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Fight over Satanic statue in Minnesota park shuts down “free speech zone”


Zelda Caldwell - published on 07/18/17

Members of Satanic Temple proposed their monument to counter the installation of Christian-themed memorial

An emotional battle over a proposed Satanic monument in a city-run veterans’ memorial in Belle Plaine, Minnesota has ended with the elimination of the town’s “free speech zone.”

The city council voted Monday to end the free-speech zone which had been created earlier this year to allow a privately-owned statue of a soldier kneeling at a cross-shaped grave marker to remain in the city-owned Veterans Memorial Park. The city had ordered its removal after complaints had been lodged that it violated the establishment clause of the Constitution because of its display of Christian symbolism in a public space.

The memorial was then reinstalled in the park, but in response to the establishment of the free-speech zone, members of the Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts proposed that they would erect their own monument within the park. The proposed monument, a black cube inscribed with pentagrams with an upside-down soldier’s helmet on top, was approved by the city council in April.

The Satanic Temple made headlines in 2014 when it organized a “black mass” at Harvard University and attempted to erect a satanic-themed monument in Oklahoma City in response to the installation of a Ten Commandments monument at the state capitol.

Read more:
Satanic Temple Plans to Open 15 Chapters Nationwide

Local Catholics joined members of the Pennsylvania-based America Needs Fatima, in a protest over the proposed Satanic monument.

Father Bryan Lunch, pastor of our Lady of the Prairie Church, testified before the city council in June that the proposed statue would violate laws against committing offenses against decency or public moral in parks of public lands, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The battle over the monument heated up over the weekend after the family that installed the statue of the soldier with the cross (“Joe”) removed the memorial from the park, and city council members proposed a motion to block the installation of the satanic monument, according to a Star Tribune report.

On Monday evening, however, the city Council quietly voted to eliminate the free-speech zone within the park, thereby prohibiting the installation of any monuments containing religious symbolism.

Read more:
What Do Satanists Really Believe?

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