FFRF victory Ellwood City: “Send us your banner”

FFRF Staff & Volunteers (Photo by Andrew Seidel) 

After months of correspondence over a nativity scene in front of the Municipal Building in Ellwood City, Pa., FFRF has won a victory. 

In a recent video interview, Mayor Anthony Court said he refused to take down the crèche but invited FFRF to put up our own display. In an acceptance letter, FFRF reiterated that the nativity is unconstitutional and if Ellwood City persisted in putting up the display, FFRF would accept the Mayor’s generous offer. 

In our letter of acceptance, FFRF wrote: “We will provide our display but expect that the Borough Manager will erect it this year, store the display, and put it up next year.” Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of FFRF, spoke on the phone with Borough Manager Dom Vicarri on Thursday. Vicarri instructed FFRF to send the banner and provided an address where it could be mailed. 

FFRF’s letter was also careful to lay out how the banner should be displayed “We expect that you will show the same courtesy to our message as you show to the Christian message. That means our banner must be as prominently displayed as the crèche, in front of the entrance to the same city building. We would be happy with a placement just below or above your ‘Happy Holidays’ banner, however we would prefer placement above the nativity itself. We would also like to express our full confidence that the City will treat our message with the same respect and give it the same protections as the crèche (this should be easy given that it will be hanging right outside the police station).”

Recent news stories about FFRF’s opposition to the nativity have claimed that FFRF was "headed to Ellwood City in busloads" and that a motorcycle gang “with the stated objective of using the motorcycles to drown out the voices of any atheists with the temerity to protest.” FFRF did not arrange for any such protests. 

The staff at FFRF was so excited about Ellwood City’s request for our atheist banner that we had to take a photo with the banner to say goodbye before sending it on its way. 

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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