And the 2013 Ebenezer Award Goes to… the Wisconsin Department of Administration
Washington, D.C. – The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is pleased (well, sort of) to announce the recipient of our lowest honor, the 2013 Ebenezer Award, which is given annually to the most ridiculous affront to Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations.continue at The Becket Fund
This year the award goes to Wisconsin’s Department of Administration, which apparently doesn’t know that it is constitutionally permissible for the government to have a tasteful holiday display celebrating various aspects of the Christmas season. So instead, the Department of Administration invited anyone and everyone to display anything they want.
The result? Wisconsin citizens are now being greeted by a display of the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” in their State Capitol. The sign depicts a dripping wet clump of boiled spaghetti with two strategically placed meatballs, and this message: “He boiled for your sins. Be touched by his noodly appendage before it is too late.” The creators of the display say it is a protest against any government recognition of the religious roots of the Christmas season.
Now, don’t get us wrong. We’re all for free speech. We think everyone should be allowed to speak their mind when the government opens up a forum for speech.
The problem here is that government bureaucrats have forgotten that there is a difference between government speech and private speech. The government is allowed to speak in its own voice and communicate its own message. When it recognizes important aspects of human history or culture, it is not required to include every possible competing message. The postal service can issue a stamp honoring Martin Luther King Jr. without also honoring the Ku Klux Klan. Congress can celebrate Veterans’ Day without also celebrating Pacifists’ Day. And Wisconsin can recognize Christmas and Hanukkah without also recognizing the Flying Spaghetti Monster.