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State Lawmakers Concerned About Rainbow-Wrapped 'Festivus Pole' At Oklahoma Capitol

Chaz Stevens
The Humanity Project

Several Oklahoma state lawmakers are outraged over a Florida man’s plan to set up a gay pride-themed “Festivus pole” in the rotunda of the state Capitol.

The 4-foot-tall aluminum pole wrapped in the colors of the rainbow with a wooden base symbol is inspired by a fictional holiday described in detail in the popular 1990s sitcom Seinfeld, but a handful of Republicans say they perceive the proposed display as an attack on Christianity.

“While a lot of us may have liked the Seinfeld series, this effort to mock the celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, does not illustrate the best judgment of those who manage our state Capitol,” state Rep. Lewis Moore said in a statement. “To Christians, the rainbow is God’s promise not to destroy the earth again by flood, as found in Genesis 9:12-17. This sacrilegious symbol wrapped in the gay rights flag, is not respectful of God or the many visitors, including children, who arrive by the school-bus load during this time of year to celebrate the peace and joy and remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ for our sins.”


Chaz Stevens submitted a formal request to erect the pole in the first-floor rotunda, following guidelines for displays in the building. That application was approved by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

“Just because something meets the legal criteria, doesn’t mean that it is wise to approve every request,” state Rep. David Brumbaugh said in the same statement. “This is just another example of the continued war on Christmas. The people who approved this should have exercised better judgment.”

Stevens leads The Humanity Fund, an organization that describes itself as a promoter of free speech and the separation of church and state, as well as LGBTQ rights. He started his crusade in the Florida state Capitol two years ago, and has since expanded his demonstration to other states.

“I felt that the religious symbols prominently showcased in the Florida State Capitol were implying that certain viewpoints had state endorsement,” Stevens said on his website. “To protest this violation of our rights, I decided to force Florida to allow me to erect a Festivus Pole, a symbol from the fictious holiday created within the scripts of the Seinfeld show, with the same prominence given to the manger and menorah.”

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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