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Woman In “Catholic Warrior” Shirt Vandalizes Satanic Temple Display at Florida Capitol

| December 24, 2014


A woman was charged with criminal mischief Tuesday after the Satanic Temple’s holiday diorama in the Florida Capitol was damaged.

Susan Hemeryck, 54, of Tallahassee, entered the Capitol at 11:23 a.m. and told an on-duty police officer that “she was sorry and had to take the Satanic display,” according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement probable-cause affidavit.

When the woman was advised not to remove the temple’s fallen-angel display from its table, the affidavit said Hemeryck “reached forward and began to rip apart the display.”

She was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “Catholic Warrior” when booked for her arrest. “It’s just wrong, when you remove baby Jesus two days before Christmas and put Satan in his place — that just can’t happen. I couldn’t allow it to happen,” Hemeryck said, according to the Associated Press. “I was there at the right time and the right moment, and I needed to take a stand against Satan.”

The first-floor display is set up in the middle of the hallway leading toward the offices of Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott, feet from a post where Capitol police work at metal detectors.

Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the Satanic Temple, said the group may leave the display as is.

“Even if it wasn’t fixable I would be for leaving the smashed remains there for the rest of the time as a testament to the intolerance of some people,” Greaves said. The state Department of Management Services has imposed a new seven-day timeline for items put up in the rotunda. The temple’s diorama went up Monday.

The display includes the phrase “Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple” atop a diorama of an angel falling into hell. The temple, which doesn’t really worship the devil, argues that government should either bar all displays from religious groups at public facilities or allow all groups to display their beliefs, Greaves said.

The criminal mischief charge is a second-degree misdemeanor.

The FDLE valued the diorama at less than $200.

A year ago, the display was barred from the Capitol because it was deemed “grossly offensive” by the Department of Management Services. However, the display won approval this year after threats of a lawsuit.

The display is the latest in a series of irreverent holiday displays from groups motivated by the state’s acceptance of Christian nativity scenes the past two years.

Among the offerings has been a Festivus pole made from beer cans and a dressed-up pile of rope to signify the deity from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

–News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive

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47 Responses for “Woman In “Catholic Warrior” Shirt Vandalizes Satanic Temple Display at Florida Capitol”

  1. Bob Fortier says:

    “We don’t worship the devil”, sure, and I don’t rob banks…now give me the money.
    I think we need a time warp back to the fifties. This women should not be charged. The State should be for allowing for the assault on Christians. Pathetic…

    • Aman says:

      Yeah where good ol’ racism was thriving! AMIRITE!

    • Nancy N says:

      You’re obviously a white Christian male, because the fifties sucked for everyone else. Go back? No thanks. I don’t know how to cook and I don’t look good in an apron and high heels.

  2. Merrill Shapiro says:

    Some people seem to have a great deal of trouble with the US Constitution’s support of free speech, the free interchange of ideas, the right to think for oneself. When will they ever learn?

  3. James says:

    Good for you, our country has turned its back on God and we wonder why society is going to hell.

  4. YankeeExPat says:

    Nice to see that the soldiers fighting the War on Xmas have equipped themselves with silk-screen T shirts!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Someone has to say it: The devil made her do it.

  6. RAKA says:


  7. ??? says:

    Absolutely James, once upon a time this ridiculous display would not have even stood a chance of being on display. Now, society embraces evil, filth, and all manner of morally reputable behavior and look where we are. No respect for life, law or decency. Its as plain as the nose on my face.

    • hello says:

      God needs to step in on this case and release that woman. She did nothing wrong. Arrest those freaks that put that crap their in the first place. Absolute Freaks.

      • Katie says:

        Nice job showing religious tolerance, there, buddy. If I were you, I’d consider rereading what Jesus had to say about other religions, whether or not you agreed with them.

        Way to be in the Christmas spirit.

  8. Sherry Epley says:

    Right On RAKA! There should be NO religious symbols or displays of ANY kind on the property of government buildings!

    While the constitution does not explicitly require a separation of church and state, the intention of the first amendment was clarified in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson and is used widely by the US Supreme court. This from Wikipedia:

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” and Article VI specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The modern concept of a wholly secular government is sometimes credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke, but the phrase “separation of church and state” in this context is generally traced to a January 1, 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper.

    Echoing the language of the founder of the first Baptist church in America, Roger Williams—who had written in 1644 of “[A] hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world”—Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”[1]

    Jefferson’s metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  9. Andy says:

    I believe in the separation of Church and State. Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.

