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Monument from Satanic Temple sits alongside nativity, menorah at Illinois state capital

Members say they don't even believe in Satan, but want the statue to send a message.

Posted: Dec. 6, 2018 8:41 AM
Updated: Dec. 6, 2018 8:45 AM

A GoFundMe campaign by the Satanic Temple - Chicago surpassed the original fundraising goal for "the sculpting, casting, construction, transportation, and installation of a Snaketivity display titled 'Knowledge Is the Greatest Gift'" at the Illinois Statehouse. The statue depicts a woman's hand wrapped in a snake and holding an apple, a metaphor for the biblical story of Eve and the Garden of Eden.

In an interview with the State-Journal newspaper, a representative for the Satanic Temple said the group doesn't worship Satan or even believe he exists. "Satan for us is a metaphor. Throughout literary history, its been used as a character that represents rebellion in the face of religious tyranny."

The display sits alongside a Christmas tree, a nativity scene, and a menorrah. The group had to apply to the secretary of state's office. In the face of uproar about the placing of the statue, a representative for the office said, "Under the Constitution, the First Amendment, people have a right to express their feelings, their thoughts. This recognizes that."

The Satanic Temple has been behind a number of efforts to install various statues in public spaces nationwide, often in response to the placement of religious symbols on government land, particularly the Ten Commandments.

Chicago ABC affiliate WLS-TV interviewed people with varying opinions. Some said they're not bothered by it and realize it is simply freedom of speech. Others said they find it offensive. The display remains in place throughout December.

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