Satanists Set Up 'Holiday Display' Next to Nativity at Illinois State Capitol

(Photo WCIA-TV courtesy of

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Satanists have made their mark in the Illinois state capitol building, installing a so-called "holiday display" to commemorate their "satanic values" and exist in "harmony with other religions."

This year's exhibition borrows from biblical imagery and includes a crochet serpent wrapped around apples, with the snake's head resting on an open book.

According to WFLD-TV, the display was created by The Satanic Temple, a "nontheistic" organization that sees the devil as a mere literary figure.

It's meant to bring attention to controversies surrounding "banned books." The text in the display is "On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres" by Nicolaus Copernicus.

The Catholic Church banned Copernicus' book for its contention the earth revolves around the sun—something science now definitively knows to be the case.

The Satanic Temple's placement of the display in the capitol rotunda is the fourth time the organization has positioned a symbol of its theological creed next to the Christmas tree and traditional holiday décor.

The spectacle might seem strange, but the Illinois Capitol Rotunda is a free-speech space open to any religious group during the holiday season.

A sign posted near the holiday displays inside the rotunda explains the divergent messages and symbols—likely an effort to explain why some strange or uncommon images might be present.

"The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment to allow temporary, public displays in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars," it reads. "Because the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda is a public place, state officials cannot legally censor the content or speech of displays."

Some, though, have condemned the scene. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield told WCIA-TV there is profound suffering for those who "worship Satan."

"Christians look forward to eternal happiness with God in heaven. Those who worship Satan are doomed to suffer the pains of hell with the evil one and his minions forever," he said. "People are free to choose. I pray for the conversion of sinners and their eternal salvation."

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