A Freedom From Religion Foundation “In Reason We Trust” sign was stolen March 28 from the first floor Capitol rotunda in Madison, Wis. The sign features Thomas Jefferson with his thought-provoking quote, “Question with boldness even the existence of a god. . .”
FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover and Legal Intern Ryan Jayne filed the permit application on March 9. The sign was put up in the Capitol to counter Eastertime religious displays.
After contacting authorities, FFRF was given access to the security footage. On Sat., March 28, at 1:13 p.m., three suspects were recorded removing the 20x30 inch sign, along with the easel it was propped on.
The suspects are two males and a female, all Caucasian. Footage reveals one male suspect struggling to remove the tape securing the sign to the easel. The additional suspects joined shortly after, and posed to take multiple “selfies” on a cellphone camera. The thief left via the Wisconsin Avenue exit and the others exited via the West Washington exit.
The thieves will be chagrined to learn that the wooden easel wasn’t FFRF property. The stolen easel was a rental from the Capitol Police Department.
This theft is considered a Class A misdemeanor, with a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 9 months. 939.51(3)(a) (a).
FFRF is offering a total of $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief.
If you have any information pertaining to this theft, please contact FFRF.
FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with more than 22,000 members, including over 1,300 in Wisconsin.
take action now!
Stop Governor Walker’s voucher expansion in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill includes a disastrous proposal to expand the voucher program — raiding tax dollars from public schools and giving them to private (mostly religious) schools. Walker’s proposal would lift the 1,000-student cap on statewide private school tuition vouchers, opening the floodgates for state funding of religious schools. In the recently expanded statewide voucher system, 100% of the state-funded schools are Christian, and 73% of students attend Roman Catholic schools. The state must end this pernicious experiment to siphon funds from our public schools to fund church-run, religiously-segregated schools.
Walker's proposal could destroy our public schools. Up to 40% of Wisconsin K-12th grade students would be eligible to leave public schools, taking public funding with them to enrich parochial and other private schools. In Madison, more than 12,500 students would be eligible for vouchers under Walker's budget bill. Almost half of the students within the Madison Metropolitan School District could leave it at public expense! Public schools are governed by publicly elected school boards and are subject to open meetings and records laws. Where public money goes, public accountability ought to follow. Taxpayers have no means to monitor the voucher schools that they fund, which have been rife with abuses, including fraud, failures, teaching of creationism, etc.
You can help stop Walker’s brazen attack on public education! If you only take action on one state/church issue this year, make it be this one. (Scroll below to find FAQs and talking points).
contact your state legislators
Find your state legislator here.
(Type your full address in the small searchbox at far right above map.)
Phone the Wisconsin Legislative Hotline
In Madison, dial 266-9960
contact the joint finance committee
The Wisconsin Legislature’s powerful Joint Committee on Finance is seeking comments from the public now. Ask the committee to delete Walker’s voucher expansion provision:
Joe Malkasian, Committee Clrk
Joint Committee on Finance
Room 305 East
Madison WI 53702
contact the governor's office
Governor Scott Walker
Office of Governor Scott Walker
115 East Capitol
Madison, WI 53702
Faqs and more background on why vouchers hurt our public schools
To email your legislator, the governor or Joint Finance Committee. Feel free to cut and paste any wording below:
As a Wisconsin citizen, taxpayer and your constituent, I urge you to take action to remove Governor Walker’s irresponsible voucher expansion language from the budget proposal. End Wisconsin’s disastrous experiment with school vouchers, which raid our public schools to enrich largely religious private schools at taxpayer expense. Walker’s expansion is a brazen attack on our public, secular school system. I join the call for a legislative investigation into voucher fraud and an end to school voucher expansion. Where public money goes, public accountability should follow. Please act now to protect our public schools.