2018-12-06 10:15:14 UTC
Festive Satanic statue added to Illinois statehouse
A satanic group has added its own statue to a series of displays in
the government building of the US state of Illinois to mark the
Placed between a Christmas tree and a menorah, the four-foot sculpture
depicts a snake coiled around an outstretched arm holding an apple.
It's the first display sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the Temple
The state government said the temple had the same right as other
religious groups to have a display.
"Under the Constitution, the First Amendment, people have a right to
express their feelings, their thoughts," Dave Druker, spokesman for
the Illinois secretary of state, told the State Journal-Register.
"This recognises that."
What is the Satanic Temple?
Founded in 2012 in Salem, Massachusetts, the Temple of Satan describes
itself as a non-theistic group that aims to "encourage benevolence and
empathy among all people".
It says its uses satanic imagery to promote the separation of church
and state and to campaign for "practical common sense and justice".
It has 15 official chapterhouses in the US, the biggest of which is
based in Michigan.
The temple was started by Harvard graduate Doug Mesner, known as
"Lucien Greaves", and an individual known as "Malcolm Jerry".
In a speech, Mr Greaves said the group had had "thousands" of
membership applications since the election of US President Donald
Trump in 2016.
Earlier this year, members of a Satanic Temple placed a statue of
Baphomet - a goat-like deity associated with Satanism - outside
Arkansas' statehouse during a First Amendment rally.
The group also settled a $50m copyright lawsuit against Netflix and
Warner Bros last month over a statue of Baphomet used in the TV series
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.