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Commissioners Say No to Flying Spaghetti Monster

The commissioners did not vote to allow a "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" display on county property.

In case you missed it: At the Nov. 29 meeting of the Chester County Commissioners, representatives of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster were told that they could not erect a holiday display outside the county courthouse.

Thornbury resident Tracy McPherson spoke on behalf of what she estimated to be about 100 local "Pastafarians" who wished to erect a display on county property alongside the menorah and nativity scene already there.

Though the Pastafarian religion is widely viewed as satire created in response to the teaching of creationism in schools, McPherson did not indicate she shared that view. She maintained a serious demeanor, quoting scripture and expressing sincere reverence to her deity and "his noodly appendages."

She asked that the board rescind Resolution 58-10, which in 2010 gave the county sole discretion in deciding what displays are allowed.

County Commissioner Kathy Cozzone made a motion to rescind 58-10, endorsing a first-come, first-served policy for holiday displays.

"For public property, it should either be an open policy, or we should have nothing at all," she said.

Cozzone's motion died for lack of a second from commissioners Ryan Costello or Terence Farrell. 

Farrell said the county was following a path laid out by the Supreme Court, and didn't see any reason to stray from it. He said he had received about 50 emails and calls since McPherson's request was first presented, from people urging him to allow the Pastafarian display, but only a handful were from Chester County residents.

Costello said the board should stay focused on the budget and delivering services to county residents. He noted that the matter had brought an unprecedented level of attention to the county meeting. 

"I don't think that anyone has viewed online any portion of a county meeting as much as the number of views that were on Youtube for her speech on Tuesday," Costello said.

The Youtube videos above show the relevant portions of the recent sunshine meetings and regular business meetings of the County Commissioners. The full meetings can be viewed online with the Silverlight plug-in, which does not work on all web browsers.

