Photos Show Defacement of Winter Solstice Sign At Wisconsin Capitol

(MADISON, WI) The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s gilt “Winter Solstice” sign at the Wisconsin State Capitol, which was defaced earlier in the week, appears to be deteriorating, according to Capitol Police’s assessment.

Whatever corrosive material was sprayed on it is gradually eating away at the gilt finish, making the engraved wording harder to read.

Also online is a photograph of the annual “bash atheism” sign that has been placed for many years at the Capitol in December by a local religionist institute, quoting Psalms that “the fool hath said in his heart there is no god.”

The institute placed its sign in response to the Foundation’s 8-foot banner at the Capitol reading “State/Church: Keep Them Separate,” which it put up annually in the rotunda in December after complaints by the public about numerous religious symbols and events at the Capitol.

“It was our contention when we originally placed our state/church banner in the Capitol, that religious signs, pro or con, did not belong in the Capitol. But as long as the Capitol is being taken over by Christianity every December, we will be there too,” said Anne Gaylor.

Gov. Tommy Thompson ordered the Foundation’s banner to be torn down in the mid-1990s, although the Foundation had a permit. When Thompson subsequently ordered that signs be limited to 30 x 40 inches in size, the Foundation placed a more forthright sign reading:

“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.”

The back of the sign reads: “State/Church Keep Them Separate.”

Last year, the Foundation’s sign was stolen. No one was charged with the crime. The Foundation has offered $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who criminally damaged its property this year in the State Capitol.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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