A Minnesota town is learning to “be careful what you wish for” after a fight to keep a Christian-themed veterans monument has resulted in a Satanic monument to be placed on the site as well.
The Satanic Temple has been granted to erect a memorial to fallen soldiers in the Belle Plaine Veterans Memorial Park, placing the monument next to “Joe”, a two-foot-tall steel silhouette of a soldier kneeled next to a memorial cross.
The memorial’s controversy was stemmed from the threat of a city lawsuit -one that concerned the separation of church and state- after someone complained about having a religious symbol on public property. Fearing a major fallout in court, the city removed the cross.
Over 100 residents gathered to demand the restoration of the cross, prompting leadership to designate a “free speech zone” in the park where 10 of fewer temporary memorials could be placed, so long as they honor veterans.
In addition to the return of the cross, the Satanic Temple of Salem, Massachusetts is planning to erect a black cube, complete with pentagrams and an upturned M1 helmet.
Artist Chris P. Andres explained back in February that the memorial represents, in part, “humanistic perfection through curiosity and reason.”
“The four pentagrams recall the four corners of the Earth — they serve as a reminder to the viewer of the satanic/pagan symbols/ideas sacred to soldiers that sacrificed. The black is a cold memory in mourning and a field of mystery and imagination. The gold is a Luciferian light reflecting light onto the view like a sacred icon,” Andres said.
“The empty helmet is now a Baphometic bowl of wisdom, a void, a protective vessel of the mind and intellect. Memories of the fallen can be psychically deposited, physical notes, names, fruit offering can be left in the monument. This monument produces an interaction. It resembles a ritualistic sacrament as if it’s to be used for something,” he added.
According to Christian activist Andy Parrish, who led the movement to restore the cross, “Everyone understood this could happen. It’s more annoying than it is offensive.”
Verily, the town of 6,700 overwhelmingly found themselves at odds with the cross’ removal, taking drastic steps such as erecting crosses all over down and ensuring protesters were found at the park every day.
“The residents feel a sense of duty,” Parrish told an overflow crowd at a February City Council meeting. “Our veterans defended us and it’s our duty to defend them.”
While the cross is argued to represent a grave marker more than a crucifix, the fact that the memorial is in a public place and not a graveyard does not exempt it from Constitutional scrutiny. Despite the fact that the town is overwhelmingly Christian, the town must now contend with Luciferians and atheists who wish to make their mark.
“Nothing is bulletproof, that’s for sure,” City Administrator Mike Votca said of the limited public forum policy. “But I think it’s as fair as it can be, which is really what we’re trying to achieve to eliminate the chance of lawsuits.”
Reason Alliance (a nonprofit wing of the Satanic Temple) founder Doug Mesner said his organization was prepared to sue had they been denied the ability to erect the cube.
“It’s a sad state of affairs when any one religious group feels persecuted because they don’t have exclusive privilege on the public grounds,” Mesner said.
According to the Star Tribune, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is looking to construct their own “Atheists in foxholes” monument.
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