Last winter, something strange happened in Florida.
I know, I know, that’s crazy talk. Florida? Strange?! Never. But stay with with me here…
For a time, the State Capitol Building became home to a Nativity scene, Festivus Pole, three signs from atheist groups, and an homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster:
Despite the cultural smorgasbord, Capitol officials drew the line when it came to the Satanic Temple’s proposed display, calling it “grossly offensive”:
Mind you, the display was simply a depiction of a Bible passage, just like every Nativity scene, but the state’s guidelines were so hazy that it caused a lot of confusion.
So there was a question about how officials would handle the displays this coming winter. Would they allow all groups to have displays? Would they cut them all off entirely? Would they go the illegal route and just allow Christian displays?
Turns out, after a lot of conversation, they’re not changing a thing:
No reason was given by the Department of Management Services for holding pat on the display policy.
The application process was under review earlier this year, spurred by the diverse exhibits that dotted the Capitol rotunda during the holiday season.
Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, praised the state agency decision to maintain the space as an open forum for views.
“It’s the people’s building, any Capitol is where the people gather and make their voice heard and it should stay free,” Olsen said.
The online application will be available starting Monday. The Satanic Temple is expected to apply once again.
If state officials are smart, they’ll say yes.
… so I fully expect another battle of hypocrisy this winter.
(Portions of this article were posted earlier.)