Florida Capitol Building Now Houses Nativity Scene, Festivus Pole, Atheist Signs, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Christians wanted and got a Nativity Scene in the Florida Capitol Building… and they’re getting loads of atheism-tinged displays in return.

First, there was the Festivus Pole:

You can see from the picture above that there’s also a sign from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

There are also two other signs from atheist groups:

And now, adding to all that, comes an homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

(Ben Wolf – Department of Management Services)

A desk chair with a shredded cardboard representation of its deity — an eyed blob of noodles grasping two meatballs — with a sign reading: “A closed mouth catches no noodly appendages.” — ProvHerbs 3:27,” arrived Tuesday and now joins four other holiday displays in the marble rotunda.

“The point is to show that we are a part of a pluralistic society,” [Pastafarian Amanda] Richard said. “If you’re going to have inclusion of one religion in a public space, then it encourages all the others as well.”

Ben Wolf, Department of Management Services director of communications, said as long as there is real estate in the Capitol and the display meets the guidelines for public exhibition, there is nothing stopping its placement.

And that’s not the end of it. The Satanic Temple could have a display in the Capitol before long, too :)

Which brings up the very important question: How many non-theistic displays does it take to balance out a Nativity Scene?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • $84687101

    The way they’re blocking that hallway looks like it might be a fire code violation.

    Please, Florida, you’re a lot of fun and all, but can we just go back to not having religious displays in the Capitol Building instead of all this tacky crap creating fire hazards?

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    The nativity display is the only one that appears to be an actual fire hazard itself, however!

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    I love how the atheist signs are flanking the nativity scene. 😀

  • https://soundcloud.com/eddieboydmusic flyb

    That leads me to think that the next step in these “display wars” will be lawsuits over which display gets the prime spot in the area. Can you imagine if the nativity scene gets positioned way off to the side somewhere? Christians being persecuted…

  • sam

    “How many non-theistic displays does it take to balance out a Nativity Scene?”
    I’ve crunched the numbers: it takes 7.4 non-theistic displays to balance a model nativity scene.
    For a live nativity scene, it would take 3 psychiatric wards and 2 Scientology orgs all engaged in nude chess to balance everything out.

  • rwlawoffice

    Didn’t take long for the atheists to go from trying to get balance to mocking. And you wonder why there is a negative impression of your “movement”.

  • Mick

    You little scallywag, you

  • John Lev

    Mocking? If I had a nickle for everytime I heard “A fool saith in their heart….”

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    The “negative impression” is amongst those whose opinions are not important to me. The bottom line is that this sort of “mocking” works. It sends a very powerful message, that is apparently being well received by many, many people.

    The whiners aren’t the ones who are determining the direction that secularism will take in the future. They aren’t the ones moving in droves away from religion. They aren’t the ones who will stop voting for crazy fundies who can’t separate their religion from their politics.

    These displays are doing exactly what they are intended to do, and they are doing it well.

  • Spuddie

    Because they make sourpusses like yourself annoyed using humor. Uptight theocrats don’t like it when others refuse to take them seriously. I would welcome humorous responses which don’t smack of sinister intent. But somehow dogmatic religious beliefs tends to weaken one’s funny bone.

  • Richard Thomas

    Aww. Poor guy. It’s ok, the christians still control 95% of the politicians… for now at least.

  • David McNerney

    Can we not have balance *and* mocking?

  • $84687101

    That’s the end of that thread, as far as I’m concerned.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Do you ever concern yourself with the negative impression you are causing through your comments here?

  • jpor

    No, It is my job to ridicule, offend and mock anything that has to do with ANY religion.

  • baal

    Easy, keep your craven god images off government property and we’ll do the same. Deal?

  • MNb

    American christians: please say no …. as a non-American I want to have some more fun.

  • Talia

    Oh, waah boo hoo. The entire point is to show the utter foolishness of religious display in a government building. We’d be perfectly happy if NO displays — including ours — were allowed.

  • fjpor

    you’re exacetly right, Talia.

  • MNb

    This “Christmas/Happy Holidays War” is so silly it can’t be mocked enough. You have no idea how ridiculous the christian strategy looks in non-USA eyes like mine.

