An atheist group has erected a giant "A" and posted an anti-Christmas banner in Chicago's Daley Plaza in protest of a life-size nativity display that is placed outside of the Richard J. Daley Center each year.
In a press release published on the Freedom From Religion Foundation's website, the atheist organization called the traditional Christmas nativity "divisive" and said that the new-found "winter solstice" display is an effort to balance out the message being conveyed outside the civic center.
Credit: Freedom From Religion Foundation/Twitter User @FFRF
In addition to a banner that highlights the "birth of the Bill of Rights," the group placed a large, 8.5 foot tall lighted "A" on the premises. This symbol has become, in many circles, the official emblem of atheist activism.
In an illustration on the accompanying banner, a manger houses the Bill of Rights instead of baby Jesus -- and rather than wise men and other biblical characters, those standing around the document are Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin and the Statue of Liberty, the press released explained.
Credit: Freedom From Religion Foundation
The banner reads: "At this season of the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the birth of the Unconquered Sun — the TRUE reason for the season. As Americans, let us also honor the birth of our Bill of Rights, which reminds us there can be no freedom OF religion, without having freedom FROM religion in government."
Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Dan Barker said in the press release that allowing the atheist perspective is a necessity.
"If the government is going to open up a public forum to religion, then it has to permit the nonreligious — nearly 20 percent of our nation today — to express our point of view as well,” he said.
This 20 percent figure Barker references is the so-called "nones" -- the individuals who report in public opinion polls and studies being unaffiliated with a specific faith.
It is somewhat misleading to assume, though, that the entirety of this cohort would embrace the "A" symbol or the banner, as many people who fall under this category believe in a God but simply do not subscribe to a specific theological system, as TheBlaze has covered extensively.
The nativity has been displayed at Daley Plaza since 1985 when the "God Squad," a group of locals, advocated its placement at the site. Every year, these individuals volunteer their time to both assemble and disassemble the display.
A portion of the nativity scene that is erected each year at Daley Plaza (Credit: AmericanNativityScene.com)
A message left for a "God Squad" representative has not been returned.