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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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