It’s starting to get crowded in Florida’s Capitol rotunda as yet another “holiday” display – this one a “Festivus” pole made entirely out of beer cans – will be erected Wednesday.
“I still chuckle, I literally can’t believe there will be a pile of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in the state rotunda,” political blogger and self-described “militant Atheist” Chaz Stevens, told the Orlando Sentinel.
Festivus was made popular by the sitcom “Seinfeld as a non-commercial festival ‘for the rest of us’ in the Christmas and year-end holiday season. Festivus, celebrated Dec. 23, comes with a ceremonial post-dinner ‘airing of the grievances’ in which participants describe how they have been disappointed by others in the past year and engage in ‘feats of strength,’” the Sentinel described.
Because state officials allowed “religious symbols” in the state Capitol building, it’s now difficult, if not impossible, to not allow every and all religious organizations to set up a display.
“I’m not sure the people who manage the State Capitol fully appreciate the door that they have opened,” Howard Simon from the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said, according to Coral Springs Talk. “They’re not going to be able to say ‘no’ to the group that they don’t favor and ‘yes’ to today’s group that they obviously do favor.”
Stevens’ 6-foot tall beer can, Festivus pole will join a Nativity scene and another atheist display already in the rotunda.
The Nativity scene is what sparked Stevens’ to bring his beer can pole – similar to the one he displayed in Deerfield Beach last year – to Tallahassee: He countered the nativity scene with a Festivus pole as “my ridiculous statement versus what I consider, as an atheist, as their ridiculous statement,” the Sentinel reported.
According to Coral Springs Talk, who published the email correspondence between Stevens and Gov. Rick Scott’s office, Stevens will erect the festivus pole on Wednesday:
From: Routt, Sherrie <Sherrie.Routt@dms.myflorida.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:07:20 PM Subject: The 2013 PBR Holiday Festivus Pole
Your request to place a display in the Plaza Level Rotunda beginning December 11, 2013 through January 3, 2014 has been approved. I will email your official confirmation letter and guidelines for use of state property including instructions for access to the Capitol on Monday, December 9. You may proceed with any steps you need to ready the display for shipping, preparation to install, etc. If you will not be the onsite coordinator to setup and breakdown the display, please provide me that person’s name and contact information and I will copy them on the confirmation.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you,
Sherrie K. Routt, Administrative Assistant II Department of Management Services Phone: 850.413.9586 Fax: 850.617.6476
We Serve Those Who Serve Florida
From: Chaz Stevens [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:09 AM To: Routt, Sherrie Subject: The 2013 PBR Holiday Festivus Pole
Thank you for calling me and helping me with my application.
As requested, here is a picture of the Festivus Pole Kindly note, this version of the display in the attached pictures stands over 8” tall. However, the one that will be on display in the Capitol Building will conform to DMS guidelines — under 6 feet tall. Both occupy about a 2’x2’ area.
Kindly confirm receipt of this email.
The Seinfeld Festivus episode: