On Monday, December 3, 2012, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) placed a Winter Solstice sign in a Milwaukee courthouse for the second year in a row. It was delivered to the courthouse by FFRF lifetime member Edward Susterich.
The sign, which is shown in the accompanying slideshow, made its first appearance last year in response to what is referred to as "an inappropriate nativity scene" that was first displayed in the courthouse in 2009. According to a news release by the FFRF, Co-President Dan Barker said, "'Fifteen percent of Milwaukee County is nonreligious. This is their courthouse, too, supported with their tax dollars, and if religion is going to be there, there has to be "room at the inn" for the nonreligious perspective.'"
The sign placed in the courthouse this month is not the first of the year for the FFRF. In November, they placed a "natural nativity scene" in the first-floor rotunda of the Wisconsin State Capitol along with a double-sided sign.
According to a news release, the symbolism of the scene (shown in the accompanying slideshow) is:
• An astronaut sitting atop of the nativity scene as our real-life “angel”
• Wisepeople depicting the atheists and scientific giants Darwin and Einstein who have enlarged human understanding of the natural world far more than the bible or any “holy books.” They were both nonbelievers as was progressive reformer Emma Goldman, representing wise women everywhere. Irreverent Mark Twain is thrown in for good measure.
• Venus. Although Venus, like Mary, was a mythical fertility figure, this image, after which a planet was named, represents our solar system.
• Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father, a passionate advocate of separation between religion and government, who would have disavowed Christian devotional scenes on state property.
• The Statue of Liberty, symbolizing freedom, and the astronaut representing the human achievements of science unfettered by religious dogma.
• Our baby girl, who was chosen partly for simple egalitarianism, and because it’s high time we adore girl children as much as boy children, and to acknowledge that humankind was birthed in Africa.