If you go to the state capital rotunda in Florida during the holiday season, you will find a Gay Pride aluminum Festivus pole, a nine-foot menorah, and possibly something that commemorates the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What you will not see is a nativity scene with the infant Jesus or any other scene symbolizing Christianity.
After erecting a Nativity scene in the rotunda of the state Capitol for the past two years – and prompting protest displays from Satanic cults to a pole of beer cans – the Christian prayer group that sponsored the depiction said it was not going to continue the tradition this year.
“My hope is that the Christ in Christmas is louder than a wood display and some figurines,’’ said Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network who submitted the application to the state for the last two years on behalf of the International House of Prayer Tallahassee.
“I have been pondering this for a while,” Olsen said. “The racial tensions and mass murders, the shootings at the Planned Parenthood and in California – something is very wrong in our country. We need to step back and say we need to stop. Let the sound of the Christ Child bring hope, joy and peace instead of dissension.”
In 2013, Olsen’s group petitioned the state to display the Nativity scene next to the Hanukkah menorah and Christmas trees that had been traditionally displayed on the first floor of the Capitol.
But the arrival of the Nativity scene provoked a series of irreverent displays from other groups who asked for and received permission from the Department of Management Services.
The American Atheists of Tallahassee displayed a “Festivus” pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans. Festivus was first made famous by the television sitcom “Seinfeld,” depicting a noncommercial festival “for the rest of us” for the Christmas season and end of the year.