  10. Amom says:

    Guaranteed that wack job watches Fox or listens to talk radio. Those are the only places the SO-CALLED War on Christmas exists. I am so sick of these people getting all wound up over nothing. You worship who you want and LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE!

    Some of these religious nuts are the worst among us!

  11. BIG JOHN says:

    America stopped being a Christian nation a long time ago. Now we fight against Christians on many fronts and support genocidal policies at home and abroad. May God have mercy on us all.

  12. Kyle says:

    Bob, James: If you don’t agree with someone’s religion it still doesn’t make it right to vandalize their property. Now because the woman happens to be of the same religion as you you agree with her actions? That is just intellectually dishonest and lazy. This country was founded on the freedom of religion, not the freedom of religion as long as it’s the one that Bob and James happen to belong to. Don’t be such a hypocrite, if it was a Christian mural or statue that was defaced or destroyed you’d be up in arms. If you think the whole country should adopt the religion and particular deity you worship I have to tell, there are countries in the Middle East that you might be more at home in. Just choose the right god I guess.

  13. Anonymous says:

    lmao you people commenting are insane.You’re ‘assaulted’ by people because of the way you mistreat everyone who’s not Christian. THAT is what is pathetic, that you all fail at the most basic tenet of your religion, BE ACCEPTING OF ALL.

  14. mcderpenstein says:

    Charge her with a hate crime.

  15. Really?! says:

    There is no war on Christians, except in the minds of certain Christians who feel the need to always be the victim of something. It’s sad that certain media outlets continue to exploit this need – rather than recognize the effort to be more inclusive of ALL beliefs – to work people up and boost ratings.

    To the “Catholic Warrior” here, do you think Jesus needs you to destroy the work of someone with a different set of beliefs for him? Why not just practice his teachings of love and tolerance – you know, lead by example?

  16. Anonymous says:

    good for her…

  17. ??? says:

    “Hate Crime’ and ‘Tolerance’ etc….. She did not hurt anyone, and this display was not made by a group of loving, spiritual individuals who actually pray to the ‘dark lord’. In fact, I guarantee that the ones who put it there are just pleased as punch and laughing that this effected a Christian to the point that she got arrested. It was meant for one reason, shock value. 1 on 1 I would gladly argue this to any one of you, and ‘Kyle’. it was not the govt. but an individual that tore this silly mockery of faith down, keep that in mind. So your ‘countries in the middle east’ comment is not valid because the display would not have been up in the first place. And the war on Christians is absolutely as it is just the decline in our society where decency and goodness be it abortion, the family unit, and just a mockery of everything that Christians believe in and if you think this is not relevant in the downfall of our nation that I have and continue to serve under then you are blind. Yes we have the ‘freedom of religion’, but all the signers of the constitution were in fact of the Christian faith and the further we stray from that the weaker we will be as is being proven more and more with every generation.

    • Nancy N says:

      Despite claims to the contrary by “historians” of the religious right, there is little actual evidence that most of the men whom we call the country’s “Founding Fathers” were in fact Christian. Most of the available writings by that group points more towards most of them being deists, not religious Christians – a significant distinction.

  18. confidential says:

    In order to avoid these satanic displays then void all religious displays in our government buildings! Total solution! I do not charge this woman except vandalism.

  19. Kyle says:

    We are not a Christian nation, that’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

    “We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
    ~Founding Father George Washington

    “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
    ~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by Founding Father John Adams

    “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
    ~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson

    “The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
    ~Founding Father James Madison

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
    ~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson

    “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it’s a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”
    ~Founding Father Benjamin Franklin

    “Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression.”
    ~Founding Father Oliver Wolcott

    So “???”, as you can see our founding fathers were quite clear about their intentions and the direction they wanted our newly formed country to head in. They make it quite clear that we will NOT define ourselves as a Christian nation. I understand that you believe in your mind that we are a Christian Nation, unfortunately for you societies aren’t built on good intentions. Like I said before, there are countries that force their national religion on their people, you are welcome to move there. You might need to purchase a prayer rug though. Good luck!

  20. Sherry Epley says:

    I wonder if this “Catholic Warrior” did anything to support the cause of the young boys who were molested by Catholic priests while their Christian church covered up the scandal and even gave refuge to some of those those who were gulity for years. Research the Nazis, they were Christians too!

    Yet, somehow the Christians zealots think they should be able to destroy the property of others, control who we should love, control what women choose to do with their bodies, have public taxes pay for their schools etc. etc. . . . all in the name of being holier than thou.

