Belle Plaine, MN approves satanic monument for veterans park

Belle Plaine, Minnesota, is a small city of 6,661 residents in 2010, about 45 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

In the name of “free speech,” the city government has conceded to satanists in their demand to erect a satanic monument in the city’s Veterans Memorial Park.

Liz Sawyer reports for the (Minnesota) Star Tribune that the people of Belle Plaine wanted to honor fallen U.S. veterans with a modest 2-foot steel war memorial called “Joe,” which features a cross.

In January 2017, fearing a lawsuit rooted in the constitutional separation of church and state, Belle Plaine city leaders ordered the cross to be removed.

But the decision to remove the cross proved deeply unpopular in the predominantly Christian city. For nearly a month, more than 100 flag-toting protesters occupied the park each day, often staking their own handmade crosses into the ground in defiance. Almost overnight, small wooden crosses popped up in business windows, on mailboxes and front lawns.

At a February City Council meeting, Belle Plaine resident Andy Parrish, who led the protests, told an overflow crowd:

“The residents feel a sense of duty. Our veterans defended us and it’s our duty to defend them.”

That same night, city officials withdrew its cross-removal order with what they thought to be a solution — designating a small area in the park as a “free speech zone” that would accommodate 10 or fewer temporary memorials, as long as they honor veterans.

So the cross was reinstalled on the monument in April.

The city’s reinstatement of the monument’s cross is criticized by:

  • Jane Kirtley, director of the University of Minnesota’s Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, who says that even when speech is favorable to a majority — as the cross appears to be in predominantly Christian Belle Plaine — the state cannot impose that view on others. Religious symbols, like a cross, carved onto individual grave markers are treated as Constitutionally-protected free speech. But religious symbols in a public cemetery does not have that right.
  • Similarly, Freedom From Religion Foundation objects to religious monuments on other public property. Foundation attorney Rebecca Markert calls the Belle Plaine case an “egregious violation” and questions the constitutionality of the city’s decision to establish a limited public forum in the park so the cross memorial could be restored. The foundation may submit its own “Atheists in Foxholes” monument.

The Satanic Temple was first in line to test Belle Plaine’s free speech zone with an application to erect a satanic memorial allegedly to honor nonreligious service members — a black cube, inscribed with inverted pentagrams and crowned by an upturned helmet.

Founder Doug Mesner disingenuously claims that the Satanic Temple does not worship Satan, but only seeks equity for nonbelievers, and aims to “encourage reason and empathy, reject tyrannical authority and promote justice”.

City Administrator Mike Votca said the Satanic Temple memorial meets all of the town’s requirements and was swiftly approved: “Nothing is bulletproof, that’s for sure. But I think it’s as fair as it can be, which is really what we’re trying to achieve to eliminate the chance of lawsuits.”

Although Andy Parrish acknowledges that “Everyone understood this could happen” and that the satanic monument is “more annoying than it is offensive,” other Belle Plaine residents accuse groups like Satanic Temple and Freedom From Religion Foundation of preying on small towns that lack the resources to fight back.

Katie Novotny, a vocal cross proponent, said the majority of residents have accepted the idea of a monument that includes satanic symbols because “If you’re truly a Christian, how can you be offended by someone wanting to honor our veterans even though they don’t believe in the same things we believe in?”.

To sign a petition asking Belle Plaine to reverse their approval of the satanic monument, click here.

H/t Will Shanley

See also:

~Eowyn

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14 responses to “Belle Plaine, MN approves satanic monument for veterans park

  1. Lucien Greaves, aka Mesner, can call himself and his Satanic Temple whatever he wants. Doesn’t change what we know his form of “justice” is.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The population of the town is 6661! Oh, Lord.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Petition signed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Here’s another example of poor language usage resulting in ridiculous legal interpretations. There is nothing enshrined about “separation of church and state”. That language came from a legal commentary.

    What the Constitution provides is a guarantee that the Government will not impose a state religion…….period. It does not mean that anyone cannot proclaim their faith.

    As anyone can attest, crosses and other symbols of Christianity are under constant attack these days. Every time we accede they win. These arguments are similar to the Second Amendment ones.

    The clear intention here was that government didn’t single out a denomination and declare it the only acceptable form of worship. Every other argument that has used this “separation” argument is a complete sham. If someone doesn’t like my jewelry or the books I read, they can feel free to move away. If they want to erect a menorah or a Satanic statue, fine. Just don’t tell me what I can erect.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lophatt . . . . . You have eloquently explained that the devision of Church and State really means. For the life of me . . . how stupid do folks have to be in order that thy not understand this very simple premise . . . “Our government cannot sanction one specific religion as being sponsored by the government as a whole.” All those who rail about this are just “spittin’ in the wind as far as I can see. May the spittle that flies back at them make it impossible for them to continue in like vain.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. David, A child of the TRUE GOD!

    IF there are “nonreligious service members ” buried in this Veterans Memorial Park HOW does putting a “Satanic Temple Marker ‘ there honor those Veterans. Remember you said the marker was to honor all “NONRELIGIOUS Service Members. A Satanic marker honors Satan, the fallen dishonored angle, and That is a RELIGION!!! If I was buried there and did not believe in GOD I would not want some minor excuse for a self proclaimed god representing me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. traildustfotm

    Signed the petition.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dr. Eowyn, thank you so much for informing us of this travesty and pure blasphemy against the Holy Trinity. I will sign the Petition.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Petition signed! Article forwarded to others who believe in God The Eternal Father.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Petition signed. This should never have been approved; satan doesn’t represent agnostics or aetheists.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sick freaks all.

    City Administrator Mike Votca said the Satanic Temple memorial meets all of the town’s requirements and was swiftly approved: “Nothing is bulletproof, that’s for sure. But I think it’s as fair as it can be, which is really what we’re trying to achieve to eliminate the chance of lawsuits.”

    Spineless chickensh*t wussy, YOU are.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I second what lophatt said earlier in the comments. Also it would be easy enough to engineer an ‘Act of God’ to remove the ‘religious’ monument.

    Like

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