‘A’ Daley Center display for atheists and agnostics
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter December 4, 2013 8:16PM
Updated: January 6, 2014 1:13PM
“A” is for atheism and agnosticism. And that big, red, lighted display near baby Jesus in Daley Plaza is getting some attention this holiday season.
Placed between the nativity set and a giant menorah is a slanted 8-foot-tall letter “A” and two other displays, placed there by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation, said the letter is meant “to encourage atheists and agnostics to come out of the closet.”
The group tried to have the red “A” constantly lit for 24 hours but could not do so with its permit. They timed the display to be there at the beginning of Christkindlmarket.
Gaylor says she hopes the display and an accompanying sign explaining it will represent the non-religious population in the city: “We think that there should be no religion in government places, but if it’s going to be there, we will talk about the new atheism.”
Another of the group’s displays features a banner that reads “Happy Winter Solstice,” and an illustration of a manger with a copy of the Bill of Rights inside.
“We believe in separation of church and state, and so we think it’s appropriate to honor the Bill of Rights,” Gaylor said.
The foundation, which numbers 800 in Illinois, also placed signs in both Springfield and Wisconsin’s state capitols.
“We would rather not have our signs there. We don’t think religion belongs to any government property. . . . This is what we have to do,” Gaylor said.