The Illinois Capitol rotunda features an installation that showcases the Satanic Temple’s “deity,” Baphomet, a winged goat creature, displayed as a babe swaddled in a manger.
TST invites you to our Sol Invictus tradition of displaying Baby Baphomet at the Capitol building in Springfield, IL. Come spread the message of harmony and unity!
Hopefully, Bishop Paprocki will join our effort in spreading this message to the community.
Time: 1pm pic.twitter.com/wqfcAAuU7m
— The Satanic Temple (@satanic_temple_) December 20, 2021
The Satanic Temple’s (TST) holiday display for “Sol Invictus” was installed Monday alongside those of Christian faith groups celebrating Christmas.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki, of the Roman Catholic diocese of Springfield, who dedicated the Nativity scene at the capitol rotunda, condemned the satanic public displays, reported the State Journal-Register.
Satanic installations, Paprocki said, “should have no place in this Capitol or any other place.”
Andrew Hansen, a spokesperson for the diocese, also said in a statement:
Mocking the millions of Christians in the state of Illinois and billions around the world by depicting the baby Jesus this Christmas with the “satanic deity” Baphomet is the very definition of evil and causing division, but that is to be expected from an organization that is in existence to troll people of faith.
The scene at the Illinois State Capitol where the Satanic Temple of Illinois is installing the “satanic deity” Baphomet as the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property recite the Rosary. pic.twitter.com/HXgyKPNvAP
— Justin L. Fowler (@justinlfowler) December 20, 2021
TST’s Director of Campaign Operations, Erin Helian, said in a press statement the group invited Paprocki to “hold hands with members” of the organization “while we come together and stand before all of the religious displays at the rotunda.”
Hansen responded, however, “Bishop Paprocki declines the invitation to associate with evil and urges all people of true religious faith to shun the devil.”
“That’s not very unity of him,” TST Co-founder Lucien Greaves said, according to the Journal-Register. “Our real message is to reestablish pluralism. It doesn’t mean that people with opposing viewpoints have to be in conflict.”
In April 2019, TST announced the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had recognized it as a “church” with tax-exempt status.
he organization, which essentially advocates for abortion rights, said:
This acknowledgment will help make sure The Satanic Temple has the same access to public spaces as other religious organizations, affirm our standing in court when battling religious discrimination, and enable us to apply for faith-based government grants.
Despite its designation as a “church,” TST is non-religious and states on its FAQ page that it does not worship Satan:
[N]or do we believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural. The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.
Rolling Stone reported that while TST had previously rejected the idea of pursuing tax-exempt status, Greaves reversed that position in 2017 after President Donald Trump signed a “religious freedom” executive order.