FFRF Solstice exhibit decorates Wis. Capitol for almost a quarter century

WI 2019 Solstice Display

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s annual Winter Solstice exhibit is up at the Wisconsin Capitol for an astonishing 24th year in a row.

A gilt sign features FFRF’s traditional message from its principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor. It was created as an equal-time challenge to combat religious dogmatism at the heart of state government and reads:

At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

A major addition to the exhibit for the fifth year running in the first floor rotunda is FFRF’s whimsical Bill of Rights “nativity.” The irreverent cutout by artist Jacob Fortin depicts Founders Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington gazing in adoration at a “baby” Bill of Rights while the Statue of Liberty looks on.

A sign beside this tongue-in-cheek depiction reads:

“Happy Winter Solstice. At this Season of the Winter Solstice, we honor reason and the Bill of Rights (adopted Dec. 15, 1791).” At the bottom, it reads: “Thou shalt not steal, please.”

Both exhibits are permitted to be up until the end of December.

Occurring on Dec. 21, the Winter Solstice marks the shortest, darkest day of the year, heralding the symbolic rebirth of the sun. It has been celebrated for millennia in the Northern Hemisphere with festivals of light, evergreens, gift exchanges and seasonal gatherings.

“The winter celebration far predates the birth of Christianity,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We want to make people aware that one faith doesn’t have a monopoly on this seasonal observance.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national state/church watchdog based in Madison, Wis., has approximately 30,000 nonreligious members and several chapters all over the country, including almost 1,500 members and a chapter in Wisconsin.

Thanks to FFRF Legal Assistant Whitney Steffen, Staff Attorney Chris Line (photographer), Legal Fellows Brendan Johnson and Dante Harootunian for placing the signs.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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