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Satanic Temple Display Approved for State Capitol, With Festivus Beer Pole and Nativity

| December 5, 2014

This time, it's been approved.

This time, it’s been approved.

The Satanic Temple is being welcomed this year inside Florida’s Capitol.

And along with a pair of nativity scenes and other secular presentations, Festivus, a non-commercial festival “for the rest of us,” is close to coming back as a 6-foot stack of empty beer cans.

The Florida Department of Management Services this week approved the proposed holiday display from the Satanic Temple, which a year ago was rejected because the agency said its proposal was “grossly offensive.”

The temple’s entry was one of five displays that got approval to be put up in the first-floor rotunda of the Capitol for the end-of-year holiday period.

Two additional requested displays, including one to mark the sitcom-created Festivus holiday, are pending final approval.

The state agency offered no explanation with its approval of the displays.

John Tupps, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott, deferred comment to the department.

“DMS makes the rules for the Capitol,” Tupps said.

Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the Satanic Temple, said in an email that “the difference seems to be in the fact that this time around we arrived with lawyers.”

The temple, which threatened to sue after being rejected last year but never took action, is scheduled to put up its display Dec. 22.

The approved display will banner the phrase “Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple” atop a diorama of an angel falling into hell.

“We hope that, this holiday season, everybody can put their religious differences aside and respect that the celebratory spirit of responsible hedonism is available to all,” Greaves said in the email.

Pam Olsen, who is president of the Florida Prayer Network and also submitted the application for an approved nativity scene for the International House of Prayer Tallahassee, said she doesn’t have a problem with the others putting up displays. However, she questioned the motives of people who again are putting up displays in reaction to the Florida Prayer Network’s introduction of a nativity scene into the Capitol last year.

“This is not a religious endorsement by our state government. It’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and we will all be up there,” Olsen said. “But are they really putting them up to wish everyone a happy holiday from the atheists and the Satanists, or are they up there to protest baby Jesus?”

Last year, a nativity joined a Hanukkah menorah and Christmas trees that had been displayed for years on the first floor of the Capitol.

Department of Management Services spokesman Ben Wolf said in an email the state agency is waiting for Deerfield Beach resident Chaz Stevens, the sponsor of the Festivus pole, and the American Atheists of Tallahassee, to select the seven-day period for their displays to be set up.

Stevens, whose irreverent display made from Pabst Blue Ribbon cans went up last year to make a point about the need for a separation between church and state, said Wednesday he intends to ask for his display to go up Dec. 15, the same day the Florida Prayer Network’s nativity scene can be put up.

“The proud tradition continues forward for another year,” Stevens said Wednesday. “I’m trying to be just a little more professional this year. I’m going on Craigslist to see if I can find a mariachi band to bring along.”

Festivus is a “holiday” created for the TV sitcom “Seinfeld” as a non-commercial festival “for the rest of us” in the Christmas and year-end holiday season.

The atheist group, meanwhile, plans a poster that says “Celebrate the true meaning of Xmas,” and offers random words that include “charity,” “family,” “Rockettes,” “hot chocolate,” and “Chinese food.”

The state agency also approved a “Happy Winter Solstice” banner from the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and an entry from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The spaghetti monster, which is more often associated with opposition to the introduction of creationism and intelligent design as science in public schools than the year-end holidays, last year was represented by a pile of shredded paper on an office chair.

A change by the Department of Management Services from a year ago is that displays are being limited to seven days, rather than being given open-ended dates to go up and come down.

There is also a minimum fine of $100 for groups that don’t remove their displays on time.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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37 Responses for “Satanic Temple Display Approved for State Capitol, With Festivus Beer Pole and Nativity”

  1. confidential says:

    Given the extremism shown I would say forbid all religious displays and problem solved, no more satanic eyesores to be endured by children and adults.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Isn’t that what the Founders decided to do? Didn’t they pretty much predict this is how silly it would turn out if we let any interaction begin between the Church and the State?

    • William Caliou says:

      That is exactly the response that the people putting up the Satanic display are looking for. Another nudge toward secular progressiveism, so sheeple can avoid controversy. This Satanic display deserves nothing more then a ridicule and maybe some sarcastic humor.

