By Tim Peacock
'Tis the season to manufacture outrage over topics no one thinks about eleven months of the year. That is to say, one atheist blogger's victory in having a Festivus pole (made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans) installed at the Tallahassee, Florida Capitol seems to have the right's knickers in knots. Rather than complaining (as atheists are wont to do annually) when a state or local government features a Christmas Nativity scene on taxpayer-funded property, one man took a different approach. He figured, if you can't beat'em - join'em.
Atheist blogger Chaz Stevens submitted a request to have his own religious display included (along side other displays representing more traditional holidays like Christmas). The holiday monument - a 6-foot-tall pole to commemorate Festivus on December 23 - is part of a long-running joke that began in 1997 on an episode of Seinfeld where the characters chose not to participate in the commercialism rampant in the Christmas season. It was dubbed, "a Festivus for the rest of us."
"It's just 23 beer cans stacked 8 feet high and conveniently located 6 feet from Baby Jesus," Stevens explained to the press. "Think of how many people have died over the years to give us our freedoms. So I've got to push back a little." Stevens said. Rather than continue his annual attempts to have the Christian display removed, he had his own secular holiday's monument added to demonstrate the ridiculousness of utilizing taxpayer-funded property to highlight religious beliefs.
Reacting predictably, right wing sites' comment sections have been seething with hatred and loathing over the acceptance of the parody-pole. One Breitbart commenter even went so far as to say, "I happen to be a great great granddaughter of Capt Frederick Pabst and he would flip over in his grave if he saw his beer being exploited by a bunch of atheist punks."
The whole point of the display though - the point lost on many fundamentalist Christians (and the Oklahoma legislature, it seems) is that every religion is legally entitled to their share of taxpayer funded space no matter how much of a majority your religion constitutes.