  • sane37

    Can’t be any worse than through my non-religious USA eyes.

  • fjpor

    I hear that all of the time from people outside the US. Recently someone from Australia commented that they never see the religious billboards and anti-abortion signs such as strewn along our highways. And another from the UK said that religion is just not an issue and when they first came over here they just did not understand what all the fuss was about by the religious complaining about “their” rights being impinged upon and their viciousness against non-theists.

  • Cdat88

    Wow…Merry Butthurt to you too! Keep your imaginary friends out of my state capitol, and we will quick mocking you!

  • WallofSleep

    Well, if there is one thing that Lucifer can not stand, it’s being mocked.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Of course we turn to mocking. When Christians try to impinge their supernatural beliefs on me in a public forum, they don’t understand how insulting that is to me. Not that they have supernatural beliefs, but that they are trying to push those beliefs on me in a public forum. Since they won’t listen to reason, we have to use humour to get our point across.

    The main point being; no religious promotion on public lands. That’s why you have tax free churches – go do all your erection of religious monuments in an appropriate space.

  • Jeff

    Erect religious monuments……appropriate, on so many levels.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    We’re not looking for ‘balance’, we’re looking for government to stay out of religion and religion to stay out of government. I don’t care how many private displays there are. No ‘balance’ needed. Just government out of the religion business.

  • fjpor

    rwlawoffice, who fired the first salvo? It wasn’t the atheists who were perfectly satisfied with nothing in the rotunda. Place blame where it belongs

  • http://www.last.fm/user/runawayuniverse Daking Indanorf
  • guest

    Ha! And still the whiny theists don’t understand the whole church/state separation thingy. I hope that building becomes choked with more and more religious displays and someone trips over a baby Jeebus and sues the Fu#% out of the state. Either that or there will be a fire and someone will end up dieing because they couldn’t get out because of all the religious displays. Hopefully, it will be Rick Scott.

  • crden

    Yes and no. You have to understand that for non-religious people, Christians putting the symbolism of their religion in the public sphere as *the* display is exclusionary and insulting behavior. Many of us are kind of appalled that Christians feel the need to have such a blatantly religious display in Capitol buildings and on other government sites.

    The messages from atheists.org and the Tallahassee atheists fit in perfectly with why I celebrate the season, and I really, really like the Pastafarian display. The message holds true in a literal sense (Have you ever tried to eat pasta without opening your mouth?) and a metaphorical sense (If you don’t “open your mouth” to take over public space with religiously exclusive displays, then you don’t end up with Flying Spaghetti Monster displays in return.).

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Shredded cardboard stands in for actual spaghetti – I’ve eaten in restaurants like that.

  • busterggi

    Not enough sauce in the world…

  • eric

    Sadly, none of the other additions (IMO) have the artistic quality or professional craftmanship of the nativity scene. This is not the fault of the people putting them up – they are at a big disadvantage in having to make their displays, whereas christians can just go out and buy a big, high quality creche. Stil, the overall impression doesn’t say “equal” to me as much as it says “one professional display and a buch of add-ons.”
    I expect this problem will solve itself over time, with bigger (nonchristian) organizations getting involved and having the resources to build or buy more impressive displays. But still, its a bit bothersome.
    Maybe what we need is our own basic “pandenominational panorama, ” and then we invite people from all religions (and none) to add figures to it. So, a big dinner table where different groups are invited to place a figure around the table, in some gesture showing fellowship. Or a tree (which is pretty much already a generic holiday symbol) with figures placed around it dancing or holding hands. It doesn’t even have to be focused on religion. Figurines could be used to represent racial or ethnic minorities, people of different ages, gay families, etc…
    Right now the separate displays send a message of many different people speaking different messages at once; a visual cacophany. To show acceptance of plurality, ideally we want the displays to send a message of many different people ‘singing in harmony,’ so to speak. This would also send a pretty powerful message if there is one display of lots of religions and groups coming together…and look there’s the christian display, standing apart from all the others.

  • baal

    Early days and the creche looks like a jail to me.

  • busterggi

    “the artistic quality or professional craftmanship of the nativity scene”

    You probably are a Thomas Kincaid fan too.

