Members of the Satanic Temple of Illinois traveled to the Illinois Capitol in Springfield to install a Satanic display in the rotunda alongside a Christian nativity scene already present. The Satanic display mocks Christianity with a statue of Baphomet as a baby.
The Stanic Temple members allege the display is meant to recognize the holiday of Sol Invictus. However, the Sol Invictus Holiday is grounded in ancient Greek and Roman polytheism and unrelated to the Baphomet Satanic figure.
A group of Satanists stood around the display and offered praise of the statue and Satan, saying: “We invite you today to bring wisdom, justice, rationality… equality, tolerance, and passion…” and chanting “Hail Satan”.
The Satanists were drowned out by a massive group of Catholic protestors praying on their knees. The protestors held signs which read, “Satan has NO rights!” and “Begone Satan! Mary Crushes the Serpent”
The Catholic Bishop of Springfield criticized the Satanic display, describing it as a mockery of religion for political purposes. A Diocese of Springfield spokesperson said, “Mocking the millions of Christians in the state of Illinois and billions around the world by depicting the baby Jesus this Christmas with the ‘satanic deity’ Baphomet is the very definition of evil and causing division, but that is to be expected from an organization that is in existence to troll people of faith.”
The State of Illinois put a sign in the rotunda by the displays which says, “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.”
This is the third year in which the Satanists have installed a display in the Illinois Capitol. In 2019, they installed a display called “Knowledge is the Greatest Gift” which depicted the forearm of a biblical Eve reaching for an apple, besides a snake.