Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Atheist Display Attacked in Illinois

A man tried to take down an atheist sign put up at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield along with a Christmas display, a Festivus pole and other similar displays. The police did their job and protected the display.

A conservative activist and Illinois comptroller candidate was escorted from the Illinois State Capitol building Wednesday when he tried to remove a sign put up by an atheist group.

William J. Kelly announced Tuesday that he planned to take down the sign put up by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and on Wednesday, he tried to make good on his plan.

But Kelly said when he turned the sign around so it was face down, state Capitol police were quick to escort him away.

Good. This was the same sign the FFRF has tried to put up all over the country:

“At the time of the winter solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is just myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

I don’t like this display at all. I think it’s needlessly insulting and more likely to make people angry than it is to make them think. I much prefer the one put up in Arkansas by a freethought group:

“As the old year passes and a new year is born, we reflect on that which has passed and hope for a better tomorrow. May the light of reason be a beacon to a brighter future for us all.”

That display also included pictures of famous non-theists, humanists and freethinkers. I think that’s a much more effective display. But that has nothing at all to do with the legal issue here in Illinois and the silly argument made by Kelly that because he finds it insulting he therefore has a right to remove it.

But Kelly called the sign “hate speech,” and said he does not believe it is appropriate for a sign that “mocks” religion to be placed next to a Christmas tree and also near a nativity scene.

“I don’t think the State of Illinois has any business denigrating or mocking any religion,” Kelly said, “and I think that’s what the verbiage on the sign was doing.”

Kelly is rather obviously an idiot who doesn’t grasp the distinction between private speech on public property and government speech. The government has established a public forum here where members of the community can put up their own displays. Does he think the government is endorsing Christmas, Hannukah and Festivus all at the same time here? What a dolt.

“The fact that sign was immediately in front of the tree, I found that to be disturbing because any family and any child would run up to that tree with a smile on their face, and they would immediately see that sign,” Kelly said.

Ah, of course. “Won’t someone think of the children?” Because children must be protected against anything that even hints at the fact that there are people in existence who do not believe what their parents have taught them. If only you non-Christian infidel heathens would just stay in the closet where you belong and surrender your freedom of speech, the children could avoid ever having to confront the real world.