The Satanic Temple of Illinois’ contribution to a holiday display in the Illinois Statehouse rotunda in Springfield Monday (Dec. 20) — a swaddled baby version of the deity Baphomet — has drawn fire from the local Catholic bishop, who requested that the temple not be included.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki said in his Nov. 30 remarks at the installation of the Statehouse’s Christmas Nativity scene that satanism “should have no place in this Capitol or any other place.”
The Baphomet figure, designed by artist Chris Andres, sits alongside a Christmas tree, the Nativity scene and a menorah.
“Many religions present symbols of their faith at the Capitol. Rather than view these as competing displays, we want the community to appreciate the rich diverse tapestry of beliefs and cultures,” said the Satanic Temple’s director of campaign operations, Erin Helian, in a statement.
This is the third time the Satanic Temple Illinois has participated in the Statehouse’s holiday display, but the first time it has attracted this much controversy, according to Minister Adam, a leader at the Satanic Temple Illinois, who said, “The state has been easy to work with.”
Adam said Paprocki’s condemnation of the Baphomet display “came out of left field,” calling it “divisive.” The temple hadn’t applied yet when the remarks were made.
… More than 50 onlookers attended the installation of Baphomet, of whom only 10 were members of the temple, he estimated. Among them were protesters who sang and chanted prayers. Some held banners saying “Satan has no rights!” and “Begone Satan! Mary Crushes the Serpent!”