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More controversy over Satanic Temple display in Rotunda

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet)

I was appalled to learn that Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who manages the operations of the State Capitol, approved a satanic statute for display in the Capitol Rotunda during this holiday season. This absurdity is right next to displays that celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah.

The response given by Secretary White is that the First Amendment requires its display.

As one of the fiercest defenders of the First Amendment, I respectfully point out to Secretary White that his reasoning is terribly wrong.

The First Amendment’s “free exercise clause” specifically guarantees all religions the right to freely exercise their beliefs and practices. In this instance, the Christian and Jewish faiths are engaged in their Constitutional right to “free exercise.” The satanic cult, by its own admission (not to mention the law of common sense), is not a religion – therefore, there is no claim to “free exercise” by such a group.

Indeed, its forced inclusion is robbing the Christian and Jewish believers of their own “free exercise.” Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that government, in this case Secretary White, must force Jewish and Christian believers to include the satanic temple in their holiday celebrations – indeed, such an interpretation can only be made through gross negligence or intentional misapplication.

Yes, the First Amendment allows for free speech, but it also allows for time and place restrictions. For example, if you reserve the public square for a certain time and place for your free speech demonstration – that is your right. However, nothing requires anyone to “double book” the same time and place for another organization – as Secretary White claims.

This is flat-out wrong, disrespectful, and hateful.

Secretary White should have declined this request to “poke people in the eye” – especially during a holiday season of hope, love, and peace.

* Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo)

“My understanding of the law was that the government can create a forum for public comment, but there can be limitations to it … it really depends on the nature of the displays, where they’re allowing the speech to take place, so I felt like the notice that was in the rotunda was not 100 percent legally correct,” he said.

Schimpf said the purpose of his letter was to ask the Secretary of State to “take a look at the issue again and remove the satanic monument because unlike the other two monuments that were there, it did not celebrate any type of religious holiday. It’s meant to present an opposing viewpoint to the Christian and Jewish displays that are in there … just saying that your display must celebrate a religious holiday, I think that’s viewpoint neutral. I don’t think you’re censoring anybody with that.”

* Except, in the past, the SoS allowed a Festivus pole to be placed near the tree

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally created by author Daniel O’Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 Seinfeld episode “The Strike,” which O’Keefe’s son, Dan O’Keefe, co-wrote.

* And

“The display is an affirmation of our own beliefs, not an attack on anyone else’s beliefs,” [Lex Manticore, Satanic Temple-Chicago spokesperson] said. “I think misrepresenting us as attacking or this being a stunt is a misrepresentation of our intentions.”

[Lux Armiger, chairperson and co-chapter head] said The Satanic Temple is “a non-theistic religious organization determined to halt the dangerous encroachment of theocracy into American government.” […]

“The winter solstice is the catalyst for the other holidays of this wintertime,” Manticore said.

“The secular American tradition of x-mas … is something that is for everyone because it is a national holiday,” he said.

* Meanwhile

A group of about 40 Catholics assembled in front of the Capitol on Sunday afternoon, praying a “rosary of reparation” and asking the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to remove a display by the Satanic Temple-Chicago from the Capitol rotunda. […]

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, a Catholic group headquartered in Pennsylvania, organized the Sunday prayer and has a petition on its website for the Snaketivity’s removal.

“No government entity should promote the father of lies, as this is contrary to the good they are called to uphold in society,” Preston Noell, with the society’s Chicago chapter, said Sunday. “These public Satanic offenses are a direct mockery of Christ’s nativity and these attacks must be met with opposition, which we are adhering to with prayer.”

Noell said the Satanic display was one of several attempts to “shut down” Christians and “attack Christian civilization.”

* Druker gets the last word

Because the Capitol rotunda is a public place and the display wasn’t funded by taxpayer dollars, Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker said the group has the same rights as other religious organizations to put a display there.


  1. - Montrose - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:38 pm:

    What’s the term conservatives use all the time when talking about liberals? Virtue signaling?

  2. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:38 pm:

    Chapin wrote that while wearing his full Chief Illiniwek costume.

  3. - Numada - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:38 pm:

    ’tis the season for Republican snowflakes

  4. - The Real Captain - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:39 pm:

    Given the news don’t Catholic Priests have better things to be doing?