Jim December 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Unfortunately all views of our county residents will not be represented this holiday season.
area man December 11, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Jim, I hope you simply forgot to end your comment with "bah bah boohey". Shame on Cozzone for supporting this obvious farce. Costello and Farrell, keep up the good work.
RosiesDad December 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Religious oppression is alive and well in Chester County, PA. Shari'ah law is undoubtedly coming next.
Elizabeth December 11, 2012 at 02:00 PM
So apparently is making fun of Christmas alive and well in Chester County, PA. After researching pastafarianism on the internet, it sounds like this whole "religion" was a publicity stunt. The Holy Pastafarians who attended this meeting also turned the business of governing Chester County into another publicity stunt as it becomes a hulu heavy hitter.
Atheist#666 December 12, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Say what you wish but, i am personally an Atheist, not a Pastafarian, but our great nation disallows such a deviant and illegal act as taking one religion over another and i will not stand for this, i was bought up to believe in our values and by (Insert deities name here) I will hold them, if the Pastafarians are not allowed to present theirs then i do not believe anyone else should, since this is favoritism of one religion over another which our dear constitution clearly does not allow under the first amendment, according to law, the Pastafarians should have the right to place whatever they were planning to place and if not then no one should, end off.
Atheist#666 December 12, 2012 at 12:27 AM
And by Zeus and Thor if someone says i am waging a war on christmas, i am very sorry to dissapoint you, the winter solstice was never your fortress, i am on the attack on the religion in christmas, i don't care what you call it, Christmas or solstice i am ok with both, just the fact that bothers me is the whole birth of christ thing, its ok its totally legal, but personally i do feel it should be more secular.
Atheist#666 December 12, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Farce or not, its a legit religion in the eye of the law, so they should have the right to place their display, according to the first amendment. You are not a traitor, are you? You do defend and cherish our constitutional rights? If you did believe in Freedom and Liberty, you would be on the pastafarians side.
Atheist#666 December 12, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Oh no, not shari'ah law.
Matt December 12, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Dear Elizabeth, Attacking Christmas? More like asking for an equal place at the table of holiday decorations. Who are you to dismiss anyone's beliefs or religion? Weren't the Christians dismissed before gaining widespread acceptance in Rome? Wasn't it Jesus's teaching to love thy neighbor? Would you consider it an attack on Christmas if a Jewish person petitioned to have a Manurah lit next to the Christmas display? This is obvious religious favoritism and it is beyond ridiculous that they do not adopt the open policy, either everything is allowed or nothing is allowed, that is the only way for the county government to not support one religion over another.
Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 06:56 PM
The article said there WAS a menorah next to the Christmas display. What does an atheist display look like? An atheist holiday greeting? Is no belief a belief? Or is it sufficient to just stop the Christmas display of goodwill? Do you really believe that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a religious hero? The Lutherans have already cornered the market on carb-filled covered dishes. I wonder if the Pastafarians are a 501-c-3 and what their platform is on good works and public service. One Nation under Spaghetti Monster? Spaghetti for Tots instead of Toys for Tots? I think most Christians would be glad to see less in the way of Christmas displays that are meant to encourage commercialism and diminish Jesus. Who owns the stores who start the Christmas music before Halloween? Christians? In my church (just one little church in the area), an average of $9,000 per year over the last five years has been spent on alternative gifts (food, homeless, AIDS victims, special needs schools, African nursery school, inner city homework helpers, Habitat, etc). I don't care if the county courthouse has a Christmas decoration or not. I do care that Christmas and its good feelings are being trivialized by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. In five years, I predict government offices will be neutered. Merry Christmas! Consider this a greeting of warmth and good wishes and not an insult. Peace to all and their beliefs. Is no belief a belief?
Matt December 12, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Elizabeth, I realize there was a menorah there, however if there wasn't, and there was a Jewish person asking for it, would that be an attack on Christmas? Why are you discussing the atheist belief system? We are talking about pastafarians here, not Atheists. It is not for the government to investigate the validity of a religion, nor is it there to validate whether or not diety's exist, the government is there to be a neutral entity that doesn't play favorites. By excluding some belief systems it is playing favorites. By allowing only the main stream religions to put up decorations on GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, they are establishing a religion. I am happy for you and your churches contributions, but churches and religious groups cannot be measured by their charitable contributions. Furthermore, since Scientology is a 501-C-3 tax exempt organization, perhaps we should allow them to put up a statue of L. Ron Hubbard, and you would have no problem with that right, since they fit your criteria for a correct religion. Furthermore, what of a Pagan, who has the true claim to Christmas as almost every part of the traditions that Christians celebrate were taken from the Pagan celebration of the winter Solstice? I think a small bust of Oden and Thor would be very nice way to tie all of the traditions together.
Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I am not sure what you want. Do you think the Flying Spaghetti Monster is equal to Judaism? Islam? Do you want a courthouse cluttered with everyone's idea of celebration? It would have to be all year round, of course, or you would still be glorifying Christmas. I am discussing Atheist belief because it was brought up in earlier emails. Why are you discussing Pagans?
