Just days after Satanic activist and provocateur Chaz Stevens put up an anti-Donald Trump display outside of Deerfield Beach, Florida (right next to a Nativity scene also on the government property), he says he’s being forced to change it.
According to Stevens, City Manager Burgess Hanson informed him that there were so many complaints about the pole that it needed to come down, and another city official adding that there was also case law that said displays like his were only allowed if they were religious. Which is… strange. In part because that rule would unfairly exclude atheistic or secular displays, and also because the city seemed to have no problem with Stevens’ (non-religious) display honoring LGBT rights last year. (Multiple calls to City Attorney Andrew Maurodis to confirm this were unsuccessful.)
(***Update*** (11:24a): After this post went up, Maurodis called back to yell at me for publishing it, adding that “Everything you got was wrong.” When pressed for specifics, he declined to respond.)
Was this really about religion, though? Stevens said he was willing to change the most controversial aspect of the Distress-ivus Pole: The upside-down American flag. He would replace it with a sign reading “Make America Great Again,” but with the word “Trump” cut out of it. The attorney apparently told Stevens that wouldn’t be a problem, making the issue moot.
Stevens also told me that when a photographer went to get a picture of the display on Saturday night, he found that the power cords lighting it up had been physically damaged. Vandals had gotten to the display. Stevens ran to buy a new extension cord… but when he plugged it in, the lights still weren’t working, which he believes suggests someone within the city government was trying to prevent his display from being seen.
Even if this display changes, there’s another Distress-ivus pole — with the original upside-down flag — that just went up in nearby Delray Beach:
Stand by for more whining in 5… 4… 3…
(Edit: This post initially attributed comments from the City Manager to the City Attorney. Stevens has since told me that was incorrect.)