Therefore, if a nativity scene pops up in a government building, there should be no reason why an atheist group can't put up a message of its own. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has famously installed signs in Washington state and Illinois. I appreciate this, but I find that the message might be a bit over the top:
At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail.Since this message is actually a protest against the nativity, I suppose it is okay, but it feels just a little ugly, a little bit spiteful and mean. With this sign, atheists surrender a portion of moral high ground. With the last phrase, hardens hearts and enslaves minds, atheists have pushed back hard. It may actually be an appropriate and legitimate response, but I believe that it is a poor tactical decision.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds
Estimates of the nonreligious population in America range from 5% to 15% - in either case, we are significantly outmatched. This fight (not just the so-called War on Christmas, but the push for legitimacy, the push for representation) will be with us for a long time. We will not gain any friends or allies from religious groups with (public) insults. At this point, I think that atheists should be advertising a more positive agenda - the sign, although I am sure we all agree with the wording, could have ended with "There is only the natural world" and then maybe a call for good cheer or charity or generosity or love or something cheerful.
In a perfect world, of course, there would be no nativities in government buildings and, therefore, no need for protest signs or lawsuits. A tasteful holiday wreath and some tinsel and lights should suffice.