Well, we almost made it to Christmas before someone decided to destroy the Satanic Temple’s holiday diorama at the Florida Capitol Building. You’ll remember that they initially wanted to have it there last year, but were denied by the state. That forced a fight on free speech ground and the Satanists eventually won, earning the right to place the very same banned display at the Capitol.
It just wasn’t meant to stay there. Here’s what it looks like now:
All the work of one very, very honest lady. She didn’t like what she saw and she took care of business, so I’ll give her that much. From The Tampa Tribune:
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.”
I am particularly fond of her t-shirt and this Tweet about her t-shirt, mostly due to my still tender memories of the Ultimate Warrior from Wrestlemania:
Now you might think that a hard nosed group of fighters like The Satanic Temple would be out for blood and seeking to have their display repaired, but that’s not the case. They’re thinking it might just be good where it is:
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. (via)
Even more damning for the lady is how she passed up the Festivus pole made out of beer cans and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, all to take out one of the dioramas that actually has some religion involved in it. Makes little sense to me.
One group that isn’t happy about the property destruction is Americans United, the group that fought for the Satanic Temple’s right to exhibit the holiday diorama in the Capitol for the entire year. Here’s their official statement:
This act of mindless vandalism should be condemned by all decent people and all those who support true freedom of religion. It’s important to remember that free speech in an open forum is for all groups, even those whose message some deem controversial or unpopular.
“Our attorneys fought hard for our clients to win the right to display their diorama in the Capitol Rotunda, and we don’t intend to buckle under to this type of senseless destruction. We hope the display is quickly reassembled, and we call on authorities in Florida to prosecute the vandal to the full extent of the law.”
I will just pose my conclusion like this: what would happen if this were a mainstream religious display that was destroyed? What is someone burned Baby Jesus to ash and tore up a bunch of drawings of Muhammad? People might be a little more blood thirsty. Once again, the Satanists are coming out looking pretty decent.