Inside the capitol rotunda, there’s a tall Christmas tree from the secretary of state’s office, and privately funded displays from other religions: a Christian nativity scene, a Jewish menorah and a display from the Satanic Temple of Illinois.
With the exception of the first year of COVID-19, a private group has funded a Christian nativity scene for 14 years. During a dedication last week, Bernie Lutchman discussed the importance of the display.
“Just as political rallies are held here in this space, we too, the people are allowed to express our deepest religious faith,” Lutchman said.
Tuesday, Minister Adam with the Satanic Temple of Illinois was on hand and explained their display focusing on banned books.
“So we selected a banned book, Copernicus’ ‘Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres,’ published in 1543 and banned by the Catholic church for over 200 years,” Adam told The Center Square. “This sits on a plinth with a basket of handknit apples as well as a 12-foot crocheted snake.”
His message to those who may be offended by their display of a crocheted snake wrapped around apples and a banned book is “OK.”
“Being offended is something that is more than welcomed for them to be able to do, that is their right, but we have every right to be here and we’re not going to sanitize that message because someone else is offended by that,” Adam said.
Last week, during the dedication of the Christian nativity scene, Beth Rogers said it’s her belief Jesus comes out on top.
“And I’m going to say, that little baby in the manger later crushed Satan the serpent’s head and the gates of hell will not prevail,” she said.
Both Rogers and Adam said they support all displays of religious symbols in the public square as a right of free expression.
Displays are expected to be up through Jan. 5.