Earlier this week, the Blaze reported about the “slightly blasphemous” nativity scene that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been planning to put in the Wisconsin state capitol. The atheist group was so frustrated over the presence of a Christian nativity, that its leaders decided to seek out a permit to make public what the group’s co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor calls an “irreverent tweak on the nativity scene.”
On Wednesday, the FFRF made good on its promise to counter the Christian depiction assembled by Wisconsin Family Action (WFA), a conservative organization in the region. In the atheist version of the nativity, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein are the three wise men. The baby, an African girl, is intended to represent the birthplace of mankind. The beloved angels are an astronaut and the Statue of Liberty.
According to FFRF, the nativity spoof wouldn’t have been created if the capitol’s rotunda didn’t already have other religious displays. But because the Christian message was represented, Gaylor’s group demanded that theirs be viewed too.
“But, since it is a public forum, it didn’t look like legally we could do anything, so, we were left with putting up our own, natural nativity display,” Gaylor explained. “We think that the rotunda is getting too littered, we don’t think that it should be a public forum for religion at the seat of government.”
Andrew Seidel, who is also with the FFRF, explained the mock nativity, saying, “Thomas Jefferson, one of our characters (in the display), said that ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible principles. He continued, claiming that his group isn’t competing with WFA. “Our beliefs, we think, are just as important and we want to get them out there and represent the other side of the story,” he said.
WFA has no problem with the presence of the display and says that it welcomes all perspectives. This incident follows a very public battle between the foundation and the Wisconsin state government after Gov. Walker began referring to the state’s official holiday spruce as a Christmas tree this year.