Florida Atheist Installs 'Festivus' Sign Next to Nativity Scene
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2012 Dec 10
To protest a nativity scene that has been displayed every Christmas for the past 20 years in the South Florida town of Deerfield Beach, a local atheist has erected an 8-foot-tall "Festivus" pole with beer cans just six feet away from the manger, the Christian Post reports. "It's just 23 beer cans stacked eight feet high conveniently located six feet from Baby Jesus," the Sun Sentinel quoted atheist activist and blogger Chaz Stevens as saying. "Think of how many people have died over the years to give us our freedoms. So I've got to push back a little." Stevens' sign is based on the secular "Festivus" holiday featured in a 1997 Seinfeld episode, which was created by the father of Seinfeld writer Dan O'Keefe as an alternative to the commercial Christmas and is celebrated on Dec. 23. Stevens has been trying unsuccessfully for five years to get the city to stop the nativity scene, and this year he asked for permission to express his own non-religious beliefs. The Rev. Mark Luttio of Zion Lutheran Church and School in Deerfield Beach called the atheist's move "kind of silly." Luttio added: "It doesn't really represent a very big constituency, does it? But if there really was a strong group of people who feel a desire to express something about their identity as atheists, that would be absolutely OK for them to do so in a public forum."