The Freedom From Religion Foundation and its Metropolitan Chicago chapter have placed their annual secular holiday exhibits all over the greater Chicago area.
A colorful banner invoking the Founding Fathers has again been unfurled in Daley Plaza. It greets everyone with: “Happy Winter Solstice,” and pictures Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and the Statue of Liberty gazing adoringly at a “baby” Bill of Rights. Sitting atop the banner stand is a large lighted Richard Dawkins-inspired “A” (for atheism) sign. This is the sixth year of the display, intended to counter a life-size Christian creche and a massive Jewish menorah placed at the location by private organizations since the 1980s.
FFRF has also erected a Bill of Rights cutout at Cook Memorial Park in Libertyville, the first year that a freethought exhibit has been displayed at this site. A sign next to the cutout reads, “At this season of the Winter Solstice, join us in honoring the Bill of Rights, adopted on December 15, 1791, which reminds us that there can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent. Keep religion and government separate!” A life-size Christian creche and an 8-foot tall menorah have been placed in the park for several years.
The third spot to be graced by an FFRF display is the North School Park in Arlington Heights, its seventh year here. It’s the same exhibit as the one at Cook Memorial Park. A public forum area was created at the park by the Village Park District in 2012 after a Christian organization that wanted to put a nativity scene in the park threatened a lawsuit. In addition to a Christian creche, a Jewish menorah has been set up here for the first time this year.
All three of the FFRF secular displays will be available for public viewing until the end of December.
“With our population becoming an important part of the American landscape, we feel it important to make our message visible,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
FFRF Metropolitan Chicago chapter Director Tom Cara agrees.
“Chicago is one of our country’s most important cities,” he says. “That’s why we’ve gone to great effort to spread our secular narrative here.”
Cara and other volunteers with the organization’s active Chicago chapter put up the display, and FFRF helped defray the costs. FFRF wishes to thank these members.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national freethought association dedicated to keeping state and church separate, with 32,000 members and several chapters all over the country, including more than 900 members and its Metropolitan Chicago chapter in Illinois.
The Daley Plaza image: FFRFMCC members Mike Weeda, Shane Stapley and Fred Dix.
Libertyville Photo Pictured: FFRFMCC member Bob Hunter. Photos by Tom Cara