    Perhaps they and we should all look to the imperfections of ourselves before judging others. We should all be FREE to live and express our spirituality, or lack thereof, in our own way, without proclaiming one particular way as more perfect than any other. AND, religious symbols of any kind should not be displayed on the property that is paid for by the taxes from ALL citizens.

    Together, we should be living in peace and loving our neighbors (warts and all), regardless of skin color, gender, nationality, religion . . . as members of our own human family.

    Wishing you all the blessings of a full belly and a roof over your head, in this festive season. . . millions of our brothers and sisters are not so fortunate!

  21. Ex Xian says:

    Bring back the lions!

  22. ??? says:

    Read my post closer Kyle, I hate this silly back and forth stuff. My post says they were of the Christian faith. Nowhere does it or did I say “Christianity is the law of the land”. It is factual however that they were men of faith (that faith being Christianity) which does impact and influence what they thought to be the right direction for this country which as I stated we are greatly straying from.

    • Nancy N says:

      That the founding fathers were from Christian backgrounds is true, but that was standard back then. There wasn’t the diversity in American society that we have today. Whatever their backgrounds were, however, there is evidence that some of the founding fathers didn’t particularly practice their religion of heritage all that much. Many of the most famous founding fathers (such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) had views that were quite radical for their time, more deist than Christian, not believing in the Trinity or the divinity of Jesus Christ.

      Revisionist history by conservative Republicans would have you believe otherwise but it is simply not true that our founding fathers were a pack of devout bible thumping Christians. The ones most influential in crafting our founding documents were, in fact, the opposite – hence the concern about separating religion from government.

      If you don’t believe me, there are plenty of archived documents such as letters written by these men that you can read for yourself that lay out their opinions on these matters.

  23. satan says:

    She should be charged to the full extent!!!

  24. Religious Rant says:

    Hail Eris! “Mord says that Omar says that we are all unicorns anyway”. -Principia Discordia

    As to the time warp back to the 1950’s (shudder); you’d need to experiment with some heavy duty quantum physics and from what I’ve seen of a very significant number of Jesus fanatics, science typically isn’t a very highly regarded subject amongst them.

  25. Templar says:

    Onward Christian Soldiers………..Let the 7th Crusade begin !!!

  26. Bill says:

    Yes she should be charged with vandalism. BUT why did the State allow such a blatant slap in the face of all who believe in Christ? the use of public lands should not be denied because of any religious belief but it should also not be allowed just to ridicule another’s either and that’s exactly what this satins thing was done for. If they have a holly day then they should apply to use the space on that day not as it was done.

    • Nancy N says:

      “BUT why did the State allow such a blatant slap in the face of all who believe in Christ?”

      The same could be asked by all non-Christians about the nativity scene: “why did the state allow such a blatant slap in the face to my beliefs?”

      If the state is going to allow anyone to use the Capitol Rotunda for a religious purpose, it has to allow everyone to do so. You don’t get to decide whose purpose is valid and whose isn’t. That is the whole point. The state, or some segment of the people, doesn’t get to decide what religion is and isn’t valid or acceptable. That state doesn’t get to endorse one religion as “the” religion of the people and give it special privilege and sideline everyone else.

      • Bill says:

        Nope totally different things. did you not see that I did say all should be allowed to express their belief? this satan thing was not done to show their belief on their “holiday” but to ridicule others on their belief. lets say the KKK Nazi or other white hate groups wanted to have their voice in the same venue as a MLK event on the day we honor him that would be fine by you??

  27. Anonymous says:

    The big difference, Bill. is that, this woman, who touts herself as such an exemplary and upright defender of Christ and his values did not act peacefully OR in any definition of “the spirit of the season.” She destroyed property and defiled what someone else put in place quite legally to make whatever point THEY chose to make. Because it personally offended her sense of right /wrong, she played God herself and took the law, literally, in her own hands–which was a personal slap in other people’s faces and a swipe at their personal beliefs. If she still feels so righteous, she should be not only willing, but eager to go to pay whatever legal penalty is coming to her. From the looks of it, that might well be the case. Faith can be a wonderful thing. It can also give people an excuse to act crazy.

  28. Diana L. says:

    I love Christ, some of his fan club, not so much.

  29. Lin says:

    This woman in the article wasn’t showing tolerance but it is a destruction of property people.

    Do you realize that there is real religious persecution today against Christians in Africa and the Middle East with beheadings of children and adults, sexual slavery, kidnappings, the most horrific cruelties?

    The insensitivity of people preaching about not judging yet bringing up sins of priests, etc., nazis, Justifying intolerance of Christians — don’t you see you are as guilty of intolerance as the people you criticize? And the lions? Your prejudice is showing

  30. Chrispy0515 says:

    Good for her. I know if I had an open shot I’d smash that thing to pieces myself and then throw it in a dumpster where it belongs!

