After several FFRF Winter Solstice banners and signs had been stolen or vandalized, it was time to say "enough is enough."
Such vandalism has occurred for years with no consequence for the vandals. So why let criminals censor freethought messages and violate our right to free speech?
So Staff Attorney Sam Grover came up with a great idea to discourage crime: create a pledge fund for when this happens again so the banners and displays can be "resurrected" in a timely manner and the vandals/thieves will actually be helping FFRF's cause.
FFRF went to social media and asked our supporters to help protect our Winter Solstice displays throughout the country by making a pledge to the Resurrection Pledge Drive. People may pledge any amount they want, but would pay only if any of FFRF's displays are stolen or destroyed.
In early December, FFRF's Winter Solstice banner was stolen from the Franklin County, Ind., courthouse lawn. A new, identical Winter Solstice banner was erected there on Dec. 19.
In the inaugural year of the Resurrection Pledge Drive, 95 freethinkers answered the call, pledging a total of $889 for each FFRF display that was stolen or vandalized. For the vast majority of our displays, this new level of protection worked!
Unfortunately, three displays were harmed after we kicked off the pledge drive. First, FFRF erected a Winter Solstice banner on the front lawn of the Belle Plaine, Minn., police station on Dec. 18, next to a privately sponsored nativity scene. In less than 24 hours, our banner was stolen.
Second, on Christmas Eve, the new Franklin County banner was slashed to bits in a clear act of aggression. The second banner included a warning that "dozens of generous freethinkers have pledged money to FFRF in the event that this banner is stolen or destroyed." Though the second banner was shredded, FFRF's efforts have convinced the town of Brookville to move its nativity scene to private property next December and Franklin County is considering closing the forum on its courthouse lawn.
Third, FFRF's local chapter in Maine put up a Winter Solstice banner in a public park in Sanford. The Sanford banner was stolen on Dec. 30, less than one week after it had been put up.
For all three of these banners, FFRF called on those who pledged to send in their contributions to ensure that FFRF could replace these displays for the 2016 holiday season.
If you want to join in the effort to protect FFRF's free thought displays, then join FFRF's 2016 Resurrection Pledge Campaign. With your help we can ensure that thieves and vandals cannot censor FFRF's freethought message without triggering a donation that will fund even more FFRF displays.