SPRINGFIELD — A display from the Satanic Temple in Chicago has been added a Nativity scene and Menorah in the Illinois State Capitol rotunda.
The State Journal-Register in Springfield reported Tuesday that the temple had applied to the secretary of state’s office to allow the display.
From the State Journal-Register:
[T]he sculpture is called “Knowledge is the Greatest Gift,” and it depicts the forearm of a young woman extended, with a snake coiled around the arm, and the hand holding an apple.
The whole structure, including the base, is about 4 1/2 feet tall, and the arm and apple statue is about 18 inches long.
Lex Manticore of Chicago, a leader and spokesman for the group, said the arm represents that of Eve in the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge.
“We see Satan as a hero in that story, of course, spreading knowledge,” Manticore said.
He called the pursuit of knowledge “the greatest individual pursuit of bettering yourself, and we believe that you should basically act with the best scientific understanding of the world when you make decisions.”
He also said the 150-member group centered in Chicago, with members in places including nearby states, Springfield and Peoria, doesn’t believe in “anything supernatural.”
“So that’s no deities,” Manticore said. “Not only do we not worship a literal Satan, but we don’t believe one actually exists. Satan for us is a metaphor. … Throughout literary history, (it’s) been used as a character that represents rebellion in the face of religious tyranny.”
Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker told the newspaper that the temple had the same right as any other religious organization to put a display in the rotunda.