BELLE PLAINE, Minn. – The petition for a satanic monument to be installed in the Veterans’ Park in Belle Plaine has cleared its final hurdle.
The city is caving in under the threat of a lawsuit from a religious freedom group, reports WCCO.
Alpha News previously reported that a veterans’ memorial including a soldier kneeling at a cross was the subject of some controversy. At one point it was removed, but community push back caused the Belle Plaine City Council to create a “free speech zone” which is designed to hold up to 10 monuments of various religious denominations, as long as they are intended to honor the sacrifices of veterans.
The Satanic Temple, Salem, Massachusetts based organization, got wind of the controversy and moved to place their own monument there. The monument will be a 23-by-23 inch steel cube and will have an inverted pentagram inscribed on each of its sides, along with a an upside-down soldier’s helmet on top of the cube. The helmet is supposed to serve both as a receptacle for flowers or other tokens of respect payers, and as tribute to fallen veterans.
“The Belle Plaine city council was professional at all times. They adopted a clear set of guidelines which they adhered to. There was no push-back,” The Satanic Temple’s Spokesperson Lucien Greaves said in a press release. “Unlike some other localities where public office holders have wasted public funds in losing lawsuits, trying to gain unconstitutional exclusive privilege for their own prefered religious viewpoint. Belle Plaine recognized the legitimacy of our request and followed the law as it applies to public forums.”
City officials told WCCO that the monument has been completed, but that a date for the piece’s installation has not yet been decided on.
The Satanic Temple does not even worship Satan, but is instead a sort of militantly atheist organization focused on working towards a full separation of church and state. The organization has attempted to place monuments at the Oklahoma and Arkansas state capitols as well, where monuments with the Ten Commandments previously stood prior to being destroyed in acts of vandalism.