A moratorium has been declared on requests to put up new displays in the state Capitol that would join an atheists' placard, a Nativity scene and other exhibits.
There are to be no new signs and displays at the state Capitol — at least for now.
The Department of General Administration, which oversees the Capitol grounds, declared a moratorium Friday on any pending and future requests to put up displays in the Capitol building.
The moratorium will remain in effect until the department completes a review of its current policy on exhibits. The review is expected to start next week and will likely be quick, said spokesman Steve Valandra.
The department declared the moratorium because it received far more requests than it anticipated and that can be accommodated in the display area on the third floor of the building, Valandra said.
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The furor over the displays began early this month when an atheist group, reacting to a Nativity scene set up by a private citizen, put up an anti-religion placard. Several pro-religion displays followed.
This week, the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church applied for permission to put up a “Santa Claus Will Take You to Hell” sign, which includes lines such as “Santa’s to blame for the dead soldier’s fate.” Members of the church are known for protesting at the funerals of Iraq War soldiers because they believe the war and the deaths are God’s punishment for the U.S. condoning homosexuality.
The moratorium applies to Westboro’s application, along with pending requests for a Buddhist display, a Jewish banner, a mannequin of Satan holding a statement against atheists and wishing them a merry Christmas, an aluminum pole in celebration of the invented holiday of Festivus, and a “Flying Spaghetti Monster Holiday Display.”
A menorah is still scheduled to go up Dec. 21, since that application had already been approved.
Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org