An anti-Easter sign posted in the Wisconsin state Capitol by atheist activists was "violently mangled" and "mutilated," according to the organization that displayed it.
"Nobody died for our sins. Jesus Christ is a myth," read the sign that was posted Monday by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
According to the Wisconsin-based group, a "fanatic" vandalized the poster Wednesday, though little information is known about the culprit.
"A man wrested [the] foamboard sign, which was securely taped to an easel, and violently mangled it in front of passersby," a statement on the Freedom From Religion Foundation's website said. "Capitol security was quickly summoned and gave chase, but the vandal got away."
Image source: Freedom From Religion Foundation
Rather than replace the sign, the group decided to leave it on display as is, affixing a note to let passerby know why it appears bended.
"Somebody, presumably somebody who disagreed with our message, tried to destroy our sign. Apparently, this person believes the Capitol is a public forum for Christianity only," the note said.
It continued, "If you don’t think religious messages should be displayed on government property, join the club! We don’t think they should be, either. But as long as religious groups use the Capitol to proselytize, FFRF has a right to respond to their message."
The sign was first placed in the Capitol building Monday after the atheist group learned that the Wisconsin chapter of Concerned Women for America, a Christian group based in Washington, D.C., would be assembling an Easter display of its own.
That display features a cross as well as pro-life materials.
"It’s unfortunate to see a sectarian symbol that is increasingly used as a symbol of political intimidation in our state capitol," Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. "It’s also unfortunate to see women a serving as a front for a patriarchal religion based on women’s subservience and second-class status."
Conservatives like Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed have defended the atheist group's right to free speech, but have said that the sign is an attack on people of faith.
"I would certainly hope that people would show more respect for and deference on this most high and holy week," Reed told Fox News this week. "But unfortunately ... we crossed that line a long time ago."