The Floodgates Have Opened

Now that the Freedom From Religion Foundation has put up an atheist plaque in the Olympia, Washington Capitol building, guess who else wants to join them?

The emotional saga over religious displays at Washington’s state capitol grew even more bizarre today, as a controversial Kansas group requested permission to put up a sign titled “Santa Claus Will Take You to Hell.”

The Westboro Baptist Church, which spreads its virulently anti-gay message by demonstrating at funerals and high-profile events, wants the sign posted near a nativity scene and atheist sign at the capitol.

The sign claims that “God’s hate” is to blame for the weak economy, that Santa’s a child molester, and that the deaths of U.S. troops are somehow the fault of Santa.

“Holy cow,” said Steve Valandra, a spokesman for Washington’s Department of General Administration, when e-mailed the text. “I guess we’ll consider it like all the other requests.”

That’s what happens when you let anyone and everyone put their displays on public property.

Let’s say it all together now: “Thanks, Alliance Defense Fund!”

I’m all for removing the signs altogether (FFRF included) if we can keep the Capitol building religion-free as it should be.

Though by doing this, I would be denied the greatest display of them all:

Another Kansas group, the KC Free Thinkers, wants permission to put up a display celebrating a tongue-in-cheek deity named The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I apologize, Your Noodliness.

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  • Richard Wade

    I said this would happen. It will be a zoo of madness and eventually the whole thing will be shut down.

  • writerdd

    Cool. Maybe they’ll get the point. Not!

    If they would just stick to a generic holiday display they could show a festive spirit without a problem. But I guess the “war on Christmas” crowd doesn’t like that legal solution.

  • Ian

    I really like the last lady who wants this sign:

    “To the Atheist Community,” the 30-inch by 40-inch sign would read. “May all be blessed with Joy and Happiness. We share with you our Peace and Love and Kindness. The Christian Community.”

    I think I want the same sign but the key words swapped.

  • Mythee

    Aaah, no way! I totally want the FSM put up ;w; OMG THE AWESOME THAT WOULD BE. <3

    Haha, I apologize if my obvious teenage forumgoer smiley-laden language is a little out of place here, but I just had to express my fervent Pastafarianism. xD FSM FOR THE WIN!

    Actually, there are two cases that I’d dig:
    1) Nothing religious/patriotic etc. is allowed to be put up
    2) Anything and everything can be put up, allowing us to witness the birth of the awesomest display of everything humanity has to offer, ever. They should just go ahead and urge as many groups as possible to contribute their own signs until the entire place is loaded with silliness. IT WOULD BE PERFECT!

  • Richard Wade

    “Holy cow,” said Steve Valandra, a spokesman for Washington’s Department of General Administration, when e-mailed the text. “I guess we’ll consider it like all the other requests.”

    Uh oh. You shouldn’t have said “Holy Cow” Steve. Now the Temple of the Benevolent Bovine will be wanting to protest your blasphemy and to set up their own display of the Divine Dairy. Then their enemies the Brotherhood of Beefeaters will want to protest and put up their display of the Sacred Slaughterhouse, then…

  • Gabriel

    Has anyone besides Hemant pointed out that this is all thanks to the Alliance Defence Fund? They have opened it up to everything. All or none.

  • Mythee

    Richard, that would be beautiful. It brings happy sparkles of anticipation to my eyes.

    If only everything like this could be reduced to silly jests, it would be a perfect world. If people could just stop taking their beliefs seriously and just be friendly with one another, nobody would have to worry about offending anyone and causing all of these unnecessary stressful conflicts!

  • hoverFrog

    Good. The louder WBC are the more others look at them and see how crazy they are.

  • Karen

    I hope other groups decide they want to put something up also as the best way to get the Professional Christians to support the first amendment is make it obvious that it applies to everyone, not just them.

  • Sarah

    Perfect. Maybe they’ll figure it out now that if they want their views on there then everyone else gets the same right and it turns into a gong show.

  • Richard Wade

    Why are the Raelians, the Aum Shinrikyo, the Heaven’s Gate (the New Generation), the Nation of Yawheh, the Church of Euthanasia, the Creativity Movement, the Church of Maradona, the Body of Christ, the Church of the SubGenius, the Church of Satan, the Grail Movement, the Unarians, the Nuwaubianists, the Aetherius Society, the Cosmic People of Light Powers, the Order of the Solar Temple, the Dignidad Colony, the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh followers, the Gurdjieff guys, the Moonies, the Spiritists and the Voodoo Spiritual Temple not stepping up to be represented in the capitol building as well?

    (Sigh) It just doesn’t seem like a very festive holiday season. :( Where’s a screwball when you need one?

  • Susan B.

    Re: Richard Wade
    There’s already a sign up for the Invisible Pink Unicorn, but it’s invisible. :-)

    I actually think they should let WBC put the sign up. They have no less right than us to have a sign up, and maybe it will get the rest of the religious folks to finally realize that letting anyone put up holiday displays is a bad idea.

  • Adrian

    That’s awesome, finally the WBC is doing something I support! I wish it would be possible politically to put up some really loony religious displays and force the gov’t to either decide some religions aren’t valid (which is surely illegal in the US) or to shut the whole embarrassing thing down. I can’t think of many groups that are loopier than WBC and I can’t think of a better way to make the whole process a sham than to have their brand of hatred on public display next to the nativity display.

