Satanists Moving Forward with Case Against Belle Plaine, MN

Satanists Moving Forward with Case Against Belle Plaine, MN

Satanists Moving Forward with Case Against Belle Plaine, MN
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The Satanic Temple says the city of Belle Plaine violated the First Amendment.

Larry Frost, the attorney of The Satanic Temple (TST), is moving forward with litigation in which TST has demanded about $35,000 from the town of Belle Plaine[/tweetit] in Minnesota in 2017. Frost is a partner of Bloomington-based Paladin Law PLLC.

Satanists Moving Forward with Case Against Belle Plaine, MN[/tweetthis]

The origins of the problem stem from a Christian monument located at Veterans Memorial Park, a public place in the city. It took the form of a soldier kneeling in front of a certain Christian cross. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), a group which is created specifically to defend the United States' First Amendment, submitted a complaint to the city that the monument clearly violates the separation between the state and the church, compelling the city to remove that monument from the public park for a time.

The city of Belle Plaine soon responded by opening a "limited public forum" making it a free speech zone. The area, the city declared after much public protest, will allow a maximum of 10 or fewer monuments. There is one condition though: all monuments must honor veterans. The Satanic Temple, based out of Salem, MA, responded by submitting to the city a design which was subsequently approved. A public outcry happened soon after, and the city in July 2017 eliminated the public forum sans prior warning. The authorities disallowed any kinds of monument to be constructed in the park. The Satanic Temple reacted by saying the change was a breaking of contract and the action clearly violated First Amendment rights.

The Satanists demanded the Belle Plaine city pays them back $35,000 which they spent on the yet unfinished display. They offered the argument that The Satanic Temple followed all the rules only to see the city break their "contract" at the last second. The Satanists lost not only time but also money. Martin Flax, the previous attorney representing The Satanic Temple, sent the monetary demand. The $35,000, he wrote, would cover the expense of fabricating a monument which will honor veterans. Frost replaced Flax as he worked in Minnesota and stated that he has filed a case against the city and is in the process of gathering witnesses. This action came after Frost dispatched a letter on October 1 to the city of Belle Plaine demanding that the city either pays $40,000 or about $5,000 and the right to erect a monument on the Temple's behalf.

Robert Vose, the city's attorney, responded promptly. He claimed the demands made by the temple had factual inaccuracies. He referenced the check bearing the $100 amount which Belle Plaine gave to The Satanic Temple as an application fee refund, adding that the city bears no further responsibility. Frost said his client has not cashed the check.


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