  5. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    I don’t understand why anyone cares what other people believe.

  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    Of course Druker’s right. Too bad his stance doesn’t excite the downstate base of the Republican party as much as opposition to it does.

  7. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    Rose is a complete meatball. He has proven time and again that he does not require a command of the facts to render another one of his pointless rants.

    Rose, who attacked the new Illinois Learning standards needs to go back to civics class and learn a bit more about the constitution and the 27 amendments.

  8. - Gallactic Cupcake - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    Chapin knows better.

  9. - slow down - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    So Chapin Rose gets to decide what is and isn’t a religion? No thanks.

  10. - Perrid - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    Let them have the stupid display. The Satanists are trolls, that is why they call themselves Satanists, and they are waving a red flag at you and you are charging at it full tilt. Jeez guys, this isn’t hard.

    That being said, this is laughable: “The display is an affirmation of our own beliefs, not an attack on anyone else’s beliefs”.
    They are a group of atheists -excuse me, non-theists-, putting up a display implying only stupid or ignorant people, those without knowledge, believe in religion. Yeah, not attacking anyone.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:52 pm:

    Mr. Rose is worried about a statue.

    Mr. Rose cared less about destroying UIUC during the 99th General Assembly.

    Mr. Rose has his priorities continually messed up. It’s a pattern.

  12. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    The First Amendment also guarantees Freedom of Speech.

    If they don’t like it there then ban all displays. You don’t get to pick and choose.

  13. - TominChicago - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    Perrid. If in fact that was there goal, it’s safe to say “Mission Accomplished.”

  14. - Huh? - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    “’tis the season for Republican snowflakes”

    Nuts. My snow blower is broke with a blizzard on the way.

  15. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Calm down everyone…it’ll be gone in a couple of weeks.

  16. - Huh? - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    “it’ll be gone in a couple of weeks.”

    Yeah so. You are missing the point. The republicans are trying to whip up media attention and stay relevant.

  17. - illini - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    @Willy - a pattern of messed up priorities, indeed.

  18. - OneMan - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:09 pm:

    Just because some constituents call in doesn’t mean you have to do something.

  19. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:10 pm:

    As the Grandson of Man, I can attest that those who are wrapped up in symbolism of religious decorations and not in moral substance are far away from the Kingdom. The religious symbols are among the “flowing robes” that the Son of Man called phony.

  20. - SinkingShip - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:22 pm:

    ===putting up a display implying only stupid or ignorant people, those without knowledge, believe in religion. Yeah, not attacking anyone.===

    To quote Radiohead, “just ’cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.”

  21. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:23 pm:

    Grandson of a Man gets it right. Well stated sir.

  22. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    Rose and Schimpf should personally cover the legal bills for taking the display away and the inevitable lawsuit that would follow.

  23. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    “Knowledge is the greatest gift.”

    “implying only stupid or ignorant people, those without knowledge, believe in religion. ”

    That’s quite a stretch. I think a short nap would be in order.

  24. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    The satanic cult, by its own admission (not to mention the law of common sense), is not a religion – therefore, there is no claim to ‘free exercise’ by such a group.

    Rose’s public exercise of ignorance explains why he’s so offended by a display that reads, “Knowledge is the greatest gift.”

    – MrJM

  25. - Harvest76 - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    When did Satanism cease to be a religion? Does Chapin Rose not have Google? Is there any irony in using the silencing of a religious voice in the public square to extol the virtues of religious freedom?

  26. - Moe Berg - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:30 pm:

    Total win win: anti-theists get publicity they could not have possibly afforded to purchase, right wingers get an opportunity for some political and, no doubt, financial grifting:

    “Please Jim Bob and Betty Sue, send $50, $100, $500…whatever you can spare to help the Conservative Action Fund fight the devil here on earth.”

  27. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:31 pm:

    “As one of the fiercest defenders of the First Amendment”

    This is what your letter was about
    You want to be perceived “As one of the fiercest defenders of the First Amendment”
    At the same time you commit the perfidy
    of denying it.
    You are perfidious
    Per-false fide-faith

  28. - Shemp - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:34 pm:

    There always seems to be a number of attorneys that don’t understand law and court rulings. I never understand how they get into and through law school.

