After last year’s holiday display was rejected, the Satanic Temple has recruited legal help for this year’s effort.
It is the holiday season once again, which means that battles over the display of religious icons are already flaring up across the nation. One of the most well-known cases is in Florida. This state has been home to several controversies about the composition of religious displays at its capital building over the last few years, and that battle has been picked up once again. While both sides have made compelling arguments, The Satanic Temple is gaining some support within the legal community.
The Battle So Far
Last year, the Florida Capitol allowed a Christian display to be put up within the confines of the building. This display featured a nativity scene that pleased the Christian faithful, was met with indifference by some, and was ultimately seen as a challenge by atheists and The Satanic Temple. Each group decided to add their own display to the Florida Capitol building, as they were protected under their first amendment rights. Some of the accepted displays were a winter solstice banner and the infamous Flying Spaghetti Monster. However, when it came to putting up a display for The Satanic Temple, their idea was rejected for being “grossly offensive.” In particular, the supposed display featured an angel falling into a pit of fire as well as Bible quotes and wishes for a happy holiday season.
While The Satanic Temple had to sit back and take the rejection last year, this year they are looking to have their display featured, and they have found some legal support to do so. The Americans United for Separation of Church and State has come to the aid of The Satanic Temple in order to the help push their request to have their display placed in time. Their letter states that they offer their support to The Satanic Temple, and that the state would be in violation of several clauses of the first and 14th amendments if they decide to reject their particular piece on the grounds that it is offensive. This year, they have submitted their plans far ahead of time so that they can field any questions or concerns about the matter.
Aside from the tongue-in-cheek religious greetings, The Satanic Temple has offered that their display brings about a message of religious freedom, liberty, and a new viewpoint for those living in the same state. It is unknown whether or not the building will take allow the display to be put up, but it appears as though they are in for a greater fight if they do not.