Satanic exhibit inside Illinois Statehouse days before Christmas draws protesters
Religious leaders and others in Illinois were outraged this week, just days before Christmas, when a satanic group unveiled their holiday exhibit inside the Statehouse Rotunda in Springfield.
The exhibit features a sculpture of an infantile version of Baphomet, a satanic goat-like deity, and was installed alongside a traditional Christian Nativity exhibit inside the government building, the State reported. Springfield Journal-Register.
“Glory to Satan!” Members of the Illinois Satanic Temple shouted as a leader identified as Minister Adam described what the display represented to the group, according to a video posted by the newspaper on its website.
“The Capitol annually hosts a wide range of religions to display holiday statues during the holiday season, so we wanted to join in,” the minister told WICS-TV in Springfield.
A few steps away, a group of kneeling demonstrators, some holding rosaries, recited the Christian prayer “Hail Mary”. They also posted signs with slogans such as “Satan has no rights” and “Go, Satan!” Mary crushes the serpent ”.
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The protesters were from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, according to the report.
This is the third year that the Satanic Temple has been granted space inside the Statehouse for an installation, the newspaper reported. No signage was erected last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the report.
A sign posted near exhibits by the State of Illinois explained that the groups were both permitted to display due to First Amendment rights to free speech and worship, as granted by the US Constitution, WICS reported.
“The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to allow temporary public display in the state capital as long as such displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars.” , indicates the sign, according to the report. “Because the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda is a public place, state officials cannot legally censor the content of speeches or displays. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that officials can legally impose reasonable restrictions on time, place and manner on postings and speeches, but no regulation can be based on the content of the speech.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, argued that such facilities “should not have their place in this Capitol or any other place.”
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While the Nativity scene is meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the satanic display is meant to mark the “satanic holiday” called Sol Invictus, the State Journal-Register reported.
The Baphomet figure was created by Chris Andres, a horror artist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to the report.
It was loaned by a group from the Massachusetts Satanic Temple, WICS reported.