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ICYMI: Chesco Commissioners Deny Pastafarian Holiday Display

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.

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