  29. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:43 pm:

    ” I never understand how they get into and through law school.” Thoughts and prayers?

  30. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:47 pm:

    A priceless treasure of America—nay, that which was paid for in blood—is keeping church and state separate. That means if government allows one religious symbol on the People’s property, it must allow them all.

    Happy Holidays.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:48 pm:

    - illini -

    More and more, as Rauner leaves the stage, we are seeing folks who were part of the 99th Raunerite Caucuses losing sight of what is important to the districts and state, and trying to embrace ignorance to issues, the district and state needs, and building a party.

    Mr. Rose is one is one of those individuals.

  32. - flea - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    Jesse White should issue yellow safety vests to these two guys so others know to watch out for them.

  33. - Anonymous one - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 5:07 pm:

    This seems like a pretty sane take:

  34. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 5:10 pm:

    ==Just because some constituents call in doesn’t mean you have to do something. ==

    The reason those constituents are calling in is because the Republican legislators keep calling people’s attention to the display.

  35. - Keyser Soze - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 5:14 pm:

    An easy out might have been to tell the Satanists no. But, you can always sue us.

  36. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 5:29 pm:

    Not using my usual name here.

    I may be the only practicing Pagan that stops in at CapFax, but I wouldn’t swear to that.

    In my opinion, *none* of these religious displays should be allowed on public property.

    BTW, Satanists aren’t well thought of by the majority of the Pagan community. Buncha showboats.

  37. - Perrid - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 5:35 pm:

    Quite a stretch? OK, what’s your interpretation of atheists preaching about how important knowledge is, in the middle of displays celebrating religion? I agree they were subtle enough to cry foul when they get called on it, plausible deniability and all that, but the implication is there.

  38. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 6:09 pm:

    “OK, what’s your interpretation of atheists preaching about how important knowledge is, in the middle of displays celebrating religion?”

    That these atheists think that knowledge is important.

    No interpretation is necessary.

    – MrJM

  39. - Threepwood - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 6:24 pm:

    Perrid, the entire point is that no religious displays should be present. The Capitol rotunda should not be a place for pushing viewpoints on religion, pro or con, and FFRF and ST both feel even their displays shouldn’t actually be allowed. If the Temple display didn’t rub some people the wrong way, it wouldn’t work toward that end.

    I do think you’re stretching to suggest it called the religious stupid, but that’s irrelevant; the words are mild but the design itself is inflammatory, which is the point.

  40. - A 400lb. Guy on a bed - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 6:29 pm:

    “I will not carve windows into men’s souls.”

  41. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 6:48 pm:

    Hurt feelings over a display that is nonviolent, does not incite violence nor does it in anyway promote violence is what the ILGOP thinks is pressing?

    It’s a freedom of speech issue, even speech you disagree with is protected in the public square. Instead of demonstrating against it, calling attention to it, ignore it if your feelings are hurt. ILGOP, pick your battles, don’t die on this hill, it’s not of importance.

  42. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 7:09 pm:

    =but the implication is there.=

    No, there is no implication. They stated what their thoughts are very clearly. No ambiguity.

    As MrJM stated in the way that only he can- They believe knowledge is important.

    The state capitol isn’t hallowed ground for religious expression.

    In fact, given the pervasiveness of religiosity it is the protection of speech that is outside what some consider the norm that is more at home in the capitol than religious expression.

    Our founding fathers believed/knew something that mopes like Rose and others (who would be very comfortable in Salem Massachusetts circa 1692) and that is that the unpopular speech, the speech that the masses may not like is precisely the speech that must be protected.

    Good luck with your new era crusades. I am sure you can get Chapin Rose to help.

  43. - Perrid - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 7:35 pm:

    I really don’t think I’m wrong when I connect the dots here. People who think all religions are wrong went out of their way to put up a display celebrating knowledge, in direct response to public displays of religion. The group says their entire purpose is “to halt the dangerous encroachment of theocracy into American government”, or to push back against religion, at least in some specific ways, and I’m not supposed to use the groups credo as context to interpret the motives behind their actions?
    Again, they can say whatever they want to say, I’m not advocating for taking it down. I just think they’re jerks.

