Banners and Signs
|||Each year during the Christian “holy week” of Good Friday and Easter, a Catholic organization known as the “Divine Mercy Project” erects a large prayer shrine and Latin cross in Chicago’s Daley Center Plaza in an attempt to proselytize and convert people to Catholicism.
The FFRFMCC protests this egregious use of public property for religious purposes by countering with a display of their own, calling for maintaining the constitutional principle of separation between state and religion.
The secular display includes two separate banners featuring founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, with quotes from each citing the importance of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The banners are flanked by smaller “lectern” signs. One asks the Catholic organization to keep their religious beliefs on private property, and not use secular taxpayer property to proselytize. The other features passages from the New Testament, educating the public that the Bible is not only unmerciful, but also in contraction to the U.S. Constitution, which is why our founding fathers intention was to make sure religion was not imposed on the governing of our country.
Each December, the FFRFMCC erects a non-theist display in Chicago’s Daley Center Plaza in order to represent non-theists during the winter holiday season. It is also intended to counter the religious images that dominate the Plaza, including a life-size nativity scene and a 20 foot menorah.
The non-theist display includes an 8 1/2 foot x 8 1/2 foot lighted Scarlet “A” which was designed by the Richard Dawkins Foundation as a symbol for atheism. Its purpose is to encourage the non-religious to come out of the closet, eradicate the negative stereotypes of non-believers, promote rational thinking over superstition, ensure that our government remains completely neutral on issues pertaining to religion, and reach out to like-minded individuals to let them know they are not alone.
The display also includes a 2 1/2 foot x 9 foot double-sided banner celebrating the Winter Solstice and the birth of the Bill of Rights, which was ratified on December 15th, 1791. The banner features the Bill of Rights resting in a manger bed, with the founding fathers and the Statue of Liberty gazing adoringly at it. The festival of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, was celebrated by northern Europeans centuries before Christianity, and originated most of the holiday traditions now used by Christians for the celebration of Christmas. These traditions include the decoration of an evergreen tree, the burning of the yule log, the hanging of mistletoe, and the whole idea to “eat, drink and be merry.” The non-theist display is a reminder that the December holiday season does not in any way belong exclusively to Christians.