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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.

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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