Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, said the 8-foot-tall letter "A," located near the nativity scene and Hanukkah menorah in Daley Plaza, is meant "to encourage atheists and agnostics to come out of the closet," the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday.
"We think that there should be no religion in government places, but if it's going to be there, we will talk about the new atheism," Gaylor said.
Gaylor said the group also has displays in Springfield, Ill., and the Wisconsin state capital, Madison, timed to coincide with holiday displays.
"We would rather not have our signs there. We don't think religion belongs to any government property. ... This is what we have to do," Gaylor said.