  • Jeff

    But higher quality art among the non-theist would reduce the quality and impact of the mockery.

  • scipio1

    This. Exactly.

  • fjpor

    Well, eric, the religious side has a great deal more money to spend on their icons than do the non-theists. After when the churches require tithes from their parishioners and we don’t – and we do not have the same – read equal – non-profit rights as do religious groups, well – you can see where this is going. It’s all about money, isn’t it. Personally, I prefer ours because more thought and idealism goes into them than do the tired, lame nativity scene representing the religious fairy tale.

  • Camorris

    This would be more along the lines of what a Baha’i display would encompass (except for the gay families).

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Assuming you are impressed by the artistry of some cheap plastic or plaster figures semi-randomly assembled in the midst of a bunch of fencing supplies from the bargain bin at the local garden center.

  • David McNerney

    …all of them.

  • Richard Tingley

    Bottom line, the more groups that put up displays the better. Our government has two options in matters like this; include everyone or include no one. The only way they will learn that “include no one” is the best option is when Rick Scott has to step over a Cao Dai display that is right outside his office door.

  • Detroiter51_01

    Two white Arabs, Mary and Joseph (not Mariyah & Jubayr) had a baby in a barn that they named Jesús. Of course, Joe didn’t have sex with his wife, who was a virgin… Hahahahahahaha!!!

  • sane37

    Which means that Jesus took Mary’s virginity.
    right?

  • http://gadlaw.com gadlaw

    How many are enough? Let’s find out! It’s a wonderful thing this diversity thing.

  • fjpor

    The more the merrier. If one then all!! They are not blocking a hallway and, in fact, that is a place determined to be a free speech area and that is why all off the displays have to be placed withing a certain area. But, GusSnarp, you are right. IF the nativity display had NOT been put up then NONE of the others would have either. If people want to blame anyone then place the blame on the person or persons in the government who decided to make this a free speech area and allow the first display! That is where it started.

  • LesterBallard

    Ah, the wonderful sound of heads exploding at Fox News.

  • fjpor

    Quite appropriate I’d say

  • koseighty

    “How many non-theistic displays does it take to balance out a Nativity Scene?”

    Since the christian god is an infinite god: Infinity + 1

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    “And the Lord was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the
    mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because
    they had chariots of iron.”
    —Judges 1:19

    Doesn’t sound very infinite to me… 😉

  • Melinn2

    I think separation of state and religion should be maintained … beliefs are personal … and because they are personal should be maintained within that group or at home … I would think. Now, if we could all get together for a theme of everyone’s beliefs and/or non-belief… some where on private property … what a wonderful day that would be in my opinion. Where tolerance is shown in this season vs. you against me …

  • Pitabred

    So do atheists. But this is a great way to illustrate why.

  • katiehippie

    If only there was a place, a building perhaps, where you could gather with other people that believe the say way you do. You could use your own money to decorate it, buy books with songs. Just think of it!

  • Thiriel

    I don’t think it needs to tip the balance, I think we just need to add more ridiculousness. After a while, maybe people will stop insisting on it after the Nativity scene becomes associated with “Display of the Ridiculous!”

  • Anymouse

    I would suggest calling it the “Display of Religious Harmony” or, perhaps, the “Display of Religious Tolerance”.

  • guest

    Ha! That’s friggin awesome sauce. The tackier the better too. But it looks like all those displays take up an entire hallway? Isn’t that a fire hazard? Maybe that’s how we get these stupid religious displays out of government building. Fire codes.

  • firestarter

    Is it just me or are some of these atheism displays mean spirited and pointless? The flying spaghetti monster is meant to be a point of ridicule, the festivus pole, a Seinfeld reference. A secular tradition would be an x-mas tree or Santa, as they have no overt religious message.

    If the state invites all faiths and non-faiths to have displays, the atheists were the self-righteous asses who setup ones made to inflame and insult.

    Way to make me ashamed of the circles I travel in.

  • crden

    Honestly, while I’m not thrilled by the festivus pole, I’m *really* not thrilled by the nativity on public property. The people who put up the nativity would view a tree or Santa as support, not dissent.

    Why, in the face of an overt religious display, should people not fight back with other voices about religious views?