  44. - Perrid - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 7:47 pm:

    Heh, I think I came up with a kinda funny/silly analogy that comes pretty close to my point. Imagine being in a room with someone and they go “I really like breath mints. They’re so good. Do you want one?”
    It would not be silly to think they are telling you your breath stinks. Now the analogy breaks down a bit because giving people a breath mint isn’t rude, but it’s close. Here, I don’t think it’s silly to think they are implying people who disagree with them lack knowledge.

  45. - A Jack - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 8:03 pm:

    So whatever happened to turning the other cheek?

  46. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 8:16 pm:

    =I just think they’re jerks=


    I think that if I have to hear people’s religious testimony then
    they can deal with other views.

    Meatballs like Rose and Schrimpf don’t know anything about or care about the constitution and they can bite me bigly.

  47. - Perrid - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 8:29 pm:

    JS Mill, I’d say there’s a difference between someone telling you what God (or whoever) means to them and a religious person implying or outright saying that you are immoral for not believing in their faith system. Those people are jerks, too. And I agree about Scrimpf and Rose.

    Have a good one.

  48. - Threepwood - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:01 pm:

    “I’m not supposed to use the groups credo as context to interpret the motives behind their actions?”

    …when ST pulls their monuments the moment the original offender is removed? When FFRF has stated since the beginning their intent is to end this type of forum? I’d say not.

    If they were seeking to establish a public forum where none existed and post their displays alone, then I might find cause to doubt their stated intent. Their actions and statements do not support your interpretation, at least not if your interpretation is that this is primarily an exercise in religion-bashing.

    And hey, it’s fine for people to tell me about their religion. But I’d really like to know what unmet need was fulfilled by placing a display about it in the literal physical center of our State government.

    I get the impression you’re mostly concerned that it’s rude to challenge privilege like this…? Regardless, I mean nothing hostile here, and I think we mostly agree about the broader situation.

  49. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:13 pm:

    –A group of about 40 Catholics assembled in front of the Capitol on Sunday afternoon–

    The Attorney General released a report today about the Catholic Church failing to release the names of 500 child abusers.

    But a statue at the Capitol is what motivates them to take action.

    There’s tone-deaf, and then there’s this.

  50. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:23 pm:

    “Perrid, the entire point is that no religious displays should be present.”

    That really is the bottom line. All religious displays should stay off of government property. People have so much private property on which to display their religious symbols—which also makes America great—the free expression of religion on so much private property and on persons.

    If any religious institution should get government recognition, it’s the Church of Cannabis. It’s first commandment is don’t be an [rhymes with glass bowl], a very worthy aspiration.

  51. - Harvest76 - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:25 pm:

    What TheInvisibleMan said. All day. What have our religious establishments become when silencing other religious beliefs takes precedent over cleaning one’s own house?

  52. - Harvest76 - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 9:27 pm:

    Thank you, Grandson of Man. How did this become a thing? I’d be happy if religious idolatry was not a part of my government.

  53. - Glenn - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:05 pm:

    Hold on folks.

    Because God doesn’t really exist, gods are nothing more than big nothings.

    Therefore, believers in the gods named God are nihilists.

    This is why religious people can so easily dismiss the relevance of their bad behavior with a little Hocus Pocus.

  54. - Filmmaker prof - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 10:27 pm:

    I swear there are some words about religion before the free exercise part. Hmm … establish something … can’t remember so I guess it doesn’t count.

    Oh yes, and Chapin, let me clear something up for you. As a representative of the Jewish people, I’d like to inform you that we know whenever someone says Judeo-Christian or Jewish and Christian, it’s always followed by something we are against.

  55. - Nick Name - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 8:53 am:

    ===In my opinion, *none* of these religious displays should be allowed on public property.===

    Well, it’s all or nothing. And if it’s the latter choice, then probably even the lights on the Capitol dome, which everyone loves, would have to go too.

    Christians need to put on their big boy pants and deal with it.

  56. - Threepwood - Thursday, Dec 20, 18 @ 10:36 am:

    Eh. In my opinion, Christian or Pagan roots regardless, Christmas trees, lights, Santa, reindeer, etc, all go in the “secular holiday” bin, right alongside the Easter Bunny and David S. Pumpkins.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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