‘Fauci Claus’ displayed at Florida Capitol
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The latest non-traditional holiday display at the Florida Capitol featured Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health dressed as Santa Claus.
The cardboard cutout of the famous epidemiologist alongside a Festivus Pole comes from a group calling itself Mount Jab Church, the “Holy Church of the Vaccinated.” The one day display on Monday was the latest stunt by Chaz Stevens of Deerfield Beach, an activist who focuses on human rights and separation of church and state.
“Fauci Claus is our way of thanking the good Doc for keeping countless people worldwide alive during the pandemic,” Stevens told WCTV via email. “I’m here talking to you, likely because of Dr. Fauci.”
Alongside Fauci Claus, Stevens also set up “The Grim Carlson.” Stevens says the image of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson as the grim reaper is an ode to “those who bartered death for advertising dollars.”
Florida is not the only target for the provocative displays. He says he has sent similar cutouts to Florida congressman Ted Deutch for display at the U.S. Capitol, one to the National Institutes of Health and one to Fox News. And he has plans for more in Idaho and Georgia.
Stevens first started his non-traditional displays in the Florida capitol rotunda in 2013, putting up a Festivus pole made of empty beer cans in response to the capitol nativity scene. He has erected rainbow Festivus poles in several other state capitols in the years since.
“We got notified that they put a creche, Baby Jesus with the manger up there, and so we applied, and after some hemming and hawing, 26 days I think it was, they let us put our Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus beer can pole up in the Capitol,” Stevens told WCTV in an interview. “The government’s not in the business of moderating what it believes to be speech. I believe: all or nothing.”
“Our role is to openly confront those who hold important positions, whether in government, business, society or religious institutions,” says his website.
Stevens says each cut-out costs $250; he says so far, Texas and Oklahoma have not allowed him to post his display, while Massachusetts, New York, Georgia, and Idaho have.
Stevens, a former tech developer, calls himself the archbishop of Mount Jab Church. He is also CEO of ESAD Int’l, a global organization that provides emotional support animal-related services.
Bizarre and controversial decorations have become a bit of a holiday tradition at the Florida Capitol, including signs by atheist groups, a display by the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” and an altar by the “Satanic Temple” that was vandalized.
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