Although it may seem silly to some, Safdie adds, "The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a pile of noodles and meatballs, but it is meant to open up discussion and provoke thought. Being able to put up a statue is a celebration of our freedom as Americans; a freedom to be different, to express those differences, and to do it amongst neighbors — even if it is in a noodley way."
Safdie was not available for comment at press-time.
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."
Hill said there have been some requests for displays which have been turned down and each request is looked at on the merit of the display.
On Good Friday a chainsaw-carved statue of Jesus carrying the cross was placed on the lawn, along with the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a play of the Stations of the Cross was acted out by the Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice.
"This is a group of various denominations brought together to bring awareness to the injustices of today," said Joe Gittings.
Gittings said the group also hosts peace displays or demonstrations at the courthouse each Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m.
Gittings said he appreciates the opportunity the county is allowing.
Anyone wishing to erect a display is required to go to the county mayor's office and fill out a building and grounds committee application for use of the courthouse grounds. The applicant must be a Cumberland County resident. The application is reviewed and then either approved or rejected by the county mayor.