For the third straight year, downtown Chicago’s Daley Plaza is home to a couple of 8-foot tall banners promoting separation of church and state:
The displays are sponsored by the Metropolitan Chicago chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation who have done something similar for the past two years. It all comes in response to a Catholic group’s display honoring Jesus:
The FFRF display is designed to counter what is believed to be days of round-the-clock prayer and evangelism in Daley Plaza by the Thomas More Society, a Catholic group, which has preached in the plaza every Easter since 2011. The group’s aim, through its “Divine Mercy Project,” is to seek the “conversion of Chicago, America and the whole world.”
The Catholic society has placed a 10-foot-tall painting of Jesus, which it claims was miraculously inspired, with the statement “Jesus, I trust in you.” The painting is accompanied by a 14-foot cross on the public plaza. In past years, Catholic supporters have also held 24-hour prayer vigils, distributed thousands of prayer cards and hosted anti-abortion rallies in front of the Jesus painting.
And just to hammer home the point that they’re not trying to convert anybody — rather, they’re just providing an alternative point of view in the public square — the atheists also have these “disclaimer” signs near the banners:
In 2014, the Catholic display was vandalized. It’s unclear who did it, but FFRF immediately condemned the actions.
This isn’t the FFRF Metropolitan Chicago chapter’s first foray into public advertising. For a couple of years now, they’re been putting up a giant Scarlet A display in the same plaza during Christkindlmarket.
(Large portions of this article were published earlier)