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Article updated: 12/28/2013 10:33 PM

Anti-religion sign vandalized in Arlington Heights park

By Jessica Cilella

A sign on display in an Arlington Heights park that expresses views against religion has been vandalized, according to authorities.

For a second year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation installed a sign in North School Park in response to a Nativity scene set up in the same location and is part of the Arlington Heights Park District. The sign reads, in part, "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

Police said the sign was reported vandalized on Dec. 24. It is believed someone kicked the sign sometime between 4 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, causing an tear near the center.

Tom Cara, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation's Metropolitan Chicago Chapter, said no damage was done to the sign when it was on display in the park last year.

"I was surprised," he said of this year's vandalism. "I like to think the Chicago metropolitan area is a very diverse community and very tolerant and very accepting of different viewpoints."

Cara said, however, he realizes the religious display coupled with the organization's sign creates a "divisive and emotional" issue.

"This is why we don't believe this type of debate should take place on public property," he said.

The sign, Cara said, which has been on display since Nov. 30, will not be replaced because it was already scheduled to be taken down on Sunday. The foundation plans to have a new sign ready to place in the park next year if the Nativity scene is displayed again.

"We're only there because the religious symbols are there," Cara said.

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