FFRF again erects irreverent Nativity scene in Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda

For the second year in a row, atheists in Wisconsin have set up their own version of the traditional Christian creche in the Capitol Rotunda.

Like typical depictions of the Christian Nativity scene, the “natural nativity scene” displays a small child in a manger surrounded by wisemen. However, this display proclaims “the reason for the season” is the Winter Solstice and the wisemen are not strictly men — Emma Goldman, the goddess Venus and the Statue of Liberty stand beside Charlies Darwin, Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson. The baby Jesus has been replaced with a baby girl.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation set up the atheist creche last year after the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action placed a Nativity scene in the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda for the first time.

“We nonbelievers don’t mind sharing the season with Christians, but we think there should be some acknowledgment that the Christians really ‘stole’ the trimmings of Christmas, and the sun-god myths, from pagans,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement.
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In a certain sense, the Church did "steal" the idea from the pagans, as Christians have "baptized" many pagan practices to assist people in believing in Truth.  Christ was not born on December 25, but that doesn't mean He is not the Light of the World.  My question is that if atheism is so great, why can't they come up with their own holidays?  This tiny little word has no palette or paint.  They do not "pro-create."  Like Melkor in the Simarillion, they want the world to themselves, but wouldn't know what to do with it if they had it. 


Cassandra said...

No Badger, it's an error to concede to atheists that Christmas is just a baptized pagan celebration.

There are solid Catholic theological explanations for why Christmas is celebrated in December. First, the solstice was the pagan celebration of the natural return of light to the world. God uses that natural sign to point to the greater reality of the appearance of the true Light in the world. God condescends to human and natural signs to teach greater spiritual realities. Aquinas also points out that by being born in winter, Jesus begins to suffer immmediately for the world.

Just as importantly is that a December birth comes naturally from a March annunciation. The celebration of that is older than the celebration of Christmas. There was a Jewish tradition of the prophets dying on the same day they were conceived. While God was not bound by that human tradition, he used it as one more sign that Jesus was his true Prophet. Conceived and ultimately sacrificed on Good Friday.

Don't be so ready to let atheists command the field of discussion.

Anonymous said...

"If there were no God, there would be no atheists". - G.K. Chesterton

Badger Catholic said...

.... Casandra, I don't think you got what I was saying..... If Jesus was or was not born on December 25 does not prove or disprove whether He exists or whether He is God or not. The Church may have chosen an appropriate time to celebrate this feast even if it was not the historical day of Christs birth. I'm not conceding a point, the history of the Church is one of integration into culture not the murder of it. Halloween is another example, there's nothing "wrong" with this practice if that's what you are saying.

Anonymous said...

Ah the December 25th thing again, you can probably google a nice article on it but the gist of it is that the Church did make an honest effort to figure the real date of Christmas. For a variety of reasons the date of Good Friday was seen by the early church to coincide with the date of the Annunciation (March 25) go 9 months later, Christmas. The Roman festival of the Unconquered Sun is not even recorded as being celebrated until the 200s AD and was possibly instituted to compete with the rising popularity of Christmas! Some claim that with Dec. 21st being the shortest day o the year, and Dec. 25th being the day the ancients could first notice a (small) increase in sung light in this dark time is further proof of pagan origins, on the other hand, why would not the God of creation have a universe that would reflect his grand plan?

As for all of the above, Christmas is a federal holiday. I don't see a problem with public displays relating to that holiday being set up. It would be weird if someone demeaned to fly British flags on July 4th hang up posters promoting the Julian calendar on New Years day or demand past Secretaries of the Interior be recognized on President's Day. If atheists want a federal holiday they are free to work towards one via the legislative process.

Cheryl said...

A few musings regarding FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor statements.

If they "don't mind sharing," why then the derogatory representation against that which they 'don't mind?'

And, why does their (FFRF's) display not represent THEIR belief - those "trimmings of Christmas" that Christians "stole?" What does a 'nativity' have to do with those beliefs?
After all, Christians put up displays centered on their faith - their OWN Christian faith. Let's see a FFRF display representing THEIR OWN faith. If they think the pagans had it right, put up a pagan sun-god display. But, that would probably irritate those non-pagan FFRF people.

So, what to do? Maybe actually realize that putting up ANY kind of display contradicts their stated purpose: to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church...

Which means, their 'display' really shouldn't be any more than a BLANK board.

Elizabeth D said...


After reading about this here, I went there myself today and blogged it! I was encouraged and heartened by what I actually found at the Capitol... including a huge Christmas Tree, clearly labeled as such, that Governor Walker lit this morning.