Jesus who? Beer can pole & maybe 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' at Florida Capitol display

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A group of "Pastafarians" and non-theists have applied to enter a "Flying Spaghetti Monster" display into the Florida State Capitol rotunda for the holidays. If approved, it would join the likes of a gay pride Festivus pole, but not a Nativity scene.

The group, including the Secular Student Alliance at Florida State University, has asked the Florida Department of Management Services for permission to erect the display of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a satirical deity "worshiped" by so-called "Pastafarians," saying it is “intended to inspire a sense of community and belonging for all those who view it.”

“This display will communicate and represent the belief systems of atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, and other irreligious citizens of the state of Florida,” the group's application says, according to FloridaPolitics.com.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster display at the Capitol in Tallahassee would feature references to refugees fleeing the Middle East. “Included are flags of countries with the highest numbers of asylum-seeking refugees in the world,” the group's application says.

Already approved by the state to be featured in the Capitol from December 21-28 is a rainbow-colored Gay Pride Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans and a disco ball. "Festivus" is a fictional holiday featured in an episode of the sitcom "Seinfeld" nearly 20 years ago.

“We find no conflict with (the) Rules Governing the Use of State Buildings and grounds; therefore, this area is being made available to you as requested," the department told Chaz Stevens, a South Florida blogger responsible for the pole.

Meanwhile, the International House of Prayer Tallahassee, a group that has been responsible for erecting a Nativity scene in the Capitol for the past two years, has decided not to take part in the holiday displays 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, according to the Miami Herald. "Let the sound of the Christ Child bring hope, joy and peace instead of dissension," she added.

The group's petition to add a Nativity scene at the Capitol in previous years inspired other groups, including non-theists and Satanists, to also take part with various tongue-in-cheek or non-religious displays.

Olsen said her group was "not retreating" by deciding not to participate this year. She said they hope "Christ’s message of hope and peace will be communicated in a much stronger way this year from Florida’s state Capitol, by us not placing the nativity in the rotunda."