BOCA RATON, Fla. – A Florida member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation says that he plans to erect a large pentagram in a city park this December in an effort to counter Christian and Jewish displays regarding the birth of Christ.
Since 1990, a city law in Boca Raton has allowed “unattended, expressive installations, displays, exhibits and similar objects” to be displayed during the holiday season in the city’s Sanborn Park. According to a report from CBS12, a local atheist named Preston Smith plans to put up a blood-red pentagram that stands six feet tall, weighs 300 pounds and bears several captions, including “In Satan We Trust,” “I Kneel Before No Gods” and “May the Children Hail Satan.”
Smith, who was raised as a Catholic but now describes himself as an atheistic Satanist, says he likes the pentagram because it represents “the polar opposite of everything that the Church stands for.” He views Satan as a metaphor for rebellion rather than an actual being.
“Satan serves as the symbol to go against—to rebel against—Yahweh, Jesus, and Muhammad,” he said in an interview published on YouTube. “The devil, in atheistic Satanists’ point of view, promotes great things: the separation of church and state, critical thinking, equal rights, science literacy, and sexual freedom—everything organized religion opposes.”
Smith describes his pentagram as a protest against nativity scenes and other religious holiday displays.
“The reason for the pentagram is that we have to have a break on the monopoly of the nativity scenes in public spheres,” he said. “A nativity scene, which is the myth that somehow a 14-year-old girl was magically impregnated—and, you know, it’s the stuff of legends, it’s folklore. We have to break the spell of menorahs being so widespread and acceptable in the public sphere, which is just a fairy tale of one night’s worth of oil burning for, what, eight nights. So I think that’s the direction I was going in.”
According to reports, Smith put up a similar Satanic pentagram in Boca Raton last year, but it was repeatedly vandalized and knocked down. The earliest Smith will be allowed to erect his display in the city park this year is December 1.
City officials said even though the Satanic pentagram is offensive, Smith is free to display it in the park.
“We can’t say no to this, as offensive as it is,” said Jeremy Rodgers, Boca Raton deputy mayor, according to a report from CBS12. “Our lawyers said whatever you do, don’t do that. Because it will be an expensive lawsuit.”
“I find this extremely offensive,” also remarked Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie. “But you know, again, we’ve chosen as the council to honor free speech.”
“This is not consistent with my particular values, but free speech means people have an opportunity to express themselves, whether government likes it or not or whether individuals like it or not,” likewise stated city council member Scott Singer.
However, one local pastor has vowed to knock down the controversial figure once it is erected. Describing the Satanic display as “the essence of evil” and “a welcome mat for Satan,” Mark Boykin of Church of All Nations said he plans to use a sledgehammer to dismantle the display.
“I will take the responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down,” he told CBS12. “I think this is reprehensible. I think it’s an insult to our city.”
As previously reported, in 2014, Smith presented an invocation at a Lake Worth commission meeting, during which time he seemed to mock Christianity, or religion in general, by naming off everything from Mother Earth to Zeus.
“Mother Earth, we gather today in your redeeming and glorious presence, to invoke your eternal guidance in the universe, the original Creator of all things,” Smith began his invocation. “May the efforts of this council blend the righteousness of Allah with the all-knowing wisdom of Satan.”
“May Zeus, the great God of justice, grant us strength tonight. Jesus might forgive our shortcomings while Buddha enlightens us through His divine affection,” he continued. “We praise you, Krishna, for the sanguine sacrifice that freed us all. After all, if Almighty Thor is with us, who can ever be against us?”
2 Peter 3:3-4,9 reads, “[T]here shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’ … The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”