Matt December 12, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I want religious freedom, not to be spoon fed what religions are acceptable and which are not by my government. I do believe that every belief structure has its positives and negatives. So yes. I would love it if everyone's views and beliefs were given the same value in the eyes of the government, and the obvious solution, like I stated before, is everything is allowed, or nothing is allowed. I am discussing Pagans because it is yet another religious group that is being ignored and they were the ones that came up with most of the symbols and traditions of Christmas! Who are you to put a value on a persons beliefs or to rank religions based on what? Righteousness? Corruption of their highest offices? Atrocities committed in their names? Or shall we just go based on cold hard percentages of people who believe in them.....
Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Matt, Have YOUR beliefs been diminished by the government? You sound very angry.
Matt December 12, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Whoa, not angry at all. If you could look at this from another perspective I think you will see exactly what I mean. Imagine if you will, living in an Islamic country, a free country, but one occupied mostly by Muslims. When it comes time for Ramadan it also happens to be around the same time as Easter, see Muslims follow a 355 day calendar so their holidays slowly rotate around our current calendar. Regardless, this country says that they allow religious freedoms, but when you bring up that you would like an Easter display on their lawns, as they currently have a Ramadan display up. Would you consider it religious freedom if they said no to you? I am not angry, I am disappointed in my government saying no to a religion based on their personal beliefs. You sound like you have a hard time empathizing.
Matt December 12, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I am not a Pastafarian or an Atheist, but you can bet that if I was I would feel that my beliefs were very diminished by this decision. You sound very dismissive.
Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 07:49 PM
It sounds like you have a hard time realizing Flying Spaghetti Monster is nowhere near the level of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Pagans, etc. It was merely and ONLY a publicity stunt to protest teaching creationism in ONE midwest School district. It was brought to Chester County to bring up issues such as you espouse, which nobody was intentionally stifling and was a very good publicity stunt as reflected by the hits on YouTube. I don't think anybody's beliefs have been trounced by not allowing a plate of spaghetti on the grounds of the courthouse. :-)
Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Our country was started to flee religious persecution. Nobody's religion is being persecuted here.
Matt December 12, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I don't think it is so much about one religion being persecuted here, but perhaps it is more about the United States government showing favoritism towards one religion and belief. Which I know you are aware is against the establishment of a religion. Once again, I ask you to take off your blinders and look at this objectively. The government is obviously declaring one religion to be legitimate while another religion illegitimate. How would you feel if they only allowed Muslim icons to be displayed but not Christian icons? Your religion would not be persecuted, for you still are allowed to practice your religion, but really, would your religion be trounced if you were not allowed to put a Christmas Tree on the grounds of the courthouse, but Muslim icons were? No, but I can bet you would be saying all the same things I am now.
Elizabeth December 12, 2012 at 08:11 PM
What do you expect from an unobjective blind trouncing Christian trying to deny a plate of spaghetti from equal representation on the lawn of the Court House? I think the (Chester County) government is not showing favoritism as much as they are trying to diplomatically withdraw from a publicity stunt.
Matt December 12, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Wow, how very very belittling of you. A plate of spaghetti may be meaningless to you, but what of people who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? To many outsiders your adornment of a plant and the wearing of a torture device around your neck seems ludicrous, but the government sanctions your religious traditions, why are these being ignored? Please respond to this question: What is your criteria for a religion to be allowed to place their icons on the Chester County Courthouse lawn? I am very interested? Does the religion have to be validated and its deity proven to have existed? If that is the case, every religion falls short.
RosiesDad December 13, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Matt, Elizabeth: You both need to lighten up and get a life. This was the funniest story the Patch ever published. Have a chuckle and enjoy the holiday season.
Randeroid December 15, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Elizabeth, I would like to hear your responses to Matt's legitimate questions.
Randeroid December 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I went through the video. Cozzone made a logical point that public property should be open to everyone or no one. Costello and Farrell had no response to that because this is an emotional issue for them. None of the political groups, masked as religions, should have access to public property for marketing purposes. They have so much money already, why do they have to have public property too? Also, we should revoke their tax shelters; they are simply political groups like in Egypt. RE: 'Farrell said the county was following a path laid out by the Supreme Court' of Egypt, right?
SP December 15, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Whew, great discussion, thank you for inspiring hearty laughter! Matt, excellent points, & well stated. (I'm a lifelong atheist, but think I'm starting to lean toward Pastafarianism.)
Randeroid December 15, 2012 at 11:39 PM
The clergy always spin history by claiming that immigrant's religions were the objects of persecution. To be accurate, people were persecuted by religions. The founding fathers set up the government to protect us from religion--Freedom From Religion. This is the grand prize, and what you can not find in Saudi Arabia. You are right, nobody's religion is being persecuted here. The persecution is elsewhere. People are being persecuted by the west boro baptists, the katholics, and the mormans. These are anti-freedom groups, who spend their money and efforts meddling in our government so they can influence how everyone lives. Now they are calling this 'cultural protection.' We need to protect the citizenry from religions and none of them should be marketing on public property.

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