Atheist protesting a nativity scene in Florida's Capitol rotunda by erecting his own display
Atheist blogger makes a statement with "Festivus"
6:41 PM, Dec 10, 2013
7:50 AM, Dec 11, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A 1997 episode of 'Seinfeld' introduced the world to a secular alternative to Christmas with all its commercial excess.
"A Festivus for the rest of us," exclaimed the father of character George Costanza.
Instead of a lighted Christmas tree, Festivus requires only a simple aluminum pole.
Now an atheist blogger from Deerfield Beach plans to install his own Festivus Pole in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Tallahassee right alongside a traditional nativity scene.
"I kind of co-opted the Festivus pole for making the point of the ridiculousness of church and state and the ridiculousness of putting up a manger inside of the State Capitol," said Chaz Stevens.
He embellished his Festivus pole with a stack of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans for no particular reason other than to drive home his opposition to the official endorsement of any religion.
"My belief is that my government should not choose one over the other. The religious folks are trying to co-opt the government. We're going to co-opt them back."
Nativity scenes and Menorahs in government settings have sparked many skirmishes in the culture war. Adherents of Christianity and Judaism argue their observances are fundamental to our heritage and belong on public display.
Stevens believes government buildings should hold no such displays. But even Stevens is surprised state officials in Tallahassee approved his request to accept his display in the Rotunda, and concedes if he actually pulls it off Wednesday morning as scheduled, it would be no less than a Festivus Miracle.
The Chicago-based lawyer representing the anonymous donor who paid for the Tallahassee nativity scene said he believes the Festivus display is inappropriate, but legal. Thomas Brejcha added, "People can make up their own minds whether they want to mock Christmas or celebrate it."