Those rascals in Madison are up to mischief

And good for them! They’ve added a holiday display to the collection in the Wisconsin capitol.


I especially like the message: “Think this is ridiculous? We agree! Religious ideas should not be promoted within the halls of government. Protect the separation of church and state, it protects us all.” That ultimately has to be the point of every atheist group who joins in these absurd exercises in flaunting religiosity — it’s that this is ridiculous, and we’re not going to be silent anymore.

You should congratulate a fine group of students for a job well done.



  1. Sastra says

    There are two strategies for dealing with Christmas displays on government property.

    1.) Try to get rid of them by demanding the right to put up signs or symbols which are designed to be so provocative and/or insulting that people are provoked into doing what should have been done in the first place — remove it all and keep church and state separate. There would then be no more displays of any kind — or, possibly, only decorations which are more or less neutral in character, like snowflakes and poinsettias. The atheists who do this see Christmas as a religious holiday and want to keep it so — and at a distance.

    2.) Accept that they’re going to stay and make sure that atheists and humanists are well represented with tasteful, positive, fun, and/or meaningful displays which may or may not contain an explicit message that there is no God. Atheists who do this can fall into either category: Christmas is about Christ and here is OUR holiday (Humanlight, Reasonmas, Solstice) ; or Christmas is secular and doesn’t have to be about Christ (“Merry Atheist Christmas Ho Ho Ho!”)

    I think there’s room for all these approaches, but I personally favor the last part of the last one: Christmas for everyone. It looks like the AHA Madison is following the FFRF and going for the first one. That’s okay. The strategies can co-exist.

    It will be interesting to see where we are in 10 years though. Still splintered — or coming to a consensus? My guess is that it’s going to get easier and easier to see Christmas as primarily secular and the “Keep the Christ in Christmas” campaign is going to get so shrill and desperate that even the remove-it-all neutral space hardliners won’t be able to resist tweaking it.

  2. Chie Satonaka says

    I work in downtown Madison. When I read about the Festivus tree that they put up this year, I told my co-worker that someone is definitely going to put up the FSM this year. I totally called it! Everyone here at work is religious and thinks that anything a “militant atheist” does is assholish, so I keep most of my glee about it to myself. I’m tempted to go up to the capitol on Dec. 23rd for the airing of grievances.

  3. thelifeofbrine says

    @Sarstra 2 ” designed to be so provocative and/or insulting…”

    Potential example of provocative: “We exist” -Atheists

  4. Dauphni says

    Very well done! Clear, concise and honest. I did read ‘WiscAtheists’ as ‘WiseAtheists’ at first though. It may be because of the font, but on the other hand it may also simply be because I’m not from Wisconsin.

  5. Gregory Greenwood says

    An excellent, progressive message intelligently and effectively conveyed, and contrary to the preconceptions of some theists, their group photo is entirely lacking in any indications that they have a penchant for roasting babies.

    Such refined, epicurean tastes are usually only found in more developed atheist palates… ;-)

  6. says

    So, are they going to do a spaghetti-dinner fundraiser and call it a community communion, in which they will be eating the body of their Lord?

    I certainly hope so…

  7. David Marjanović says

    He boiled for my sins? That’s news to me. I like it, though. Preach the news, for it is good…!

  8. thinkfree83 says

    As a vegetarian, I’m offended by the meatballs in this representation of our noodly lord. As of this moment, I’m starting Reformed Spaghettism, which states that the Flying Spaghetti Monster must always be portrayed in his pure, natural state, without meatballs. In all seriousness, a community spagetti dinner open to everyone actually would be a good idea. Maybe something to plan for next year.

  9. franko says

    No panic: they have to be vegetable-based simulated meat. Real meatballs don’t have anywhere near so smooth an exterior.

  10. otrame says

    The thing I always liked about the FSM is that he doesn’t particularly care if you believe in him. As he says, “I’m not that vain.”

    Which means it is possible to be a pastafarian and an atheist at the same time.

