‘Natural Nativity Scene’ Goes Up in Wisconsin Capitol Building

For the third straight year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has put up a “natural nativity scene” in the Wisconsin Capitol building:

Today also marks the third return of FFRF’s “natural nativity scene,” which was unveiled in 2011 to recognize the rebirth of the Unconquered Sun — Dies Natalis Invicti Solis — not baby Jesus. FFRF’s baby is black and female, for egalitarianism, and to acknowledge that humankind was birthed in Africa. Our wisepeople depict atheists and scientific giants Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, plus wisewoman Emma Goldman — with humorist Mark Twain and Founding father Thomas Jefferson thrown in for good measure.

Venus, like Mary, represents a mythical fertility symbol, but also our solar system. FFRF’s “angels” are also natural — the Statue of Liberty and an astronaut.

“Our display celebrates the human family, reason and the Winter Solstice,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. Crafted by FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, it was placed after a Religious Right group put up a devotional nativity scene for the first time in the Capitol.

“FFRF would vastly prefer that government buildings and seats of government be free from religion — and irreligion. It is divisive. The rotunda is getting very cluttered. But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, then there must be ‘room at the inn’ for all points of view, including irreverency and freethought,” said Gaylor.

That last point is key. You might criticize FFRF for taking part in something it deplores, but I don’t see it as hypocritical at all. They’re just taking advantage of an opportunity that legally extends to them. They’d be just as happy (more happy, really) if that opportunity were taken away.

And since an atheists’ nativity scene isn’t enough, FFRF also put up their Winter Solstice message nearby:

[On Front]

“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.”

[On Back]

So many Gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
When just the art of being kind
Is all this sad world needs.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Cue the obligatory Fox News segment in 5… 4… 3…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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