Spaghetti sprouts from where Its presence once stood.

Spaghetti sprouts from where Its presence once stood.
Scroll below to see It touring Crossville

Saturday, March 22, 2008

To Mayor Hill:

Crossville Chronicle Article: Flying Spaghetti Monster takes up residence at county courthouse

Interesting article with interesting quote:

"County Mayor Brock Hill said, 'We are basically operating it as a freedom of speech venue. We don't deny the constitutional rights of anyone, but we certainly don't endorse all the displays. I feel the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an effort on the part of non-Christians to try and minimize Christianity and the images that have been placed there. I'll go as far as to say that I think it's an attempt to minimize and ridicule the good intentions of Christians in Cumberland County, but I don't deny their right.' "

With all due respect Mayor Hill- the Flying Spaghetti Monster sculpture is not an attempt to ridicule any religion. It should not be used as an opportunity to play the values of one religion off another. And I think if you read the comments on this blog, it is clear that many many people in our county understand that symbol and agree. Rather, the Spaghetti Monster is intended to create discourse on the role of religion on public property.

I believe strongly in the Constitution of the United States of America. Our Bill of Rights makes us one of the most wonderful nations in the world in which to live. And one of the principles for which our Bill of Rights stands is not placing one religion above another.

I personally do not believe that the courthouse lawn is the place for religious symbols- but if we as a county decide that it is, we have a responsibility to make sure that those who wish to express their diverse beliefs have that opportunity. If we choose to truly make the courthouse an open forum, let us all bring something to the table and enjoy the flavors that each of our backgrounds adds to the local culture.

Spaghetti and meatballs is meant to bring a touch of levity to a serious discourse. The statue has no intention to ridicule. It calls attention to a situation that has deeply concerned many residents over the past two years. Whether made of wood or spaghetti all religious statues are inappropriate for our courthouse lawn.


Anonymous said...

i have a question, may we observe the holiday by adding parmesan?

Anonymous said...

Is the statue still up at the courthouse? I will be passing through Crossville tomorrow and would love to check it out.

Anonymous said...

Parmesean, as well as many other cheeses, are considered a blessed part of the Pastafarian Snackrament. Enjoy!

Brooke said...

We are so fortunate to live in a nation with religious freedom! I realize that this weekend, in particular, as Christians like myself celebrate Easter and as other citizens are free to worship such tastey deities as the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Thanks to all who played a part in this statement highlighting the importance of our founders' insistence that church and state remain separate.

OBx2 said...

If anyone that was there today reads this I need to know if it would be alright to post pictures. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Here's a nice discussion of the Cumberland County dilema from a lawyer:

Not A Potted Plant - Cumberland Couty Bows To The Inevitable

writesnews said...

Ariel, this is great. You should be commended for exercising your right to express your beliefs in a fair and legal way using the system. Your work is great! Thanks for provoking thought and discussion in our community. I must admit I'm a weakling, though. I could never make a good pastafarian. I have a hard time fasting from spaghetti. Oh, and, his noodly appendages are divine!

Anonymous said...

As a native Crossvillian (and Pastafarian) I am delighted to finally see some equal representation. Good job Ariel! May He bring His blessings and deliciousness upon you.

Anonymous said...

writesnews, I think you misinterpreted. In this "fast," pasta is all we eat! Woohoo!


Anonymous said...

I love the Giant Spaghetti Monster!
May we forever worship him in all of his noodly goodness!

Pasta Pundit said...

Wow! That quote from Brock Hill in the Crossville Chronicle is amazingly irresponsible!

The installation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Crossville has nothing to do with "minimalizing" or "ridiculing" anything. Moreover, it seems that you guys have gone out of your way to keep the discussion on the topic of free speech and fair use of public property, rather than on religion.

Brock Hill's comments are inflammatory and irresponsible -- especially coming from a public official. It's almost as if he wants to incite a stronger, negative reation.

Shame on you, Mr. Hill, for trying to cast this debate on free speech and the appropriateness of such displays on public property as an underhanded form religious criticism. It is most decidedly not about religion, even if you are trying to cast it in that light.

The FSM movement is not about religious criticism. Rather, it is about ensuring that if we mix religion and state, we do so in a fair and even-handed way. Perhaps, Mr. Hill, you should do a bit more research before you begin ascribing motivations in such an irresponsible way.

OBx2 said...

Pasta Pundit, you echo my sentiments exactly. What a great and fair county leader we have in Brock Hill. Yes, that drips sarcasm. Unfortunately his attitude abounds in the county. Some people just don't get it, even when you point it out.

Anonymous said...

Closed minds and years of inbred sanctity thrive on the plateau.

Let this foster discussion.

Andrea said...

Hey Ariel! It has been a long time since I heard from you! Great job on the flying spaghetti monster. It looks really cool. My husband and I kept driving by and we couldn't figure out what it was until it was in the paper. Anyway, I fully support your stance on free speech. Personally, I like seeing all the different displays on the courthouse lawn.

Mr. P said...

Ariel, where did you get this silly notion about free speech and such? What makes you think that the good people of Cumberland County need the Pastafarian ethos to challenge their consciences?

I see some sinister Plan!

What happens to the sculpture on May first?

Are you a teacher yet? Why not? I remember you were good at it!

