January 2020 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

Secular groups took advantage of an open forum policy to display several messages in the rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines last month.

After a Christmas tree was erected in the rotunda, the area around it was opened up to private groups for displays. Hemant Mehta of the “Friendly Atheist” blog reported that seven of the eight available slots for displays were claimed by secular groups.

Mehta reported that Justin Scott, the state director for Iowa for American Atheists, pulled together several secular groups in the state to offer displays.

“These displays represent a wide swath of Iowa: atheist and humanist, college-aged to the more experienced in life, queer and straight, transgender and/or nonbinary, Iowans of all backgrounds, races and socio-economic status, as well as from various parts of Iowa,” Scott said.

The displays included a sign from American Atheists that read “This season, no matter what you celebrate or why, Happy Holidays! – Your atheist neighbors.” Another sign from Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers said: “Joy to the world, reason has come!”