  2. James says:

    I think we need a new law for STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Lin says:

    Yes to freedom of religion
    I laughed at festivus for the rest of us too
    But Christmas is about Christ. I understand Chanukah is same time of year and like to see the displays — but these other beliefs?
    The logical part of my brain wonders Why other beliefs seem to need to have their displays up during a holiday they don’t believe in
    They need to be in the face of Christians? Not nice.
    Some atheists are without a deity but some are anti diety and anti religion — not for the freedom of religion our country was founded on. Having my issues with organized religion and even feeling somewhat agnostic for a brief time, the freedom from religion mocking of someone’so beliefs is going much too far for me.

    • John Smallberries says:

      Jesus wasn’t born during the winter, he was most probably born during the summer or early fall. Early christians moved the date of his birth to the 25th to more closely mirror that of winter solstice, thereby making christianity more attractive to pagans.

      So yeah, these other displays are up for exactly the same reason that the ones celebrating christmas are. To expose other people to their faith.

      • JW Rodgers says:

        Jesus was reportedly born in the southern hemisphere (south of the equator). The seasons are reversed from what we experience here in Florida in the northern hemisphere. December there is late spring or summer.

        • John Smallberries says:

          Wrong, bethlehem sits around 32 degrees north of the equator, making it as farther into the northern hemisphere than florida is.

  4. CarleyB says:

    Wow..this country is clearly in the hands of Satan…GOD help us

  5. Elmo says:

    I want a display about ALIENS. Why can’t I have a display about ALIENS ? Little Grey Creatures with Big eyes and long fingers about 3ft tall. Hey, I belong to the Alienanity religion . I want…I want…I want…I want… I want…I want…I want………America the land of narcissist and atheist .

  6. JIM R. says:

    Just watch the news and what is going on in Iraq ,Syria and israel and you will have to come to the conclusion that religion is a curse on humanity.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Freedom of religion. …..God bless it!

  8. hello says:

    This is very scary. Hopefully the young kids will have some spiritual background and know that this is BS. GOD help us all.

  9. blondee says:

    Well that’s Flori-duh for you!!

  10. unacceptable says:

    It is apparent that this is intended only to offend Christians who are supposedly the intolerant ones. It should be noticed, as if it is not entirely evident that the further this once great nation gets from God where we were in fact founded the worse off we get. No morals, no beliefs, standards or ethics, however it is OK to have this nonsense in our capitol?

  11. Yellowstone says:

    Stand tall Floridians . . . This is our country. This is our profound display demonstrating to all America’s 50 states who ‘we’ really are: “Of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

    Isn’t this a great state (of affairs) . . . or whatever you call it?

  12. Sherry Epley says:

    Lest we forget. . . here is just a tiny sample of historic atrocities by Christians:

    Religious Wars

    15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]
    1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]
    1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain. [DO31]
    1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]
    17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, “cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals… and then dumped him into the river […but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [… and] dragged what was left … to the gallows of Montfaulcon, ‘to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows’.” [SH191]
    17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. “In a single church fifty women were found beheaded,” reported poet Friedrich Schiller, “and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers.” [SH191]
    17th century 30 years’ war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]

    Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.
    In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]
    17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]
    The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities’ Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]
    First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]
    Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]
    Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]
    Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]
    1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]
    1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]
    1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]
    1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]
    1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]
    1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]
    1391 Seville’s Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored “badges of shame” that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.
    1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492. [MM470-476]
    1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain. [DO43]
    (I feel sick …) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz.

    Native Peoples

    Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.
    Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, “ought to be good servants … [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion.” [SH200]
    While Columbus described the Indians as “idolators” and “slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order,” his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as “beasts” because “they eat when they are hungry,” and made love “openly whenever they feel like it.” [SH204-205]
    On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, “making the declarations that are required” – the requerimiento – to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And “nobody objected.” If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:
    I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you … and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church … and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him.” [SH66]

    Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: “justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England … to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, … and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ.” [SH235]
    In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of “the marvelous goodness and providence of God” to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as “for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” [SH109,238]
    On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead. [SH204]
    The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and spanish raids.
    As one of the culprits wrote: “So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous.” [SH69]
    The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As “they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell.” [SH70]
    What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
    “The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties … They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles… then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive.” [SH72]
    Or, on another occasion:
    “The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts…Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs.” [SH83]
    The “island’s population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus’s arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out.” Eventually all the island’s natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were “forced” to import slaves from other caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus “the Caribbean’s millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century”. [SH72-73] “In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated.” [SH75]
    “And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitln [Mexico city] was next.” [SH75]
    Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).
    “When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead.” [SH95]

    • Outsider says:

      Can you provide a little more recent examples of a mainstream Christian church advocating any type of atrocity on another human being?

      “It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!” – Patrick Henry

    • God is Good says:

      Can you make any direct connection between the teachings of Jesus and the evil that people who called themselves Christians did? They have done infinitely more good than bad. Have you benefited from any of the services mentioned in the link? I’m sure you have. Thank Jesus Christ!


    I was going to say that if they let the Satanists and the Festivusites put up displays, they need to let the Pastafarians have one. Then toward the end of the story I saw they’d been approved. If you’re going to ridicule my beliefs, at least do it with a little flair.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      It is my most fervent belief that all of these poor unknowing infidels realize the blessing and peace that comes from being Touched by His Noodly Appendage. And the irrelevant guilt that comes from the knowledge that He boiled for your sins.

  14. Earl Monroe says:

    Happy Festivus everybody!

  15. Lin says:

    I wish I could say I’m surprised at the intolerance.

    I would rather try to find some understanding of other people’s faith and their values rather than dig up centuries-old accusations of atrocities. Faith is personal so I won’t try to justify it to anyone. But there is freedom of religion still in our country. And those who would cry for justice for those oppressed should look at their own religious prejudice.

  16. Robert L. says:

    Per the Channel 9 website (, on Saturday, 2014-12-06, President Obama declared December 26, 2014 (the day after CHRISTMAS) a Federal Holiday. That was the day after the Worldwide recognized Birth of Christ. Long Live Christianity.

    • Nancy N says:

      I’m not sure what your point is?

      December 25th is already a Federal holiday. This year, because the 25th is a Thursday, the president signed an order making the 26th (Friday) a holiday as well – giving Federal employees a four day weekend for Christmas.

      The order had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with labor relations.

  17. MEME says:


  18. Rick Gardner says:

    The simple solution to all of this religious and other crap is to just put up a “HAPPY HOLIDAYS SIGN” and be done with it.

  19. Sherry Epley says:

    For those forgetting more modern “NO NOs” by the Christians. . . try researching the Nazi movement or the Catholic priests molestations.

    Look, all I’m trying to say here is that religion, any religion, is not the end all be all when it comes to goodness in the world. Religions are based on “human” philosophy and spirituality. Just like humans, when they become too powerful, they become corrupt and move away from leading their followers towards a higher place of consciousness.

    Going beyond the rhetoric of religious dogma. . . the healthy evolution of our species begins with each one of us. . . living our lives in “non-judgemental” ways. Being open to and honoring the diversity of our human uniqueness. Understanding that every person has a right to exist peacefully on the earth. We should be united in the evolution of the common good of our community, culture, society, nation, planet and universe. We are all, each one of us, regardless of faith, skin color, nationality, gender, sexual preference, blessings to each other and to our planet! Shouldn’t we, every day, strive to remember who we really are, and act accordingly?

    Wishing each one of you the blessings and security of a full belly in addition to fellowship, love, peace and joy in this wonderful holiday season!

  20. Tom says:

    In the words of Jesus – forgive them father for they know not what they do.

  21. Will says:

    Perhaps the answer to some of this is to reduce the number of churches, I’ve heard it said. Maybe churches can be limited to having preachers who actually have a divinity degree from a recognized college or university, and who actually know something about comparative religions.

    Obviously this would be tough to police and we don’t want the government licensing churches, but it might cut down on some of the nuts who rant from pulpits like the one in Gainesville or the other one from Kansas.

    This might apply to mosques and synogogues as well. Strange versions of Islam and Judiasm pop up out of nowhere from time to time too. Not sure about the Hindus and Budhists.

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