Florida atheist Chaz Stevens said that he knows his beer can Festivus pole he put up at the Tallahassee Capital building is no looker, but it is not supposed to be.
Instead, he intends it to make the point that all holiday decorations are ridiculous.
“I thought one ridiculous idea deserves another,” he said. “While I thought a manger was ridiculous I needed something (to match it) so I got Festivus.”
Inspired by the fictional holiday talked about on ‘Seinfeld,’ Stevens said he chose beer cans because he did not want to offend kids who might see the display.
He also did not waste any time on presentation.
“It’s supposed to be ridiculous, it’s supposed to be a blight. It’s supposed to be an eyesore. It’s supposed to troll you. It’s supposed to anger a lot of you. That’s what I did. I did it on purpose like that,” he said on his podcast talking about his controversial pole. ”As I said last year, if you can think of a better idea, something that’s more ridiculous, I’m open to that.”
Stevens also said that as long as religious displays are allowed on public property, his pole will stay.
Not surprisingly, the group sponsoring the nativity scene was less than impressed with having to compete with a stack of beer cans.
Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, told the Sentinel that in her view displays like the Festivus pole were meant to mock and do not represent the spirit of the holiday season.
“They’re here to protest Christ and Christmas,” she told the local newspaper. ”While I don’t like some of the displays, and I think it’s inappropriate, I’m sad because I think we should look for the hope and the message of love and joy and peace that the holiday does bring.”
Stevens has responded to the criticism by pointing out that true respect should go both ways.
“Respect is a one-way street when it comes to religion,” he said. ”I’m supposed to be respectful of your beliefs. But you are giving me no consideration of my beliefs? ”You can say ‘what is your belief, a pile of beer cans?’ No, my belief is anti-religion More specifically religion on government property.”