MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An atheists’ group has countered a nativity scene in the state Capitol with one depicting Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation installed its display Wednesday. It comes a few days after the conservative group Wisconsin Family Action put up a display depicting the birth of Jesus Christ.

Both groups have been granted permits by the state Department of Administration.

Annie Laurie Gaylor is president of the atheists’ group. She says there shouldn’t be any religious displays in the rotunda, but if other displays are allowed then her group will have one too.

Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action says there’s room for a number of different voices. She says she hopes people come to the Capitol to enjoy the expression of Christmas messages on display there.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (74)
  1. Dev says:

    I want to know all Gods thoughts; all the rest are just details.

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

    That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

    When the solution is simple, God is answering.

    All Albert Eistein quotes. Atheists are blind and quite stupid.

    1. djp says:


    2. markH says:

      In a letter to a friend, reprinted in Einstein’s memoirs 24 March 1954: “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” Albert Einstein

      Einstein was, if anything, a pantheist. He believed that the only “god” that exists is nature itself. Stop trying to paint these brilliant minds as theists-it only makes you appear desperate. Peace.

    3. Ghosts God and Goblins says:

      Take yer pick. All as real as the other. Magical cargo cults.

  2. Ha! says:

    God may be in the details. Like when you accidently call 911 while trying to fence your stolen loot.

  3. Balanced Beam says:

    I think it’s a bit odd that atheists only seem compelled to counter displays of Christianity. Where were they when folks display Jewish, Muslim, and other non-Christian symbols?

    1. Emil Durkheim says:

      I don’t remember the Muslims hoisting a green crescent over the statehouse during the last Eid el Fitr, do you, Balanced? Didn’t think so. Is someone trying to build a giant menorah in front of City Hall? No,? Imagine my surprise. I think the reason some folks get up in arms about Christianity in this context is because Christians are the most blatantly open about it.

      1. Balanced Beam says:

        Big E, take your time and reread my note. It had nothing to do with venue (or context). There are private, semi-public, and public displays of other faiths everywhere, and yet I cannot recall ever seeing atheists pitching their views in the face of those displays. I suspect you raise the context point because otherwise you have no counterargument.

        Atheism is pretty silly,especially in the face of the benign. If one disagrees with the position taken in the name of Christianity, oppose the position, not that someone else takes the position based on a religious belief. Was anyone compelling non-believers to go to the Capitol and pay homage? No. Of course not.

        Our atheist friends are like junior high classmates who feel compelled to tell you “Zeppelin sucks!” when you show up at school in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt. Pretty sad.

        1. dude says:

          You obviously don’t know athiesm. I wouldn’t have done what this particular group did, just silenty object.

          1. Balanced Beam says:

            Good point. I am referring to the atheist “extremists.” 🙂

          2. markH says:

            Yeah, because silent objection doesn’t lead to things like September 11th 2001, suicide bombings, religious warfare in Ireland, the Jewish objection to a Palestinian state because “God” has already promised them the land, child deaths from parents who try to pray their child back to health, and countless other examples. No, I applaud the Freedom From Religion Foundation for having the chips to actually point out the foolishness of these practices and keep the forces of theocracy in our democratic system at bay. And, in so doing, it protects everyone’s right to believe as they choose. Peace.

        2. Superchik1017 says:

          If that’s the case, then your comment is out of context, Balanced. This article is about religious symbols on government property. Emil is making a good point. The only reason this group is protesting the nativity scene is because it is on government property. Religion has no place in government. The reason the athiests aren’t protesting other religious symbols is because other religions do not feel the need to display their religious symbols on government property but Christians do, and then they get all huffy about it when they’re asked to take them down.

          1. Ellen says:

            religion has everything to do with government, haven’t you looked at our money? “in God we trust” is everywhere. this country was built on religion. look at the pledge of allegiance as another example “one nation under God” those are just a few examples.

            1. kim says:

              Except the US was not founded as a christian nation – it was founded to be religion neutral. How else could the baptists, catholics, etc. live without persecution?
              Besides, Washington was a mason. As were other founding fathers. Jefferson rewrote the bible to remove most of the ‘magic’ parts. It used to be required reading for Supreme Court justices. And under god was added to the pledge in the 50s as part of the communist scare and cold war.
              In god we trust doesn’t specify which god. What if I want to assert it refers to Zeus?

            2. Superchik1017 says:

              It doesn’t specify which “God” this nation is under. Is the the God of the jews, God of the Catholics, of Allah? It is meant to describe whichever (if any) deity you personally believe in. It doesn’t mean Jesus, Mary, and Joseph should be displayed on government property. It’s like putting a scene of Darwin reading “On the Origin of Species” infront of a church!

