- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Illinois made sure that, during the Christmas season, Satan gets equal time.

At a ceremony Monday at the Illinois Capitol in Springfield, members of the Satanic Temple of Illinois installed a display of the deity Baphomet as a baby.

They chanted “Hail, Satan” as just a few feet away, members of a Catholic group recited the rosary and held banners reading “Satan has no rights” and “Mary crushes the serpent.”

Members of the Satanic Temple said their exhibition is “a display of positive values” such as pluralism, unity, compassion, and empathy.

Minister Adam, who did not give his surname to Springfield TV station WICS, told the ABC affiliate that the state Capitol “welcomes a diverse range of religions every year to display holiday statues during the holiday season, so we wanted to join in on that.”

The Temple said it had invited Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield to its ceremony, but he did not appear.

A sign from the State of Illinois provided the rationale for allowing Satanic display during Christmas.

“The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to allow temporary, public display in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars. Because the first floor of the Capitol rotunda is a public place, state officials cannot legally censor the content of speech or displays. The United States Supreme Court has held that public officials may legally impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions regarding displays and speech, but no regulation can be based on the content of the speech,” the sign reads, according to video footage of the dedication posted by Satanic Temple members.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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