrand, reminds readers, “There can be no true religious liberty, without the freedom to dissent.”

The Bill of Rights “Nativity,” designed by artist Jake Fortin, now appears in December as a Winter Solstice display around the country, including in several state capitol buildings, to counter Christian Nativity scenes. The irreverent display traditionally also appears in the Wisconsin state Capitol, along with a gilt sign quoting Gaylor that says there are no gods and urging “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, May Reason Prevail.” The Capitol is closed during the pandemic to discourage public gatherings, and FFRF is looking forward to placing the displays once again in December 2021.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a Wisconsin-based national nonprofit organization with more than 33,000 members across the country, including 1,400-plus members 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.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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