Every year, the Winter Solstice happens in an instant, at the precise moment our hemisphere reaches its maximum tilt away from the Sun. (For inquiring minds, it’ll occur tonight at 10:27 EST.) The word for it is derived from Latin: sol for sun and sistere, which means “to cause to stand still.” The occasion is not easily perceptible, but humans have nonetheless observed it since Neolithic times – from sun gods and Stonehenge to Secular Solstice.

Although we modern freethinkers depend less on astronomical events for guidance or meaning, the Winter Solstice still offers us an opportunity to stand still, reflect on the past year, and reset for the upcoming one.

Maybe for you it’s a moment to marvel at the accomplishments of science or the vastness of the universe. Perhaps in your circle it’s an alternative to religious and/or commercialized holidays. If nothing else, I hope this year it reminds you that longer and brighter days are ahead.

This time of year is difficult for many of us. It’s one of the reasons finding and fostering secular community is such a vital part of our work at American Atheists. Today, we have over 250 active community groups across the country. I’m so proud of everything our volunteers and staff have accomplished in 2023. Our legal team won lawsuits on behalf of affiliates in Texas and Mississippi, and our State Directors and Secular Advocacy Teams worked tirelessly to track legislation and take action in their states. It gives me hope.

At the same time, it’s clear we can’t stand still for too long. There’s too much work to be done in 2024, and the responsibility to build a better world belongs to us – not to a solar deity. A Christian Nationalist is already second-in-line to the presidency, and our policy team is monitoring scores of bills that threaten to further erode the separation of church and state.

This year is coming to an end, but the threat of religious extremism isn’t waning; it’s intensifying. We need your help to defeat it and continue defending atheists and nonreligious Americans in legislatures and courts across the country. If you haven’t yet become a member, please do so by making a tax-deductible annual or recurring donation before the New Year.

From our whole team at American Atheists: Happy Solstice, and thank you for your continued support. You’re the reason we can keep fighting for another trip around the Sun.

In solidarity,

Sam McGuire
National Field Director

American Atheists is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, nonprofit educational organization that relies on the support of members like you. Contributions are tax-deductible. Our Federal Tax ID Number is 74-2466507 and our Combined Federal Campaign number is 52217.

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