December marks key religious holidays for religious groups in America, particularly with the Christian celebration known as "Christmas."
A growing segment of Americans, however, do not embrace religion. Surveys indicate that nearly 15% of us embrace "no religion." Within this category (known as "the seculars") are Millions of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and others. They are increasingly visible, especially over the debate dubbed "the war on Christmas." There are now over 270 billboards throughout the country carrying messages like "It's OK to not believe," and "Be Good for Goodness Sake."
Many of these nonbelievers celebrate a remarkable natural event -- the Winter Solstice, that time of the year when the sun reaches its lowest point in the annual journey across the sky as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The 2009 Solstice occurs on Monday, December 21. Long before the alleged birth of Jesus Christ, humans observed the Summer and Winter Solstices as markers in the routine of daily life.
Many nonbelievers enjoy parties with friend and family, giving gifts, even putting up decorations -- including Solstice trees -- to mark this event. Madalyn Murray O'Hair, founder of American Atheists, called for the recognition of Solstice and Equinox as "natural holidays" uniting all of humanity, an alternative to the disputatious religious
celebrations of competing faiths.