    Also, Madison has always been one of my favorite towns. I remember, a few years after I left (mid 70s), one person running for student council president made a campaign promise that he would waste every cent in the student council budget. He won. And he kept his campaign promise. He used part of the money to construct a papier-mâché life-sized model of the Statue of Liberty from about the nose up and deposited it on Lake Mendota, claiming that they purchased the entire statue but it broke free from the helicopter being used to transport it. This lake is big enough that you can barely see the far shore unless it is a very clear day (and is, incidentally, where Buddy Holly and the Ritchie Valens died) and the campus of UWM is on the southern shore. The statue was there for all to see until the spring thaw.

  11. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    FSM is whole wheat goodness, buckwheat flavor, and gluten-free spelt’s hypoallergenicity. FSM’s noodles were squeezed from a primordial ooze of grains and whole eggs, yet are vegan and cholesterol free. Those who ask, “Where’s the beef?” shall seek no further than FSM’s rosy cheeks, where the USDA grade A beef provides all the substance in the delicately spiced patties of processed mushroom, rice flour, yeast, nutmeg, and dried fennel, suitable for the most demanding raw foodies. When 1248 pirates came to see the wedding of Anne Bonney and Mary Reed, of whom only 61 were invited, FSM offered a noodle appendage that fed the multitude and, with a citrusy flavor, cured all present of scurvy.

    Cthulu, of course, is altogether different, yet still has magical dinner parties. But don’t show up empty-handed to this potluck. The theme?

    Ask not what you can eat of Cthulu’s. Ask what Cthulu can eat of yours.

  12. David Marjanović says

    of whom only 61 were invited


    Those who cannot spell Cthulhu shall be eaten third-to-last, right before those who cannot spell Iä.

    Iä! Iä!

  13. Al Dente says

    David Marjanović @21

    Those who cannot spell Cthulhu shall be eaten third-to-last, right before those who cannot spell Iä.

    What part of “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” do you not understand?

  14. Rich Woods says

    @thinkfree83 #15:


    @Antiochus #14:

    Yeah, it can distract people from the message.

    (No sarcasm — honest!).

  15. says

    otrame #17: a slight correction. Lake Mendota is where Otis Redding crashed. Holly, Valens and Bopper’s crash was in another state, further west.

    (Madison was my home town.)

  16. Azuma Hazuki says

    Ooh, nice. I live within a half-hour’s bus ride of the capital so may go see this sometime when I have a day off.

  17. randay says

    Cripdyke #20, good recipe. Mine is a little different.

    The Almighty FSM’s balls should be lightly browned meatballs and either pink or red in the center. It is ok to add garlic and other spices adding a bit of green, minced onions too. That is my ecumenical outreach. The noodles should be “al dente” and not as mushy as often shown. To be consumed with holy bottles of Chiante.

  18. Thumper: Token Breeder says


    But are the holy meatballs pure beef, or pork and beef? Inquiring minds wish to know.

    And the sauce. What about the sauce!?

  19. randay says

    #28 Thumper. Good questions. I guess I haven’t read enough of the holy texts to definitely answer you. I was thinking of beef meatballs, but now that you mention it, why not pork or other meats and mixtures. Some may like fish, but that doesn’t seem tasty to me, like pineapple on pizza.

    Excuse me my lack of understanding. As to the sauce, I think there are two possibilities. One is based on tomatoes with various spices, mushrooms, or other stuff. The other is based on olive oil with similar appropriate ingredients that accompany the taste. Neither should be too thick or thin. However, if some can cite me an authoritative FSM text, I will cede to that. Leavened bread is a good accompaniment and don’t forget the Chianti.

  20. dianne says

    But are the holy meatballs pure beef, or pork and beef? Inquiring minds wish to know.

    Actually, they’re just TVP.

    I have this fear in the back of my mind that some day the context will be lost and people will take up the church of the FSM for real and we’ll have holy wars over this issue.

  21. eigenperson says

    If I were in Madison, I would go to the stationery store and buy a package of those circular dot stickers. I would then take a razor blade and cut out a little circle from one of the orange dots, maybe a millimeter or two in diameter. Then I would head to City Hall, go right up to that poster, and stick the little fucker just above the comma.

    Then all would be right with the world.

  22. David Marjanović says



    Then all would be right with the world.

    A dash would actually be best.