Press release: Holiday capitol sign

Contact: Jerry Schiffelbein
Seattle Atheists
P.O. Box 283, Seattle, WA 98111-0283
(206) 826-0770


Seattle, WA, Dec. 5 2009 — Seattle Atheists has applied for a permit to display a sign on the state capitol grounds from Dec. 12 to Dec. 29, 2009. The sign will read:  “In this holiday season let us remember that kindness, charity and goodwill transcend belief, creed or religion. Happy Holidays, Seattle Atheists”

Last year, the Wisconsin organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), displayed a sign in the capitol rotunda which read, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Seattle Atheists shares many opinions with the FFRF regarding the separation of church and state, and about the harm that can be done in the cause of religious belief. However, we feel that the message was needlessly provocative and inappropriate for the context of the capitol rotunda.

We feel that it is appropriate for a local organization, rather than a national organization, to have a voice in this matter in the form of our own display. We place a high value on the separation of church and state, and supported the removal of all private displays from the capitol rotunda, religious or not. We feel that the approval of religious displays gives the appearance of state sponsorship. Additionally, the state decides which displays are appropriate and which are not, which can be interpreted as an infringement on the free exercise of religion.

Seattle Atheists felt that a seasonal gesture of goodwill and equality would be more appropriate, while serving as a reminder that the wall of separation between church and state is a critical doctrine which serves to protect the rights of citizens to practice any religion they choose, or none at all.

Seattle Atheists is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to serving the atheist community in the Seattle area. We strive to promote understanding and respect toward all freethinkers by providing information, creating a sense of fellowship, actively opposing discrimination, and above all, emphasizing reason, critical thinking over supernaturalism, and the separation of church and state.

Jerry Schiffelbein, Seattle Atheists, (206) 826-0770,

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