By the way, I love this! Not many things make me happier than seeing a past student in the news doing something good!
K. Patterson. yes, THAT Mr. Patterson

Anonymous said...

It appears that you and your brother spent a lot of hours building this Spaghetti Monster Statue. For a project that took so much time and effort to build, why hide your face in shame? It appears that you realize it was not appropriate.

Just a little advice for future reference, placing a statue like this on the courthouse lawn, in a small hometown like Crossville, can follow you rest of your life. Years from now, you may be wondering, "Was it worth it?"

Anonymous said...

Are the noodles whole grain? A point of descrimination for me.

As a Crossville native, I was shocked to hear that all these statues were on the court house lawn. What were they thinking when they allowed the first one.

Noodle help us.


Anonymous said...

Ariel, after May 1st, you should donate the statue to CCHS as a real-life example of civic responsibility and citizens working lawfully to change public policy. It should be a regular visual aid in civics and history classes. Your FSM is a tangible example of the Freedom of Speech in action that all students should study!

Corvi said...

I salute you and your brother, and the fine (and no doubt gobsmacked) citizens of Crossville. Freedom of religion forever, Ramen!

Anonymous said...

Some one please show me a statement in the United States Constitution, ratified by the 13 states, where it says 'seperation of church and state'.

It DOES NOT say this. It says "Congress shall make no law." What a county govt or state legislature is NOT covered by this statement since they aren't the Congress of the United States.

I believe in freedom of speech and religion, even the so-called religion of Islam. But if a local government wants to put a nativity scene on its steps or the 10 Commandments in its hallways there is no law to stop them.

The 13 states did not ratify the federalist papers. They ratified the constitution.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how this 'act' is supposed to be about free speech, yet not all comments to this 'piece of art' and it's implications to religious freedom in this country are not posted, but rejected by the blog owner.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Jesus Christ was and is who he said he was. My connection to him is real to me and personal. My faith is not challenged by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I would probably wear a Flying Spaghetti Monster T-Shirt to my church if I knew where to get one.

Anonymous said...

We are grateful for the adherents of the FSM for giving us all a lesson in religious tolerance.

But it is not really a challenge to display your statue on a courthouse lawn in the United States.

What you need to do is display statues of the FSM immersed in a jar of urine or made out of the church members own feces. That would impress me.

If you want to impress even further, I suggest that you bring your statue for display and worship at the next Muslim festival. Not, of course, in the mosque, that would be insensitive.

But in the neighborhood of the mosque to give their worshipers a chance to admire the freedoms that the rest of us hold dear.

Anonymous said...

Um, doesn't the Bill of Rights - with regard to this subject - only restrict CONGRESS from establishing an official religion (i.e. placing one religion 'over another')?

What does it suggest with regard to states, or counties and their courthouses?

And where in the Bill of Rights do we find the 'separation of church and state' language?

Go ahead and check, we'll wait for you...

*hums patiently for a moment or two*

Ah yes; you're correct - it doesn't have anything to do with states or their counties and courthouses, and 'separation of church and state' isn't in there! Isn't that surprising?

So logically... think slowly now, this is tough, I know... The states, and the counties, *can*, if they wish, allow symbols of a religious nature, and in fact, can be 'discriminating' in terms of which religions they allow and which they don't!

Isn't critical thinking fun?

Try it more often. :)

Anonymous said...

To the last anonymous who obviously thinks obfuscating is more important than critical thinking (go ahead look it up). You are absolutely right about one thing. The Constitution does not use the specific words "separation of Church and state." Those terms are explanations first put forth by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, as I explain below. (go ahead look it up. I'll wait.)

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"

Establishment of Religion meaning setting one religion up in preference to another.

As I posted on another comment section of this blog: On Wikipedia,in the article titled "Separation of Church and State" ( ) they say "The phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to a group identifying themselves as the Danbury Baptists. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." [11]."

They go on to say "Another early user of the term was James Madison, the principal drafter of the United States Bill of Rights, who often wrote of "total separation of the church from the state." [12] "Strongly guarded . . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States," Madison wrote, and he declared, "practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States." [13]"

I assume you know who Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are. As authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights we assume they can explain the concepts expressed there.

Revisionists like you seem to want to rewrite the history of our country and create the kind of nation the USA was founded to escape. Many of the originators of our country came here to escape the kind of religious intolerance you wish to establish.

Andrea said...

It's sad to see so many ignorant people bashing you and your statue on here, Ariel. I am proud of you, though, and I think your statue was a great idea. It's also heartening to see the intelligent and worthwhile comments that have been left to support you. Thank you for creating the statue and saying what a lot of people have been wanting to say. And for putting up with all the bad feelings people are sending your way.

"Just a little advice for future reference, placing a statue like this on the courthouse lawn, in a small hometown like Crossville, can follow you rest of your life. Years from now, you may be wondering, 'Was it worth it?'"

It's totally worth it, from my point of view. It's always worth it for free speech.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I completely support the statue, but I have a question. Why put it up on Good Friday? Maybe that's why some people think the statue was meant to minimalize Christianity. Just a thought. Again, I completely support the statue and feel strongly that church and state should be separate.

Anonymous said...

March 21 was not just Good Friday, it happened to be Purim, a Jewish holiday, and the first day of Spring as well. Often the holidays of many different religions are celebrated around the same season and even within the same week or day.