Perhaps not surprisingly, the 50-pound sign was stolen and tossed into a nearby ditch. It was later recovered and returned. Point made.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation was founded and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. The FFRF believes that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a "wall of separation" between government and religion.
For the record, the Declaration of Independence makes it abundantly clear that there is a God. The very first sentence (a humongous, confusing run-on, explanatory sentence) refers to people's equal station on the planet, entitled to them through the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." The next section (The Preamble) asserts that all men are created equal, and that "...they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."
Hmm again. "Nature's God?" "Creator?" Whaaaaat?
Even the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution curiously only states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That is all. No mention of "separation of church and state." In fact, nowhere else in our Constitution or Bill of Rights (Amendments) is that phrase uttered.
So. Clearly, the Founding Fathers believed in a Creator/God. They were not uneducated dolts. Nor were they atheists. They were smart men, and they simply wanted their new government to be free from any religous influences or interference, and to be free to worship in any way they wanted without persecution by the government. We may not be a "Christian nation" but we are one that believes in God.
But wait. Isn't the very belief in a Creator/God a form of religion in and of itself? That is an argument that can be, and often is made. My own personal opinion (and the opinion of the majority of sentient, intelligent, reasonable, rational citizens of the U.S.) is that the evidence of a Creator is strong. No, that evidence may not be scientific, but that does not disqualify it as such. You don't need to be a member of an organized religion to believe in a Creator/God.
Okay, okay. So anyway, there is this guy named Dan Barker. He's the co-president of the FFRF and husband of the group's founder. He is also a former Pentacostal Christian minister. When people objected to putting that plaque up next to the Nativity scene, this is how he replied:
"If there can be a Nativity scene saying that we're all going to hell if we don't bow down to Jesus, we should be at the table to share our views."
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Does he really believe...really believe that the mere display of a Nativity scene says that? Is this Dan Barker an idiot? Or does he just play one in sound-bites? It must be the former. Listen to what he says next!
"When people ask us, 'Why are you hateful? Why are you putting up something critical of people's holidays?' -- we respond that we kind of feel that the Christian message is the hate message. On that Nativity scene, there is this threat of internal violence if we don't submit to that master. Hate speech goes both ways."
Wow. This, from someone who was once a Christian minister? I guess if you're a hateful person, then hate is what you find when you look. That's pretty sad. More than that, one must really question the sanity of a person who would make such a remark. By spouting such bullshit, guys like Dan Barker and his FFRF do more harm than good to the cause of the unbelievers/atheists. If I were an atheist, I would go see about shutting him up and getting him some psychological help.
Bottom line: The construction of our government does not prohibit the display of a Nativity scene in a public building. It does not preclude the celebration of general holidays like Christmas. You want to display some atheist crap alongside the nativity scene? Fine. I might think you're trying to shove your views down my throat, but I won't try to stop you. Just don't be surprised if it gets stolen/vandalized by people who feel differently.
Does this mean I'm condoning what was done? Nah. What the thieves did was wrong. It's just that in the state of Washington, only about 7% of the residents identify themselves as "atheist." So in a city of 42,000 or so like Olympia, only about 3,000 would be atheists (plus some troublemaking visitors from Madison, Wisconsin). And if the other 39,000 would rather have a Nativity scene in the Legislative Building than some insulting poster saying that religion is nothing but a "myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds," then I have no problem with that.