Freethought Today · Vol. 25 No. 10 December 2008

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Solstice Signs Capitol Idea

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In addition to placing a golden Winter Solstice display in the Wisconsin State Capitol for its 13th December, the Freedom From Religion Foundation made national news by placing a similar sign in the Washington State Capitol in Olympia on Dec. 1. FFRF has been deluged with new members and supporters. (See letters, p. 3)

The Washington display was the Foundation’s challenge to a decision by the state to allow a nativity scene to be displayed and create a “public forum” for religion. The Foundation erected the sign at the request of Foundation Lifetime Member Lois Walker, 80, who died just before the sign went up, and on behalf of 700 Washington members. (See Lois’ obituary, page 14.) Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor noted that a nativity scene does not belong in a state capitol, that neither religion nor irreligion should be part of a capitol building. But if the creche will be on display, the Foundation will ensure nonreligious views are represented, as well. The engraved signs bear the words of FFRF President Emerita Anne Nicol Gaylor: “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 both signs reads: “State/Church: Keep Them Separate.” The Foundation also erected jaunty “Reason’s Greetings” billboards in downtown Olympia and the near eastside of Madison on Dec. 1. (See above and more photos back page.) Foundation Co-President Dan Barker traveled to Olympia for the dedication on Dec. 1, attended by several dozen Foundation members. (See photos, p. 2.) FOX TV blowhard Bill O’Reilly ranted for a week against the Washington display. Early on Dec. 5, the gold insert with the main message was stolen, was found in a ditch near a conservative radio station in Seattle that had condemned the sign, and was recovered and replaced by state troopers by the end of the day. More than 400 religionists rallied against the FFRF sign on Dec. 7, bearing signs straight out of Dayton, Tennessee, circa 1925 (“Repent”).

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FFRF staffers and student workers, pictured by the Wisconsin Capitol Display, wish you a bright and secular New Year!

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