FFRF “nativity” display returns to Iowa Capitol


The Freedom From Religion Foundation is returning to the Iowa Capitol to counter religiosity at the seat of the state’s lawmaking.

The centerpiece of its seasonal display in Des Moines’ most famous building is a whimsical Bill of Rights “nativity.” The metal cutout depicts three Founding Fathers along with the Statue of Liberty gazing in adoration at a “baby” Bill of Rights.

A sign beside the tongue-in-cheek nativity reads: “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, join us in honoring the Bill of Rights, adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, which reminds us there can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent.” It ends with: “Keep religion and government separate!”

The exhibit made its debut last year in direct response to a nativity that went up for the first time in the Capitol. Among those who spoke at the nativity inaugural was then-Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who lent an official air to the proceedings. Branstad appeared to endorse the religious exhibit by remarking, “We are especially honored and pleased to have the nativity scene here in the Capitol building.” 

This year, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds attended the opening ceremony of the Thomas More Society-installed nativity for its repeat run, as did a state representative. 

The impropriety of such piety in the heart of Iowa’s legislative body has obliged FFRF to put in its own “nativity.”

“If religion is represented at the Capitol, there must be ‘room at the inn’ for other perspectives,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “Whenever a religious display preaches to the state’s citizens, we’ll be there in full measure, too.”

The FFRF display will be available to view till Dec. 27. FFRF would like to thank member Paul Novak for putting up the exhibit in the Iowa state Capitol. Without the “seize-the-initiative” spirit of its members, FFRF would not be able to make its presence felt at such landmark venues during this season.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national state/church watchdog organization that has approximately 30,000 members, including almost 200 in Iowa.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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