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AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC. Press Release December 7, 1994 FOR RELEASE AFTER DECEMBER 9, 1994 Atheists dream of a white Christmas? Bah humbug! This time of year, they are busy celebrating the Winter Solstice. Popularly known as the "shortest day of the year," the date is used by many Atheists as a focus for a celebration of life itself. The members of American Atheists, a national Atheist organization based in Austin, Texas, celebrate the Winter Solstice with a variety of traditions, including family gather- ings, exchange of presents, or through contributions to their community. Also popular is the exchange of Winter Solstice greetings cards. A survey conducted in 1991 by the Graduate School of the City University of New York found that Atheists are 7.5-8.5 percent of the U.S. population. Year after year, American Atheist Press has found that Atheists are eager for a break from reli- gion-centered decorations and cards found in stores. The Press' 1994 Winter Solstice catalog helps nonbelievers have a thoroughly secular Solstice with a selection of cards, bumper stickers, books, and even a Solstice ornament. Jon Murray, president of American Atheists, points out that Christians are celebrating Solstice though they are not aware of doing so. "The four major astronomical events -- Winter Solstice, Summer Solstice, the Vernal Equinox, and the Autumnal Equinox -- have served as dates to celebrate life since the beginnings of our species. The Winter Solstice has been observed as Yalda by Iranians, as Hanukkah by Jews, as Saturnalia by ancient Romans, as Yule by pagans, and as Christmas by Christians. The common element in all these religious celebrations is the deification of the sun through stories involving light or the birth of a sun or savior god." American Atheists urges everyone to return to the basics of celebrating the change of seasons and the continuing cycle of life that the Equinoxes and Solstices highlight. Or as Murray puts it, "Take the day off, relax, eat, drink and be merry. Decorate your Solstice tree. Give presents to one another, even as nature gives the present and promise of 'another year around the sun' for that old ball called earth." In 1994, the Winter Solstice will occur at 9:23 P.M. EST on December 21. Contact: American Atheists, Inc., P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195. Voice: (512) 458-1244 *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: * * PO Box 140195 FTP: * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: * * Info on American Atheists:, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************


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