        3. markH says:

          Personally, I prefer (and have every right) to oppose the doctrines and teachings of Christianity whenever and where ever I choose. It is a false belief system that relies on the indoctrination of innocent children to propagate and spread its ideas. Those who value reason and critical thinking have a duty to investigate and criticize religions (including Christianity) and expose false claims, abuses of power over those who are too young or ignorant to reason properly. As far as Christianity is concerned, the idea that we can all achieve immortality by believing that a half man, half god was killed for us (for offenses that are ill-defined and for which we were not even alive) to absolve us of wrongdoing if we only believe is simply insane. Which is why I tell children that there is no more reason to believe this nonsense than to believe in Santa Claus. Peace.

          1. The REAL, real Jake says:

            So your saying Santa isn’t real? LIAR!! I just talked to him at the mall! and I found out he likes Bourbon. markH you need to get your facts straight and get to the mall becasue seeing is believing and all rational people only believe in what they can see.

      2. freedom of religion says:

        Do any of these people remember just who it was that sailed from England to settle this country to have freedom of their Christian based religion? It sure wasn’t any one else. Maybe atheists should move from the United States of America. Rant that rhetoric in a taliban state, and see how long you survive.

        1. jackactionhero says:

          Yes, but apparently you don’t.

          Also, whoever “settled” this land, did so with hands covered in the blood of the indigenous people who inhabited it first.

        2. kim says:

          Yea, except atheist and agnostics did come and help settle the country. They wanted to go somewhere where the government didn’t control the religion and force them to belong.

          1. The REAL, real Jake says:

            But still killed indigenous people like the Christians.

        3. MN Athiest says:

          Your chosen screen name and your comment are in direct conflict. Freedom of religion means you can practice as you choose…or not. That was what America is about. It is about being different and getting along anyways. Seems like you want the christian version of a “taliban” state here. I think what you meant was a sharia law state…

    2. me says:

      They don’t protest Muslim displays because they don’t want to be beheaded or otherwise killed – very simple…

    3. rottdogge says:

      It’s in vogue to kick Christians around these days, make no mistake.

      1. kim says:

        yes, the poor persecuted majority. Hard to give up your priviledge and have to be on an even footing with other religions and non-religions, isn’t it?

        1. Anti-Kim says:

          “Even” footing? Atheists constantly cry for the complete dissolution of Christianity from all public life. They don’t want to hear a word about it or see it in any form. How Iranian and Muslim of them, by the way. Ever think YOU’D have something i common with known, violent terrorists? P.S. Thanks for admitting to your bullying and persecuting.

          1. Superchik1017 says:

            Not from public life – just government. You can have Jesus, Mary and Joseph displated on your front laws just not at the capital building. How is this “Iranian and Muslim” of them? I hate to break it to you, but there are known terrorists who murder people in the name of Christianity.

  4. Al says:

    …………………..and I am going to hold my breath until I get my way!! Misfits!!

  5. dev says:

    I’m OK they stay as long as they just shut up.

    1. Jim says:

      dev, in this country we have the right to freedom of speech. They can stay and they don’t have to shut up. Welcome to America, you’re going to hate it here.

  6. Crazy Joe says:

    Dale your one misguided dipchit

  7. Troy D Teske says:

    “One Nation Under God” was added during the cold war, in 1954 to be specific, and wasn’t contested enough because people were afraid to. “In God We Trust” was adopted as the nation’s motto two years later. So, if you’re really worried about people destroying our country by not including religious mottoes, why don’t you blame the founding fathers? Now, you’ve leveled a pretty serious charge at the atheists (treason) – have any evidence to back it up? Or any reason to think that a group that doesn’t believe in any god would have you pray to Mecca, of all things? Could you be a Poe?

  8. christianity is bogus says:

    It’s disturbing how christians are conveniently ignorant of the fact that christianity is the MOST murderous organization in human history.

    NOBODY has murdered more people than the christians throughout history and they’re all completely obtuse to this basic fact. Peace and love indeed.

    1. Redneck Purist says:

      Are you mental? Atheistic communism has the murder record by far. And that’s just in the last hundred years. Sorry about your coma. I hope you come out of it soon.

      1. MARK says:

        Religion kills more people than cancer, and we try to cure cancer.

      2. MN Athiest says:

        If you are refering to Stalin. He killed about 7 million people total. I think the christians have hime beat, although it is hard to find a solid number. I have read from 200,000 (religious site) to 800,000,000 (anti-religion site). So even if you are very conservative, more than 7 million would be easy to get to.

        1. Dale Gribble says:

          Hitler was an atheist and atheists are no better than Hitler.