    Go Phelps you lovely, crazy wingbat!

  • Miko

    It seems to me that the real problem here is that public land is involved. But luckily, due to the vast amounts of private land available outside of the capitol building, this isn’t actually a problem.

  • miller

    I was hesitating for a moment, wondering this really a good thing. But I’ve decided that it’s a great success! It sounds like they’re getting all sorts of requests, including nonreligious responses, religious responses and even some satire. Perhaps other minorities aside from the nontheists will start weighing in as well. Kudos to the FFRF, perhaps they know what they’re doing!

    At this point, we should start asking ourselves which is better: allow everyone to put up a display, or allow no one? I mean, you could see the displays as a “zoo of madness”, but from a different perspective, you might call it a “zoo of free speech”. I think I’d be happy with either choice, really.

  • Richard Wade

    Susan B, Thank you for telling me about the IPU. That makes me feel a little more in the holiday mood. I agree, I hope WBC gets to put up their bilious billboard. For once those human hemorrhoids can be put to good use. More! More! Step right up!

    Bring me your tirade, your poor, your addled messes yearning to be freaks!

  • Aj

    Sometimes a point has to be made blunty, often times the point is made for you.

  • Adam

    Susan B says

    I actually think they should let WBC put the sign up. They have no less right than us to have a sign up,

    Except they don’t have nay right. They aren’t even from the same state. Maybe if they even had a branch of their cult there, but I don’t think they do.

  • Richard Wade

    Adam, that is an interesting point. Does a person have to be a resident of a state to put up a display in the capitol building? I wouldn’t think so, since freedom of speech is overarching the laws of the states, but with state laws it’s hard to be sure of anything.

    As for the WBC having a branch in WA, it only takes one religious rectum who agrees with their venom to qualify as a follower.

  • Erp

    Restricting the ability to put up signs to state residents (or town residents) might be consider a legit means of discriminating (much like the state can discriminate in tuition charges between in-state and out-of-state people) or it might not.

  • HP

    You know, at first I thought the FFRF message was a stupid, antagonistic message, but the more I think about this, and the more the consequences play out, I think it was brilliant.

    The point is that our government institutions are not the place for any kind of religious (or non-religious) display of any kind. By deliberately putting up an antagonistic message, I think the FFRF is trying to force the issue, and the only resolution (whether through the courts or through open arbitration) is to discourage all public displays of affiliation.

    Kudos to them. They’ve taken the heat by being deliberately provocative, and the history of American civil rights is written by people willing to be deliberately provocative and subject themselves to public vilification. By essentially being assholes, the FFRF are sacrificing themselves in the cause of secularism.

  • MH

    The WBC display will likely make the FFRF sign look like a “Season’s Greetings” card.

  • Mikayla

    Wonderful! Maybe the state will come to its senses now and stop allowing these displays at all.

    Besides, the WBC display makes the FFRF sign look all warm and fuzzy by any standard :)

  • JimboB

    I demand equal representation for Ceiling Cat!!!!

    Seriously, I would love to see a LOLcat macro in a state capitol.

  • Richard Wade

    Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor run the FFRF in Madison, Wisconsin. So there is apparently no requirement that displays may only be installed by residents of Washington state.

  • llewelly

    I said this would happen. It will be a zoo of madness and eventually the whole thing will be shut down.

    And that, was exactly Dan Barker’s plan.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Wow, I thought this was satire at first.

    This is hilarious. I’m going to petition to put a statue of Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo.

  • GullWatcher

    Wonderful! Maybe the state will come to its senses now and stop allowing these displays at all.

    Can you guys please stop blaming the state of Washington for any of this? All we wanted was a freaking holiday tree, for crimeny’s sake. That’s it, a nice tree, with lights, to brighten up the capitol during the holiday season, when we get maybe 8 hours of daylight and it’s often so dark and rainy you can hardly tell it’s daytime anyway.

    A lawsuit forced the state’s hand so they had to allow these displays. It’s not our fault, dammit. That said, I do want an FSM nativity and and Ceiling Cat display and an “axial tilt is the reason for the season” sign and yes, by all means, Mr. Hankey! We are doing the best we can with what the courts handed us, so we might as well have fun with it.

  • Mythee

    Mr.Hankey, Ceiling Cat, FSM, who else now? Charlie the Unicorn? Man, BEST CHRISTMAS EVER <33

  • Mathew Wilder

    Susan B FTW!

    And JimboB, I’m right behind you!

    So much awesomeness. I can’t wait to see where this all leads. Seriously, “Santa Claus will send you to hell.” Totally sweet, even if WBC is a bunch of inbred fucktards.

  • JenL

    I just hope this will shut down the whole display thing next year. Screw equal time…there should be NO time for anyone.

  • JSug

    Like I said last week… how effective the FFRF sign is depends on what effect you think they were trying to achieve. They successfully drummed up media attention to the fact that the state government is allowing religious holiday displays in the capitol building. Now everyone wants in on it, and we’re just beginning to get an idea of what the fallout will be. The Christians complaining about the FFRF sign haven’t seen anything yet.

    Happy holidays!!!

  • Mark C.

    “Another Kansas group, the KC Free Thinkers, wants permission to put up a display celebrating a tongue-in-cheek deity named The Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

    Our Kansas State University freethought group’s president is a member of the KC Free Thinkers. I bet she had a hand in that. 😛