Furor Erupts Over Atheist Display At State Capitol

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) ― 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, a Chicago Republican, announced Tuesday that he planned to take down the sign put up by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. 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.

Illinois Secretary of State's office spokesman Henry Haupt said Kelly was escorted from the rotunda by state Capitol police, who briefly detained him, wrote an incident report, and directed him to leave the building.

cbs2chicago.com/politics/capitol.atheist.display.2.1387754.html

He violated someone's freedom of speech. Period. I don't like what the sign said, and I think those at the Capitol who chose the placement of the sign should be spoken to about having good judgment, but I still do not agree with what the man did. If someone were to put a sheet over the nativity because they did not agree with it there should also be outrage. But as soon as you start saying the atheists can't put up their stupid signs, you have come to the day where we can't put up a Christmas tree or nativity.

The rights in the Constitution apply to everyone - like it or not, good, bad, and ugly.

Personally I think the whole thing has gotten out of hand and the Capitol would be better off just not having any religious symbols this time of year. It sounds like it's starting to look like a circus or something in there. :rolleyes:

~Liza

We had a similar problem in our state last christmas when an Atheist organization decided to put up a sign mocking religion around christmastime. Someone stole the sign, and threw it in a ditch. It was turned in later and put back up.

I am all for free speech, but putting things in a state capitol that exist solely insult the faith of others is highly inappropriate.

This type of sign has no business being displayed inside the State capitol building. If the atheists want to put up displays, then it should be on private property, not public property.

At least, that’s what they always tell us about Nativity scenes, isn’t it?

What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander. Keep your atheism inside your own home and out of the public square.

[quote="Wolseley, post:4, topic:181170"]
This type of sign has no business being displayed inside the State capitol building. If the atheists want to put up displays, then it should be on private property, not public property.

[/quote]

But why not? Don't they have the same rights to free speech that Catholics have?

At least, that's what they always tell us about Nativity scenes, isn't it?

What's fair for the goose is fair for the gander. Keep your atheism inside your own home and out of the public square.

Indeed - then we should start keeping our nativity scenes, crosses, Christmas trees, Church bells, Eucharistic processions, ........ inside, and out of sight lest we offend anyone.

Look - I agree that the sign was stupid, badly worded, and poorly placed (next to the nativity). But I don't like the slippery slope of saying that one person's beliefs must be shoved in the closet, because that comes way too close to opening up the gates for Catholic persecution. Which - by the way - I don't think is too far from happening given what the current administration is doing to this country, but that's a topic for another discussion. ;)

~Liza

lizaanne,

I think the idea isn’t that we should keep all religious items in our houses and secret. I don’t even think that the emblems should be kept out of state buildings. The issue is how the sign is worded. The message of the nativity is to celebrate a man who came to preach peace and love. Whether one believes in God or not, one can not deny that Jesus came, and came to preach about love and even tolerance in some cases. One doesn’t have to take religion from a nativity, if they don’t want to.

However, in the case of the signs popping up in state offices throughout the country, they are directly religious and highly intolerant. I think the point is that if they want to put up a sign that states the peace they feel as atheist, by all means. Or they can celebrate peace and acceptance as an atheist though a symbol in state offices. It is inappropriate, however, to put up a sign that goes out of its way to belittle others’ beliefs. This includes the “darwin fish” which is designed to belittle an ancient christian symbol.

They are welcome to their free speech. They are free to represent their beliefs in a state building. They aren’t welcome, however, to put up hate speech in response to a nativity.

Good grief, have the heathens really nothing better to do in their spare time then demean the faith of others? Is their mindset that steeped in negativity that they can’t possibly contribute in any positive manner?

I mean seriously, what good does it serve to attempt to provoke a conflict like this? And always at Christmas time. These kinds of signs are from the psychological profile of some bitter child who’s been nursing a grudge against mommy and daddy ever since he or she found out the truth about Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, etc. and can’t let it go. You don’t see this **** in the middle of July.

But why not? Don’t they have the same rights to free speech that Catholics have?

The 10 commandments have been banned from government buildings. Were catholics allowed to put up anything at that state capitol?

Did you read the article? The sign was next to the nativity.

~Liza

I work in an office building right across the street from this capitol. If there's a "furor" erupting over this "atheist" display I sure haven't seen any sign of it! No one has made an issue of it except this one politicial candidate who did so purely as a publicity stunt.

The same nativity scene and an atheist sign (along with a "Festivus" pole erected as a joke by a local teenager) were placed in the same spot last year. I don't think all that many people will see it, since the legislature is not in session and there are no school field trips, political rallies/marches, etc. going on this time of year.

The Secretary of State is in charge of the capitol grounds and when he was asked to permit the nativity display he said yes, provided all faiths were allowed equal access; and as a result, the atheist group demanded equal time. Personally I think the whole exercise is pointless and there are much better ways to try to keep Christ in Christmas.

[quote="Secret_Square, post:10, topic:181170"]
Personally I think the whole exercise is pointless and there are much better ways to try to keep Christ in Christmas.

[/quote]

I totally agree. :thumbsup:

~Liza

[quote="lizaanne, post:9, topic:181170"]
Did you read the article? The sign was next to the nativity.

~Liza

[/quote]

It makes a mockery of the nativity scene. You better believe muslims would be annoyed if the sign was right next to a sign commemorating Ramadan. Why do some Christians let the enemy walk all over us? We have to at least stick up for what is right. Atheism isn't a religion. It's lack of religious belief.

That’s actually a running plan now with some groups. If the Ten Commandments or a Creche go up, they try to get the symbols of other faith groups ( or non-faith groups? :shrug: ) up as well. This way with the Conservatives complain and get them taken down you can take there stuff down as well. This makes it a win-win for those groups.

And if that sign was put near the Hanukkah menorah display. The people who put the sign there would have been called racist and The man would have been labled a hero for taking the sign down. What i dont get is that they are upset cause we are saying they will go to hell for not believing in God. But they don’t believe in God. Why are they so upset about people saying that when they die they are going to a place they don’t believe in? It would be like a christian getting upset cause pokemon followers say we’re going to hell because we don’t believe pokemon are real.These people have self inflated egos. the problem is their form of belief leaves them impotent on the world stage. So they throw these little temper tantrums as a way of being noticed. I don’t understand why they are so peeved off at christians. Its not us who are too stupid and or too scared to see the truth. Maybe its jealousy. They see christians as stupid. Yet we make the decisions. While they are nothing but…well nothing of importance.

LOL@ festivus pole… Funniest sienfeld episode ever. I still crack up when ever i watch that episode.

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