          1. MN Athiest says:

            Adolf Hitler’s religious views are a matter of dispute. Raised by a skeptic father and a Catholic mother, Adolf Hitler ceased to participate in the Sacraments after childhood. In his book Mein Kampf and in public speeches he often made statements which affirmed a belief in Christianity. Prior to World War II Hitler had promoted a “positive Christianity” purged of Judaism and instilled with Nazi philosophy. According to the controversial collection of transcripts edited by Martin Bormann, titled Hitler’s Table Talk, as well as the testimony of some intimates, Hitler had privately negative views of Christianity. Others reported he was a committed believer

            1. Dale Gribble says:

              Nazism is Communism. Communists are Atheists. Hitler was a Nazi, so he was also an Atheists. Atheists are the biggest mass murderers of all time.

              1. Tom says:

                @ Dale Gribble

                You are clearly a social conservatives and clearly nuts!

                1. MARK says:

                  I’m pretty sure Dale is pulling our leg. If I had to bet cold hard cash, I’d say Dale is a liberal trying to make conservatives look bad by posting craziness. And frankly, he’s doing a great job.

              2. jackactionhero says:


                There were two major parties in Germany in 1933. The communist extremists and the Nazi extremists.

            2. Kansas Girl says:

              Well, Hitler sure authorized the killing of a lot of Catholic priests at Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

            3. The REAL, real Jake says:

              Hitler was a political opportunist first and always and would eradicate anything that stood in the way of National Socialism as he saw it and say anything that would benefit it at the moment. Please keep this in mind when you cite sources from the era such as Table Talk. National Socialism has no room for religion in its application because theist dogma runs in opposition to it as a society’s moral base. That is not to say that the party doesn’t recognize the opportunity to attach its themes for their own use much like it did in the then legitimate science of eugenics. Again, the party using something other than politics itself to justify its position.

          2. kate says:

            Hitler was believer. He wanted to exterminate athiests also.

    2. rottdogge says:

      No, Christianity is not a murderous organization…Catholicism is the sect of Christianity with the history of ungodly deeds.. Historically, the two have been regarded as one and the same, and they are actually very, very different.

    3. The REAL, real Jake says:

      Actually your incorrect, the last 150 years has been the most violent in recorded human history and it was largely motivated on political/ economic motives and ideologies and very little to do with theist dogma. For the casual reade,r may I suggest Nial Ferguson’s(sp?) War of the World ;The 20 century and the Decline of the West as a narrative.

  9. Wearejustasstupidastheyare says:

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE and you will never catch me saying Happy Holidays if I offend you to bad go some place else.

    1. The Truth says:

      Yes, because true Christians don’t care who they offend.

  10. MN Athiest says:

    I have no problem with christians. I do have a problem when our government imposes a national “motto” that only includes one group. I also have a problem with a pledge of allegiance that contradicts itself. We can’t be one nation under god and indivisible at the same time. We are not all believers of the same god, or even believers at all. And this issue is obviously divisive if you look at the previous posts. This nation was not founded on religous principle. Yes, some or most of the founders were christians. But they were trying to break free from religious persecution and wanted to set up a nation where it didn’t matter what you believe. This is my nation too, and I love her. So don’t you dare spit in my face because I don’t believe your fairy tales.

    1. Jim says:

      One of this country’s “most sacred foundations” is the separation of church and state. If you don’t like that, there are plenty of countries that are theocracies, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Check ’em out, Dale!

      1. ROFL says:

        Wow. Everything must be pretty in your world, Jim. You just wish something to be true and IT IS! I think you’ve been playing with that unicorn horn just a liiiiittle too much.

    2. MN Athiest says:

      Actually Dale, you do. This country was founded on FREEDOM. But I guess maybe there is no point arguing with someone who is so blinded by faith that he fails to realize there are other viewpoints in this world. I served my country for 11 years in the military. I continue to serve my state and community as a cop. I am no traitor sir. I fight every day to ensure the safety and security of this place WE call home. I accept you. But you can’t accept me?

      1. Dale Gribble says:

        If you’re a police officer, you are an agent of the socialist DFL agenda. You uphold the “rights” of Muslim Somalis who are the agents of the UN here to destroy our sacred freedoms. Enjoy your 30 pieces of silver, comrade.

        1. MN Athiest says:

          Hmmm…..OK whatever you say. Hope you never need a cop…

          1. Your Boss says:

            I sure hope you’re on a break when your mucking around this website.

            1. MN Athiest says:

              Ha! Ya like I work 24/7 adn am NEVER off duty…

        2. MN Athiest says:

          …and I don’t care much for the somalis either. We have some common ground.

