YORKTOWN, N.Y., Dec. 22 (AP) - A fanciful picture of the sun with the message "American Athiests Wish You a Very Merry Winter Solstice" has joined a Christmas creche and a Hanukkah menorah on a slice of town property.

He misspelled "atheists," but Chris Morton made his point when he put up the sign Thursday, the first day of winter.

Morton won permission from Yorktown officials, who cited a freedom of speech clause in the town code. He erected the sign on a slice of lawn traditionally used for religious displays like the stable depicting Christ's birth and the Jewish menorah.

Morton has a second, similar sign in reserve in case the first is vandalized.

Winter solstice is the moment the sun appears at its southernmost point in the sky, giving the day the shortest period of daylight for people in the Northern Hemisphere. Ancient pagans celebrated the day with riotous festivals.

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