The Satanic Temple is trying again this year to get approval to host a holiday display this Christmas season at the Florida Capitol, and they’re hoping that getting their application in early will give them time to respond to objections or concerns.
Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for the New York-based Satanic Temple, told WTSP (Tampa-St. Petersburg) that if the State of Florida is going to allow holiday displays that include a Festivus pole made of beer cans, a display from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and a banner from the Religious Freedom Foundation — all things that were allowed last year — in addition to the stereotypically “Christian” nativity scenes, then the Satanic Temple should be allowed to host their own holiday display.
“In a nation that respects religious liberty, viewpoint discrimination is simply intolerable. For that reason, we feel our holiday display sends a very important, affirmative message that goes above and beyond that of superficial season’s greetings. It’s a message of religious freedom, and Church/State separation expressed in the State’s neutrality.”
Last year, the Satanic Temple petitioned to host a display that depicted an angel falling from Heaven and into the flames of Hell, with the message “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple,” according to Saint Peters Blog. The holiday display was deemed “grossly offensive, and the Satanic Temple remains unclear as to why, since the scene comes directly from the Bible.
“It is not our intention to offend. Like the Nativity scene, it presents an image from a Biblical story, which is shared with other religious traditions besides our own. In addition, a positive sentiment of ‘Happy Holidays’ is displayed.”
The Temple asked for clarification about last year’s rejection and never got it, meaning that the holidays came and went without a Satanic Temple display. By applying early this year, the Temple hopes that they’ll have time to respond to any complaints or objections. Americans United for Separation of Church and State is providing legal counsel.
The Satanic Temple has been involved in a campaign of either “education” or “trolling,” depending upon your point of view, to force states besides Florida to allow them to host displays alongside Christian displays. And in one particularly interesting Florida case, the Temple even handed out children’s books at a public school, according to this Inquisitr report. The Temple’s message is clear: if one religion’s message is going to be allowed — or even promoted — in the public square, then all religions’ messages must be allowed.
“Where one religion is allowed to place displays in the public square, the State cannot adopt a position of preference toward any one.”
Do you believe the Satanic Temple should have the right to host a holiday display in the Florida Capitol? Let us know what you think in the Comments.
[Image courtesy of Tight Rope Forum]