FFRF solstice display reappears at Wisconsin Capitol

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s annual Winter Solstice exhibit begins displaying at the Wisconsin Capitol Friday, Dec. 1, morning for the 22nd year running.

A sign features FFRF’s traditional message by its principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor. It was composed as an equal-time challenge to combat religious dogmatism at the heart of state government. It 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 part of the display for a third year in the first floor rotunda is FFRF’s whimsical Bill of Rights “nativity.” The irreverent cut-out 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 the tongue-in-cheek nativity 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.

“We’d much rather that the core of our state government be free from religion — and irreligion,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “But if religious displays are approved, irreverence and freethought have to be allowed space, too.”

The national state/church watchdog, based in Madison, Wis., has approximately 30,000 members and chapters all over the country, including more than 1,300 and the Kenosha Racine Atheists & Freethinkers (KRAFt) chapter in Wisconsin.

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