      2. rottdogge says:

        Don’t worry, your efforts are always appreciated, no matter what you or anyone else believes. Believers like myself understand all sides of the issue. And as I’ve said, it is not the non-believers who are coming under scrutiny in this generation, so calm down…’s us nutty Christians, believe me. Christ said that in the end times, we would be hated for his sake, and nothing could be more true. But, it’s all good…..

    3. Balanced Beam says:

      MN Atheist will be pretty ticked off when he or she moves to a house by the airport and then has airplanes flying over his house.

    4. Laughing At Dale says:

      Are you the result of inbreeding because you certainly sound like it.

      1. Ha! says:

        You need to check out Dale’s name, understand the context of the “character” and then be annoyed at his comments. Or appreciate the fact that he can be consistent with it.

        1. MN Athiest says:

          Ah. Funny. Well at least it’s funny if he is just playing the part. Had me going tho!

    5. rottdogge says:

      “I have no problem with Christians”….really? Having to resort to calling us believers in fairy tales sounds a bit antagonistic to me. Who is spitting in your face? If you feel persecuted here, you’re delusional. If you don’t believe in God, go to a place like Iraq if you want persecution. I have no problem with atheists, actually. Believe what you want. I have told a lot of atheists that their thoughts are compelling. But this was a Judeo-Christian nation whether you like it or not….but don’t worry…..aggressive Christ-haters are taking care of that.

    6. Jack Parker says:

      MN Atheist: “So don’t you dare spit in my face because I don’t believe your fairy tales.”

      How hypocritical of you. Then perhaps you shouldn’t spit on other people for their beliefs, MN Atheist. Hi Kettle? This is the Pot. You’re black! (Afraid to sign your posts with your real name in case your boss finds out and you get suspended?)

  11. ang says:

    I’m tired of the very small percentage of citizens of this country who are offended by this being catered to. If they have a problem with it they can go to a country where they don’t believe in God. If they don’t like it don’t look at it. If it ever becomes illegal to have this stuff in our own homes and on our own lawns then I guess I will go to jail because I refuse to let these people decide what is and is not ok!!

    1. jackactionhero says:

      So why doesn’t the government establish a national religion, ang? Can you answer that?

  12. rottdogge says:

    The Bible says, “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God”……….there is no footnote to exclude the ingenius. Albert Einstein could convince me of many things, but not the non-existence of God. Science is great, but it cannot prove or disprove that which it can’t see and measure.

    I had to agree in a certain way with an Agnostic bumper sticker that said, “you don’t know and neither do I” Fair enough, because it’s true….except that believing in the unseen, something even science can’t meddle with, is called faith. A lot of people think faith is stupid, but they generally change their minds around the time the reaper shows up….the thought of eternal void, with no hope, no promise of at last knowing the truth of our being, no eternal conciousness, etc., suddenly seems a bit scary. The living talk big now, but just wait….

  13. Paul says:

    Does it really matter what objects are put on display. Two groups arguing back and forth, it seems like if that passion was used to help others instead of bickering back and forth, imagine the results. People talk about kids now days but look how adults act, bickering back & forth over what should be on display. Freewill is being able to believe in what you want and do what you want. Noone has a right to judge anyone else.

  14. Jack Parker says:

    I posted this above but I really want MN Atheist to see it.

    MN Atheist: “So don’t you dare spit in my face because I don’t believe your fairy tales.”

    How hypocritical of you. Then perhaps you shouldn’t spit on other people for their beliefs, MN Atheist. Hi Kettle? This is the Pot. You’re black! (What’s wrong? Afraid to sign your posts with your real name in case your boss finds out and you get suspended?)

    1. MN Atheist says:

      Calling your belief or faith a fairly tale is not spitting in your face. Calling me evil, calling me lost, calling me a degenerate of society, telling me that I should leave America, and all the other insults that are thrown my way is spitting in my face. I do not say to you that you are stupid for believing. I accept it. You are different than me, but probably only in that one respect. I love my family, I enjoy giving…all of the things that make you feel good do the same for me. I just don’t pray to a god. My wife is a christian and I accept her, although she sometimes has a hard time with me. If I offended you by calling your stories fairy tales I am sorry. But that is how I see some of the stories, because they are so far fetched, ie the flood.

    2. MN Atheist says:

      Oh and why would I get suspended? Because I am an atheist? Maybe I could consider that another insult. I guess I am not deserving of a job.

      Sorry it took me a while to respond. Every time I tried WCCO would error out. Maybe that’s a sign… 🙂

  15. Courteney says:

    I don’t care what other people’s religious beliefs are. However, religion needs to stay away from government and politics. Why is that so hard for people to understand and follow?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Watch & Listen LIVE