Satanic Tem­ple dis­plays sculp­ture

The Sault Star - - LIFE -

SPRING­FIELD, Ill. — A lo­cal chap­ter of The Satanic Tem­ple has been al­lowed to place a statue in the Illi­nois Capi­tol along­side hol­i­day dis­plays of a Nativity scene and a meno­rah. The sculp­ture, called Knowl­edge is the Greatest Gift, de­picts the fore­arm of a woman hold­ing an ap­ple, The State Jour­nal-Reg­is­ter re­ported.

In its ap­pli­ca­tion for the dis­play, The Satanic Tem­ple-Chicago calls it­self a non­the­is­tic or­ga­ni­za­tion that aims to “en­cour­age benev­o­lence and em­pa­thy among all peo­ple.” The group also re­jects tyran­ni­cal author­ity and ad­vo­cates for com­mon sense and jus­tice, the ap­pli­ca­tion said.

Illi­nois Sec­re­tary of State spokesman Dave Druker said the group has the same rights as other re­li­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions to have a dis­play in the ro­tunda.

“Un­der the con­sti­tu­tion, the first amend­ment, peo­ple have a right to ex­press their feel­ings, their thoughts,” Druker said. “This rec­og­nizes that.”

Druker said the state can’t cen­sor the con­tents of a dis­play that is not funded by tax­payer dol­lars be­cause the Capi­tol ro­tunda is a pub­lic place.

The sculp­ture from The Satanic Tem­ple isn’t the only dis­play that chal­lenges main­stream re­li­gious views. The ro­tunda for sev­eral years has a sign from the Wis­con­sin-based Free­dom From Re­li­gion Foun­da­tion that states, “Re­li­gion is but myth and su­per­sti­tion that hard­ens hearts and en­slaves minds.”

In 2008, a Spring­field res­i­dent gained ap­proval to in­stall an alu­minum Fes­tivus pole in the ro­tunda, in part as a mes­sage to law­mak­ers that the State­house shouldn’t fea­ture re­li­gious dis­plays.

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