By: Sharon Aron Baron
The City of Tamarac will add a Festivus pole to their religious displays at city hall this holiday season.
Tamarac City Manager Michael Cernech has given approval for a Festivus pole to join the religious display of the manger, christmas tree, and menorah, when asked by activist Chaz Stevens in an email earlier on Monday.
“Thank you for your email regarding our holiday displays. Festivus for the rest of us is alive and well in Tamarac! We have plenty of space for one of your custom made Festivus poles.” –City Manager Michael Cernech
Festivus, a well-celebrated parody, is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23, which serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas and holiday season.
Festivus became part of worldwide pop culture after being featured on Seinfeld and includes a Festivus dinner and included practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength” and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”
Showing he had a humorous side, the City Manager wrote, “On a personal note, I realize you like to construct your poles from Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, but I’m asking you to consider Hamm’s cans for Tamarac. While I’m not sure Hamm’s is commercially available any longer I do know it was in the PBR family and bit more tasty in my humble opinion.”
Stevens gained notoriety last year after negotiating with elected officials and installing a Festivus pole made out of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans outside of Deerfield Beach’s main fire station, next to a manger scene. However, this year, the city has since stopped allowing any religious displays on city property.
After hearing about private groups installing a religious displays at the state capital, Stevens, wrote to Governor Rick Scott’s office and felt that his Festivus pole rightfully deserved a place there as well. He received permission, and will be heading up to Tallahassee to place a Festivus pole in the rotunda on Wednesday.
According to Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida, said no religious symbols, including a menorah, should be displayed in government buildings. “And I’m not sure the people who manage the state capitol fully appreciate the door that they have opened,” he said. “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 appreciates City Manager Cernech’s willingness to allow the Festivus Pole and said “I think intelligent city managers are able to see which way the Festivus winds are blowing.”
In all seriousness, Stevens hopes to make a political statement on the need for the separation of church and state.
“I am hoping more cities stop allowing for the display of religious nuttery.”