Critics are raising hell over a Satanic sculpture installed this week between a Christmas Nativity scene and a Hanukkah Menorah in the Illinois Statehouse rotunda.
The 4-and-a-half-foot tall display by The Satanic Temple-Chicago Chapter depicts a snake coiled around a young woman’s forearm, as the hand grasps an apple — a reference to the biblical story of Adam and Eve.
“We see Satan as a hero in that story, of course, spreading knowledge,” Lex Manticore, a leader and spokesman for the group, told The State-Journal Register.
But some people gripped that the “Snaketivity,” called “Knowledge is the Greatest Gift,” — is offensive.
“Satanic Temple monument was added to the #Illinois Capitol rotunda displays. They fail to realize that the little baby in the manger has CRUSHED Satan’s head and the gates of hell will NOT prevail,” tweeted Illinois Family Action, an anti-abortion group.
Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker told the paper the Satanic group has the same rights as any other religious organizations to set up 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.”
The state can’t censor a display that isn’t funded by taxpayer dollars because the Capitol rotunda in Springfield is a public space, Druker said.
The Satanic Temple raised over $1,500 on GoFundMe to build and install the statue.
In its application for the display, the group calls itself a nontheistic organization that aims to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people.”
In 2008, a Springfield resident got permission to install an aluminum Festivus pole in the rotunda, referencing the Christmas-alternative popularized in a 1997 episode of “Seinfeld.”
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