Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers, the FFRFMCC holiday displays are up once again in both Chicago Daley Center Plaza and North School Park in Arlington Heights.
In Daley Center Plaza, our 8 1/2 foot x 8 1/2 foot Dawkins scarlet “A” (for atheism) sign is shining bright with over 100 seasonal red lights, educating the public on the growing number of non-believers in this country. Next to that is our 2 1/2 foot by 9 foot banner celebrating the astronomical New Year known as the Winter Solstice — the TRUE reason for the season — and also honors our Bill of Rights, which was ratified on December 15th, 1791. Both of our signs are in between the life-size Christian nativity and the 20 foot Jewish menorah that go up each year along the Dearborn Street side of the Plaza.
At North School Park in Arlington Heights, a smaller 5 foot lighted Dawkins scarlet “A” sign, along with a poster sign featuring a beautiful secular poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, entitled “The World’s Need,” stares down a privately erected nativity.
The poem, imprinted on a backdrop of a festive winter scene, reads:
“So many gods, so many creeds —
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all this sad world needs.”
The Park District was pressured into creating a public forum under threat of a free speech lawsuit by the Illinois Nativity Scene Committee back in 2012. The organization’s intent is to impose Christian beliefs in as many public squares as possible. And those visiting North School Park in Arlington Heights who come to view the luminous toy-themed non-religious holiday display the Park District has been erecting for over 20 years have, for the past five years, also been subjected to Christian proselytizing. The national FFRF and the FFRFMCC have been challenging the religious imagery in this park with opposing non-theist views since the first year the nativity was erected.
For those who have the opportunity to visit either location this season, please enjoy the displays representing the secular community and countering the religious imagery that often infests government property this time of year. The Daley Center Plaza display, located at 50 W. Washington Street in Chicago, will be up until Wednesday, Dec. 28th. The North School Park display, located at Arlington Heights Road and Eastman Street in Arlington Heights, will be up until Saturday, Dec. 31st.