The Chicago chapter of Freedom From Religion Foundation has placed a Winter Solstice banner in the Village of Niles Plaza.
The 18”x24” banner, designed by Jake Fortin and Rimon Bar, celebrates the “nativity of our Bill of Rights and depicts the Founding Fathers reverently observing the Bill of Rights in a manger.”
The FFRF Metropolitan Chicago Chapter is posting its secular banner in an effort to offset the religious displays, like the life-size nativity scene, in the Village of Niles Plaza.
“We are very pleased that our new chapter was able to convince the Village of Niles to ‘make room at the inn’ for this creative Winter Solstice display, honoring U.S. liberties, including the vital principle of separation between state and church,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
FFRF Metropolitan Chicago Chapter President Tom Cara approached village administration in November about the possibility of adding the banner to the plaza displays.
“We just felt that since some governmental bodies have a tendency to put up religious symbols during this time of year … we just feel that in order to be representative of all people, that the non-religious symbols should be celebrated as well,” said Cara.
Cara said that the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21 is the shortest and darkest day of the year and signals the return of the sun in the Northern Hemisphere. He said that is true reason for the season being celebrated by festivals of light, gift-exchanges and feasting, and was glad town officials approved the sign.
FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with more than 19,000 members nationwide, including over 670 in Illinois. The Chicago chapter of the organization was formed May 2012, and in October, they received formal induction into the FFRF organization.