Florida's Satanic Temple gets backing from Americans United for Church and State over holiday display

by

comment
In 2013, the Florida state Capitol was a festive place. In addition to the usual holiday decor – baubles on trees and lights and whatnot – it hosted three different holiday-speicific displays: a Nativity scene, a Festivus pole made of PBR cans and a Flying Spaghetti Monster. See photos below for proof:

 

Photo via
  • Photo via

Photo via tampabay.com

tampabay.com
  • tampabay.com

Photo via NPR

 

But the Florida Department of Management Services, which is in charge of holiday displays in the Capitol building, decided it had to draw the line somewhere – so they drew it at the Satanic Temple, which also requested that the Capitol host its display as well. The department rejected the request, saying that the Satanic Temple's display would be "offensive." The display would have looked like this, according to the temple:

Photo via
  • Photo via

This year, the Satanic Temple is going to try to get its holiday display up again, and this time, they've got the Americans United for Separation of Church and State on their side. On Oct. 15, the organization sent a letter to the state Department of Management Services, telling it that a rejection would violate the temple's First Amendment rights to free speech, as well as its 14th Amendment rights to equal protection.

"Members of the religious majority are sometimes offended by the beliefs of religious minorities, and vice/versa," it wrote. "The department must open its public forum to the Satanic Temple's holiday display, even if the department disagrees with the Satanic Temple's religious beliefs or message."

The letter, which requests a response from the state within 14 days, was signed by the organization's legal director, Ayesha Khan. You can read it in full here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.