  31. Sherry Epley says:

    Dear Lin,

    Bearing in mind that is article is about a woman who destroyed another’s property while wearing a tee shirt that says “Christian Warrior”. My words are always an attempt to raise a little consciousness.

    These words are enlightening. . . this

    As a Christian, are you prevented from marrying the person you love by the rules of your country’s dominant religion? My gay and lesbian friends are. That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    As a Christian, are your efforts to seek political and legal equality stymied by rhetoric from houses of worship on every street corner, and millions of dollars in a political funds from tax-exempt entries? My gay and lesbian friends are. That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    As a woman seeking basic reproductive health services, are your choices limited and controlled and banned by government interference between you and your doctor, those bans and controls coming from your country’s dominant religion? My female friends are. That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    As a religious minority seeking to practice your own religion in peace, are you constantly subject to prayers, religious observances and public holidays as established by the rules of your country’s dominant religion? My Jewish and Islamic and Sikh friends are. That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    As a religious minority voting in state and national elections, are your choices almost always between two members of your country’s dominant religion? My Jewish and Islamic and Sikh friends find that to be so. That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    As a religious minority being sworn into a rarely-elected office, or to testify in court, are you required and expected to swear on the sacred text of your country’s dominant religion? If you try to use your own sacred text, are you subject to mockery and derision? My Jewish and Islamic and Sikh friends find that to be so. That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    As an atheist who polls as the leased trusted group in America, how would you feel about despised and distrusted? That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    As a student trying to learn to be competitive in the high tech future, are you subjected to counterfactual faith-based teachings in math and science class thanks to the meddling of your country’s dominant religion with its persistent, pernicious confusion of faith-based belief with objective reality? Students across America are every day. That’s persecution by Christians, not of Christians.

    The next time you complain about a minor erosion in the absolute social dominance of Christianity as being a form of persecution, take a moment to think, really think, what it still means to be a non-Christian in America. Trading away a small bit of your power for the self-respect and social safety of others isn’t persecution, it’s loving compromise.

  32. Lin says:

    Sherry Epley, you address me by name so I am addressing you.

    I don’t know what this rant of jake has to do with me. Are these your words, or jake’s?

    Merriam-Webster prejudice definition: an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.

    That you could equate the destruction of property by an ignorant intolerant woman with other sins of Christians is the definition of prejudice — Christians are not all the same, and I am suggesting that you do a little reading about how the Christians have suffered for centuries. I reminded people in my post that Christians are suffering NOW with murders, rapes, beheadings even of children. So many in so many countries. Look at the Arnenian massacre close to 1900. To make such a big deal and detail every sin Christians have committed — not the same.

    I’ve read your other posts. Americans didn’t invent slavery or racism. It has existed for centuries. It hasn’t been legal here for decades. I am done being punished for something someone did to someone having nothing to do with me. On the other hand, I do what I can to help people in need because poverty and poor education help no one.

    By the way,. birth control is legal, readily available and cheap covered by most insurance policies.
    Here’s the hypocrisy of both political parties: Dems expect Hobby Lobby to provide not 16 methods of birth control which they already provide, but they want another 4 those methods which go against their religion. So the government is forcing their beliefs on citizens. Repubs make a policy to force sonograms on women facing abortion (which is legal) — also forcing their beliefs on citizens, Both wrong.

    The best way to move on and not drop back into the awful racial division of the past which I do of course regret is to look at each other with fresh eyes, we are people, more alike than different. Stop saying we are racist, ignorant, uncharitable. Start looking after yourself instead of looking for the government to solve all your problems.

    There are so many opportunities here in this country — so many minorities and non-minorities have succeeded here by taking advantage of all we have to offer. We have a safety net for those that need it.

    We need not go to the default position and make excuses for those that use our country’s good nature to skip out on their own accountability. If men punch a police officer and grab at his gun, they have to know there is a consequence for that behavior, That was not a racial issue. Calling for demonstrations against the police with death threats and now murder is an insult to all those living law abiding good lives.

    I won’t bore you with my stories of the hardships I have faced, but I’m not accepting your broad brush and generalizations. I can only teach my children and grandchildren to look at the future and be kind to each other.

    And Sherry, because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I don’t understand — I do. I don’t see Americans as big bad wolves, I see them as mostly good people. I’m not ignorant and I don’t need to be taught or lectured to. On the other hand, I love to be informed and hear other people’s opinions. I hope you listened to mine.

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