The Satanic Temple has received an approval from the Michigan State Capitol Commission to place a holiday display on the Capitol lawn in Lansing, according to a press release from the organization.
The request was granted in light of similar permission being given to Christian organizations that want to erect a Nativity scene on the Capitol grounds.
“It’s best to just keep the space neutral from religion,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s attorney Rebecca Markert said. “Once you open up that door you have to allow everything, and you can see that has turned into a circus in other areas of the country.”
Jex Blackmore, whose office is in the Satanic Temple’s Detroit headquarters, agreed, saying that “[w]here there is obstinate refusal to keep religious iconography off of public spaces, the least we can do is ensure that the Government is remaining neutral, respecting a diversity of religious views, with preference for, and exclusion of, none.”
The press release included the following image of the proposed display:
The Satanic Temple is using the same tactic in Michigan as it did in Florida, where for the second year in a row it successfully petitioned the Department of Management Services to allow it present its “holiday display” of a falling Satan alongside traditional Nativity scenes and a beer-can Festivus pole.
The display is also intended as a protest against the Michigan House of Representative’s recent passage of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (MRFRA).
As Blackmore noted, “[m]any of us suspect the MRFRA being short-sighted in that it doesn’t account for the multiple religions that may seek privilege and exemption under its umbrella. We want to make quite clear that we will work to advance our own religious values whenever such avenues are made available to us, and our values may run opposite that of some of the bill’s strongest advocates.”