Satanic Holiday Display in Florida
Pentagram Holiday Display
During the holidays we are reminded about religious freedoms available to us in the Untied States. One such story has emerged from Boca Raton, Florida where a holiday display in Sanborn Square on Federal Highway was erected along side a Christian nativity scene. Placed in a free speech zone in a public park, the display is a 20 foot, 300 pound red-painted pentagram. In the center was placed an image of the Baphomet.
The man who created and placed the display was Preston Smith, a middle school language arts teacher in Boca Raton. He petitioned the local government in Boca Raton to display his Satanic art, and they approved. Parents have since organized against him claiming that his display is causing social harm.
What is interesting is that if a Christian middle school teacher wanted to display a nativity scene in a public place, not only would he not have to petition the government for permission, but people wouldn't even think twice about it. Some seem to forget that here in America, we have freedom of religion, and also freedom from religion, which aims at letting people worship whatever they want while at the same time keeping religion out of schools and government. In a perfect world, this constitutional right would be followed to the letter, but unfortunately, as shown with this Satanic display, it is not.
Christians Protest the Rights of Satanists
Freedom of a Double Standard
Nearby the Satanic pentagram display was placed a banner stating In "Satan We Trust,one nation under the antichrist and may the children hail Satan". Another banner nearby was created by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group that aims to remove religious reference from government activities. It reminded people of the winter solstice and the pre-Christian pagan practice of Saturnalia, a season of revelry that was adopted and changed by Christian culture.
We as Americans have included the Christian religion in a host of different government activities, including "In God We Trust" on our money, or using the same slogan on state flags. We are forced to swear on a Christian bible in court regardless of our religious affiliation. To not do so is contempt of court. Or children are all too often exposed to creationist stories in their public school literature, disregarding the creationist stories of the many other religions out there.
People had gathered around the display the day before it was defaced and removed. Christians marched, sang Christmas carols and preached bible verses. Local religous leaders called the display "Harmful and offensive", disregarding the rights of other religious and non-religious people to display their own holiday decor.
Peaceful protests of the local Christians turned into something destructive soon afterwards. Unfortunately, the next day on December 20,2016, someone had defaced and destroyed the display. Tire tracks could be seen where someone had backed over and toppled the 300 pound pentagram. Had the same thing happened to the nativity scene nearby, whoever was responsible would be quickly apprehended and made to pay damages.
Sanborn Square Park in Boca Raton was designated as a free speech zone, but freedom of speech does not entitle others to destroy what might be a sacred symbol belonging to another religion. Preston Smith commented to news reporters, "We’re ready to make this an annual tradition.” The display is legally allowed, protected under freedom of speech and religion.
Satanic Display Defaced and Destoyed
Religious Satanist Display Destroyed
Education is Key
Satanism is an established religion that emerged in 1969. Some of the protestors at the scene labeled it a cult, which is a typical ad hominem attack against those who do not belong to their own brand of religion. Satanists number in the thousands and they are found all around the world.
In the United States, Satanists are afforded rights much like any other religion. Most often, these rights have to be fought for. In the 1970s, Satanic Burial rites were added to the US Army Chaplains handbook, giving Satanists the rites for a proper burial, Later on, a Satanist who was a soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 2003, with rites as provided by the leaders of the Church of Satan. Unfortunately, according to the Church of Satan's website, the rites had been removed from the handbook during the second Bush administration.
In America, we are afforded freedom of religion. This freedom does not mean freedom of Christians to impose their religion on everyone else. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom only for those who are Christian. These rights are meant for people of all affiliations.
The government should have no place telling people what god to worship. and if Christians can make their public displays, so can pagans, Wiccans, Satanists, Muslims, Jewish, Native American, and whatever else religion is allowed in America.
In addition to this we are reminded of the reason for the season. Many Christians do not realize that without Satan, Christians wouldn't have a reason to have Christmas.