Chicago, Illinois, December 23, 2013 – In this just released video, watch as atheists and Christians clash at Daley Plaza’s Christmas Display in Chicago. Christian demonstrators had just unfurled a large banner with the words, “A is for Angels” in front of the giant letter, “A” for atheist sign.
The heckler claimed to be a “Christian activist” – GIGANTIC crucifix earrings and all. (She even had crosses on her purse). Furious, she yelled she was defending the rights of the atheists to their display, regardless of the language used on the signage to lash out practicing Christians, Jews, and people of all faiths. The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s atheist display, like most of its displays around the country, delights in mocking religious people and disparaging their faiths with hate-filled rhetoric.
“You shouldn’t be protesting the ‘A.’ Protesting the ‘A’ means you are surrendering our freedom of speech,” yelled the heckler. “Everybody should have their opportunity to speak here!”
According to the atheists – there is an exception to free speech i.e. the rights of the Christian protesters to peacefully demonstrate with their “A is for Angels” campaign.
“So you are limiting our freedom of speech!” shouted back a Christian protester.
When the heckler couldn’t figure out what to say, she argued, “I think you need to go back, go back and read the Constitution. This is the United States and you cannot abridge freedom of speech.”
Eventually, saner (and much less confused) heads prevailed and Remember America Foundation Chairman William Kelly delivered this statement:
“People don’t know what the ‘A’ stands for and when I tell them it stands for ‘atheist,’ they think it is here (at Daley Plaza) at the wrong place and the wrong time. So what we’ve decided to do here today is to do something positive and make the ‘A’ stand for angels. As Christians, especially at Christmas time, we want to have a positive message of love. We want to pray for the atheists. We want to turn their ‘A’ into an ‘A’ for angels.”
When asked if he was offended by the “A for atheist” display, Kelly responded: “I think if you actually read the text of the atheist displays, it is hate speech. The Daley Plaza/Christmas market is a place where families bring their children. They want to see a tree. They want to see a manger and then they come upon the atheist sign that says that Christianity or religion has produced nothing but war, hatred, and disease that, to me, is hate speech.”
Kelly has been involved in pushing back against the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s attacks on religious free speech before. In 2010, Capitol police detained Kelly after he turned a sign on the atheist display face down in Springfield, Illinois.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s display stated:
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 a myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.
In 2011, he filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Illinois against the display, arguing that the sign was hate speech against people of all faiths.
“I do believe in the First Amendment. In my life, I’ve had my First Amendment rights violated numerous times,” Kelly said. “But the message I’m bringing here today is that as Christians – especially at Christmas time – is that we are here to spread a message of love and that is why we want to turn their ‘A for atheist’ into an ‘A for angel.’ What we are hoping is that if we, as Christians, show our support for our atheist brothers and sisters that maybe they might be more tolerant of Christian values – not only at Christmas time but the entire year as well.”
Kelly may believe in Christmas miracles but you can bet the atheists at the Freedom from Religion Foundation do not.