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Amy is co-host and blogger for both Stand Up for the Truth and Naomi's Table, two ministries that give her the opportunity to write and talk about Jesus all day long. She has written, produced and broadcast in the realm of television and radio news, magazine business journals and marketing materials. She continues her freelance work as a writer and social media consultant.

No Satanic holiday display in Florida

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TALLAHASSEE — The Satanic Temple may take Florida to court over a proposed Capitol holiday display that a state agency rejected as “grossly offensive.”

Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida says it warned about the possibility of such a dispute after the state allowed a private group to put up a Christian nativity scene inside the Capitol.

Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the New York-based temple, said in an email on Thursday that he was “genuinely surprised” the Department of Management Services “would place itself in such a seemingly awkward position” by refusing to allow the temple’s display.

However, before filing any legal challenge, Greaves said his group is giving the department a short time to clarify the offensive nature of the display and to see if some compromise could be worked out.

“It seems unthinkable that the DMS should be presuming negative value judgments upon our very religion itself, engaging in blatant viewpoint discrimination, so we must assume that there is something tangible about the content of the display that is demonstrably astray from established community standards,” Greaves said.

The department rejected the application for the display on Wednesday.

The state agency had recently approved two Christian nativity scenes, a pole made of empty beer cans, banners from atheists and a shredded pile of paper that is supposed resemble the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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2 Responses to “No Satanic holiday display in Florida”

  1. Carol Von Canon #

    Our Founding fathers knew the oppression of a State religion. That's why the Pilgrims came here in the first place. Most Christians will fight for the right to impose their religion on everyone in the country, by insisting that these Christmas idols be placed on public property, yet refuse to tolerate the views of other groups. They incorrectly argue that the Founders were Christian. That isn't so. Some were Christian, and some were Deists. The Christians at the time fought hard to have the separation of church and state included as an amendment to the Constitution in order to prevent any religion, calling itself Christian or otherwise, impose their beliefs on the populace as had been done in England. They firmly believed that all men should be free to worship God according to their own conscience without State interference, or State approval.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:28 AM Reply
  2. Carol Von Canon #

    Religious Displays on Government Property .–A different form of governmentally sanctioned religious observance–inclusion of religious symbols in governmentally sponsored holiday displays–was twice before the Court, with varying results. In 1984, in Lynch v. Donnelly, 164 the Court found no violation of the Establishment Clause occasioned by inclusion of a Nativity scene (creche) in a city's Christmas display; in 1989, in Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU, 165 inclusion of a creche in a holiday display was found to constitute a violation. Also at issue in Allegheny County was inclusion of a menorah in a holiday display; here the Court found no violation. The setting of each display was crucial to the varying results in these cases, the determinant being whether the Court majority believed that the overall effect of the display was to emphasize the religious nature of the symbols, or whether instead the emphasis was primarily secular. Perhaps equally important for future cases, however, was the fact that the four dissenters in Allegheny County would have upheld both the creche and menorah displays under a more relaxed, deferential standard.
    Chief Justice Burger's opinion for the Court in Lynch began by expanding on the religious heritage theme exemplified by Marsh; other evidence that '''[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being''' 166 was supplied by reference to the national motto ''In God We Trust,'' the affirmation ''one nation under God'' in the pledge of allegiance, and the recognition of both Thanksgiving and Christmas as national holidays. Against that background, the Court then determined that the city's inclusion of the creche in its Christmas display had a legitimate secular purpose in recognizing ''the historical origins of this traditional event long [celebrated] as a National Holiday,'' 167 and that its primary effect was not to advance religion. The benefit to religion was called ''indirect, remote, and incidental,'' and in any event no greater than the benefit resulting from other actions that had been found to be permissible, e.g. the provision of transportation and textbooks to parochial school students, various assistance to church-supported colleges, Sunday closing laws, and legislative prayers. 168 The Court also reversed the lower court's finding of entanglement based only on ''political divisiveness.'' 169
    Allegheny County was also decided by a 5-4 vote, Justice Blackmun writing the opinion of the Court on the creche issue, and there being no opinion of the Court on the menorah issue. 170 To the majority, the setting of the creche was distinguishable from that in Lynch. The creche stood alone on the center staircase of the county courthouse, bore a sign identifying it as the donation of a Roman Catholic group, and also had an angel holding a banner proclaiming ''Gloria in Exclesis Deo.'' Nothing in the display ''detract[ed] from the creche's religious message,'' and the overall effect was to endorse that religious message. 171 The menorah, on the other hand, was placed outside a government building alongside a Christmas tree and a sign saluting liberty, and bore no religious messages. To Justice Blackmun, this grouping merely recognized ''that both Christmas and Chanukah are part of the same winter-holiday season, which has attained a secular status''; 172 to concurring Justice O'Connor, the display's ''message of pluralism'' did not endorse religion over nonreligion even though Chanukah is primarily a religious holiday and even though the menorah is a religious symbol. 173 The dissenters, critical of the endorsement test proposed by Justice O'Connor and of the three-part Lemon test, would instead distill two principles from the Establishment Clause: ''government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in any religion or its exercise; and it may not, in the guise of avoiding hostility or callous indifference, give direct benefits to religion in such a degree that it in fact 'establishes a state religion or religious faith, or tends to do so.''' 174 In Capitol Square Review Bd. v. Pinette, Supp.9 the Court distinguished privately sponsored from governmentally sponsored religious displays on public property. There the Court ruled that Ohio violated free speech rights by refusing to allow the Ku Klux Klan to display an unattended cross in a publicly owned plaza outside the Ohio Statehouse. Because the plaza was a public forum in which the State had allowed a broad range of speakers and a variety of unattended displays, the State could regulate the expressivecontent of such speeches and displays only if the restriction was necessary, and narrowly drawn, to serve a compelling state interest. The Court recognized that compliance with the Establishment Clause can be asufficiently compelling reason to justify content-based restrictions on speech, but saw no need to apply this principle when permission to display a religious symbol is granted through the same procedures, and on the same terms, required of other private groups seeking to convey non-religious messages.
    - See more at: http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1/annota
    http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1/annota

    December 20, 2013 at 3:59 AM Reply

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