In one of those so-wonderfully-smart-assed-we-wish-we'd-thought-of-it moments, a Wisconsin man recently requested permission from the city of Green Bay to erect a Seinfeld Festivus pole at City Hall in response to the local government's inclusive religious display policy.
Of course, chances are the mayor and the city council thought they were being clever. By finding a backdoor for nativity displays on public property, the Christian soldiers in local government probably thought at the very worst they'd have to endure a papier-mâché menorah alongside their one true Messiah, and maybe a few scathing letters from Green Bay's Muslim community (a delightful young man in a blaze-orange ghutra named Jabir: you can't miss him).
Instead, they got a Wiccan pentacle wreath (which was promptly torn down by vandals) and the cheeky Festivus thing. Now they're no doubt hoping the whole thing blows over so they can get back to praising just one made-up deity instead of having to worry about dozens. (Indeed, in the latest development, the citys council and mayor voted to leave the nativity up and placed a moratorium on all other displays, no doubt responding to public pressure from such devotees of diversity as resident Tim Entringer, who proclaimed, "This is crazy. It's Christmas. I'm sad in my heart. There is only one God, and you've got to keep him up. The only way to get to God is through Jesus. It's the true religion. You have to do it.")
As card-carrying filthy disgusting heathen atheists, we find this whole thing hilarious. And since we live scant miles from Green Bay, in the beautiful Fox River Valley, we're naturally hoping this controversy drags out as long as possible so we can see something on the local news other than Kiwanis bake-sale coverage or morbidly obese Packer fans buying official team-sanctioned heart disease awareness caps.
Of course, unlike some intolerant Green Bay residents, we strongly support any citizen's right to practice any religion he or she chooses, no matter how crazy or stupid. So in the spirit of ecumenism, we hope 23/6 readers will waste both their and the government's time by flooding Green Bay City Hall with requests for religious displays that are even more asinine than the Christian one. We hope to see each of the nation's 300-plus recognized religions fully represented.
You can find Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt's contact info here.
(Note: We'd prefer you e-mail, but if you must call, make sure to throw in a "cripes" and a "jeez" or two, along with a few references to how your frickin' knee ain't never been right since you slipped on the sidewalk down by the Pick 'n Save, so it sounds like you're local.)
Here are a few suggestions for alternative religious displays, or you can come up with one of your own:
1) Scientologists could display a festive holiday panorama showing how the evil Galactic Confederacy emperor Xenu brought people to Earth 75 million years ago in a spacecraft, blew them up around volcanoes, and turned them into harmful body thetans that attach to modern humans and cause them to foolishly destroy their once-promising career. As a nod to traditional holiday observances, the final scene could show the resurrected Christ jumping on Oprah's couch like a crazy God-man.
2) Since Bill O'Reilly is so fond of defending government-sponsored displays of the crèche as an homage to Jesus the philosopher (no shit, this is his argument), secular humanists should feel free to erect statues of the Baby Sartre, the Baby Nietzsche, the Baby Camus, and the Baby Bertrand Russell.
3) Hindus should demand the right to put up statues of any number of their thousands of gods. The more arms the better.
4) Neo-druids and neo-pagans: One word--Stonehenge.
5) Rastafarians? Hey, go nuts.