Atheists Display 'Secular' Nativity Scene Calling Religion 'Myth and Superstition'


[FONT=Arial]An atheist organization has set up its own version of the Nativity scene in Madison, Wis., replacing the traditional Christian depiction of Jesus’ birth with figures and objects honored by secularists.
“We nonbelievers don’t mind sharing the season with Christians, but we think there should be some acknowledgment that the Christians really ‘stole’ the trimmings of Christmas, and the sun-god myths, from pagans,” said Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Emma Goldman, the goddess Venus, the Statue of Liberty, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson replace the magi, or wise men, in the atheist’s Nativity version, while the baby Jesus has been replaced by a baby girl.
The display is set up on the first-floor rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol now through the month of December, and officially celebrates Winter Solstice, which falls on Dec. 21, when the sun will appear at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon.

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A display including Venus the sun goddess has been put on display in the Wisconsin State Capitol building Rotunda section by the same group, Freedom from Religion Foundation, who pushed for a Manger Scene to be removed from the lawn of city hall in Athens, Texas last year and often pushes for the removal of religious displays from government and public buildings. I find this extremely hypocritical and ironic. They are supposed to support freedom from religion and they have put a religious display, a figure of Venus the sun goddess, in a governmental building in Wisconsin. I am offended by this violation of separation of church and state. This religious display has no business in a governmental building, especially by a group which is supposed to work for freedom from religion. What if not everybody accessing that building or walks by that display believes in Venus the sun goddess? Those who don’t are made to feel like second class citizens.

[SIZE=3]**Wisconsin Capitol Building
**Capitol Bureau Building ManagementFacilities Management Group 1
John Hunter, Buildings and Grounds Supervisor
Telephone #: (608) 266-5044
FAX #: (608) 264-6684
E-mail address: **[COLOR=#000099]**

Freedom From Religion Foundation
**[/SIZE]PO Box 750
Madison WI 53701


Jesus did NOT sell religon, he in fact is secular, but of course these loonies don’t care, the whole effort is to impose THEIR views on us…[LEFT][/LEFT]


By the way, I emailed the Wisconsin Capitol Building and the FFRF regarding this around 10 am. I have not received an answer yet. I will begin bombarding them with emails and phone calls until I get one and continue until it is removed. I encourage everyone who cares to do the same.


I really see this as a win-win for atheists. If they are allowed to keep their “idols” up, then that means they are also allowed to place secular messages around Christian displays. If they are forced to take their “idols” down, then they can use the same argument which was used in order to take their original idols down to take Christian idols down, if the Christian idols are not taken down by the same reason, it shows discrimination.


It’s in the State Capitol building. It’s a violation of separation of church and state. Take it down.


In that case, I would argue saying the current version of the pledge in schools violates sepration of church and state, as well as having the ten commandments framed in court rooms.


And just how many public school let the pledge get uttered within it’s halls these days and how many copies of the Ten Commandments are left in courthouses?


Too bad “separation of church and state” isn’t in the Constitution…


No, but given the texts at the time, especially those by Thomas Jefferson, it’s usually been decided that using state funds or state land for religious purposes is a violation of the first amendment. It’s the same reasoning that allows Churches to not be taxed.


The problem being that what has “been decided” has little or nothing to do with what the 1st Amendment actually says; if state funds or land were legitimately used WITHOUT involvement of Congress, the 1st Amendment doesn’t even enter into it.


It does as of the 14th amendment. If Congress can’t give funds to churches, as it infringes on the rights of the public, then neither can the states. Everyone gets the same rights regardless of where they live.

Not to mention every state constitution has some sort of separation of church and state in it. From the Wisconsin constitution, Article I, Section 18 (emphasis added):

The right of every person to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any person be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, without consent; nor shall any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship; nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or religious or theological seminaries.

  1. No it doesn’t. The 14th (which is rather vague, although not as much so as the 9th) is NOT the 1st, and doesn’t even reference the 1st, nor mention what rights are involved other than not being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. You’re not doing your argument any favors (not that it’s viable in the first place).
  2. Your Wisconsin reference states “nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or religious or theological seminaries.” Doesn’t say a blessed thing about about governmental property being used to set up a nativity. Nor did any of the parts you didn’t boldface.


The 14th guarantees all Americans the same rights, regardless of what state they’re in.

And even if that wasn’t the case, using government property to host a nativity is, if it is brought about through law or declaration, “preference […] given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship.” It is also using state funds, as taxpayer money is paying for the land the nativity stands on, which violates that bolded part.

So, even if we only use the Wisconsin State Constitution, we can’t have the government itself host a nativity, unless of course it was a secular nativity (?), or it required no funds at all, which is highly unlikely. Further, the nativity can’t be on government property unless it was secular (?) as hosting it on government property is in and of itself using state funds to support it.

So the “atheist nativity” thingy should be thrown out of City Hall.


Oh BS. The 14th says none of that. I double checked it before I posted the above. The thing I posted above was the only specific pertaining to rights. All else pertaining to rights was vague. That’s a fact. Look it up for your self; a link the the content of the U.S. Constitution is in a sticky thread in the History forum.

And I also already explained why your reference to the Wisconsin Constitution doesn’t prohibit nativity scenes, and you flatly ignored it. No, funds from the government are never involved in any nativity scene I’ve ever heard of. You’re spinning like a top.


. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Further, simply having the nativity on public land is taking funds from the government. The land it stands on is receiving funds from the state government, and further the nativity is sitting on taxpayer funded land free of charge. If it was on private land, that would not be the case. Can you see how simply being on public land is taking taxpayer funds? The land is stands on is funded by the government. It is essentially paying rent for the nativity, which the Wisconsin constitution expressly forbids.


Apparently the practice is to open the rotunda to all religious groups as REGULAR nativity scenes have been placed there as well. So…the atheists, the satanists and the Flying Spaghetti Monsterists must also be accomodated in order to be non-discriminatory. IF this is indeed the case…then all is well with the law and the display.


Note your own quote: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” Note the absolute LACK of specific definition for what constitutes “privileges or immunities.” Like I repeatedly said (and you repeatedly ignored), it is vague.

As to the land use, we own it already, so I’d hardly call that a funding issue. The only issue is whether or not it is notably disruptive by nature, which nativity scenes notably are not.


The people who put the nativity up own the the land? They most certainly do not. The State owns the land.


What are the first three words of the Constitution of the United States?


You’re being pedantic. The people who own the nativity do not own the land. The public owns the land. Using this logic, I could build a house on public land because I, the people, “own” it. This is definitely not the case. Public land belongs to everybody, not any one specific person or group of individuals. Hosting the nativity on the land is both publicly endorsing and publicly funding the nativity. If they want to put up the nativity, the atheists should buy their own land to host it on.