Atheists chalked up another win in August when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) forced the Royster Middle School in Chanute, Kansas, to remove a print of Warner Sallman's famous 1941 painting, Head of Christ. The FFRF claimed the painting, which had hung on a wall by the school entrance for more than half a century, endorsed the establishment of Christianity as an official state religion.
The school superintendent had the painting removed promptly because the atheists threatened the school district with protracted litigation that would have crippled its limited resources, materially affecting the school's ability to provide adequate educational services to the community. The portrait was bought to the FFRF's attention by a lone disgruntled individual who took a picture of it and forwarded it to the foundation. The fact that almost everyone in the town of 9,200 people and 30 churches approved of the print was inconsequential.
The portrait was hung at the middle school in1956 in memory of a student, Duane Eastburn, a 14-year-old ninth grader who collapsed in the gymnasium and died there that year. Funds for the portrait reportedly came from the Student Council's silent small budget, and a small brass plague on the frame notes that it was placed as a memorial to Duane Eastburn.
The Chanute, Kansas, incident raises a question that demands an answer, one that could be posed to every God-denying militant in the Western world. If the FFRF were required to place a plaque honoring young Duane, what would it say? Perhaps it would bear the words of the late Anne Nicol Gaylor: "There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.“
Ms Gaylor was the principle founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and her public life reflected her two passions: atheism and abortion. Among her celebrated lawsuits was Gaylor v. Reagan, contesting then President Ronald Reagan's declaration of 1983 as "The Year of the Bible.“
So what does the FFRF actually offer humanity? To Duane Eastburn and the billions of others who have passed into eternity, the organization and its atheistic fellow travelers would only have been able to say, "We have no hope." Instead of Warner Sallman's depiction of Jesus, which celebrates hope, they could only hand the morbidly hopeless, atheistic message that the here-and-now is all there is.
One wonders why, in a society tolerant of virtually every stripe of deviant behavior and bizarre conduct imaginable, would some people campaign to destroy faith? Faith poses no threat to them. In fact, true believers promote peace, tolerance, and social stability-qualities that built America and the west into the greatest societies the world has ever known. To take pleasure and a type of perverse satisfaction in forcing the removal of a memorial to a 14-year-old boy seems incomprehensible. Such actions merely confirm the grave ramifications of the contest for the hearts and minds of human beings.
This is the peak season for atheists and their ilk to gird for battle. Now is when these self-appointed warriors against God wield their swards wildly, trying to annihilate all evidence of Christian reverence and celebration. One of their primary centers of activity is the Wisconsin State Capital in Madison, where the FFRF maintains a sign declaring the commemoration of Christ's birth a contemptible delusion. The full text of the plaque reads, "At this season of the The Winter Solstice may reason prevail. 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."