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Reward Offered After Vandals Slash Winter Solstice Banner In Shelton

Jerry Bloom put up a banner celebrating the Winter Solstice on the Huntington Green in Shelton. It was recently slashed by vandals and has been taken down.
Jerry Bloom put up a banner celebrating the Winter Solstice on the Huntington Green in Shelton. It was recently slashed by vandals and has been taken down. Photo Credit: Freedom From Religion Foundation
Several signs of the holiday season remained on Huntington Green Thursday.
Several signs of the holiday season remained on Huntington Green Thursday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Several signs of the holiday season remained on Huntington Green Thursday.
Several signs of the holiday season remained on Huntington Green Thursday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Several signs of the holiday season remained on Huntington Green Thursday.
Several signs of the holiday season remained on Huntington Green Thursday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

SHELTON, Conn. -- A free-thought, anti-religion group is offering a $1,500 reward after its banner celebrating the winter solstice was vandalized on Huntington Green in Shelton.

Jerry Bloom, a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, with the help of John Levin and Cary Shaw, recently put up the winter solstice banner in response to a nativity scene on the green. The banner was slashed a couple of days before Christmas, according to the foundation.

The banner carried the foundation's message, by its principal founder Anne Nicol Gaylor, which was written as an equal-time challenge to religious displays in governmental places.

The banner read: "At this season of 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."

Gaylor, co-president of the group, denounced the vandalism.

“This disgraceful expression of intolerance toward dissenting ideas proves the government can’t successfully host a true public forum on religious views in December,” she said. “Shelton’s Huntington Park isn’t safe for minority viewpoints.”

Gaylor urged the city of Shelton to shut down the “forum” next year.

"We'd prefer to keep public parks and government buildings free from religious divisiveness," says foundation Co-President Dan Barker. "But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, there must be 'room at the inn' for all points of view, including irreverence and freethought."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nontheistic organization with 25,000 members all over the country, including 200-plus in Connecticut.

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