The state of Florida has agreed to allow the Satanic Temple to put up a holiday display in the state’s capitol building alongside displays from other world religions.
This comes one year after the religion of Pastafarianism was allowed to place a holiday display in the state’s capitol next to other religious displays, but denied the Satanic Temple the same right. According to Slate, the government of Florida called the temple’s display then, “grossly offensive.”
This year, according to io9, the temple reapplied for permission to put up a holiday display with the backing of some free speech groups such as the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The temple and these free speech groups reportedly, “threatened to sue Florida for violating the temple’s free speech rights if the state refused to permit its display.”
Spokesman for the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves said, according to Miami CBS Local, “the difference seems to be in the fact that this time around we arrived with lawyers.” Greaves continued by saying, “We hope that, this holiday season, everybody can put their religious differences aside and respect that the celebratory spirit of responsible hedonism is available to all.”
Not all Floridians are upset with this decision to allow the Satanic Temple to place a holiday display next to other religious displays.
The president of the Florida Prayer Network, Pam Olsen, said she does not have a problem with other groups putting up displays since it is their right to freedom of speech. However, she said she is worried people are putting up displays in opposition to her group’s nativity scene rather than to wish people a happy holiday.
“This is not a religious endorsement by our state government. It’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and we will all be up there,” said Olsen in a statement. “But are they really putting them up to wish everyone a happy holiday from the atheists and the Satanists?”
The holiday display from the Satanic Temple is said to be a picture of an angel falling into a pit of hell fire.