by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
Illinois officials said the state is required by the First Amendment of the Constitution to allow such temporary displays if they are not tax-payer funded.
The Baphomet display was installed at a ceremony at the Illinois capitol on Monday, the Times said. According to the Satanic Temple (TST), the demonic display represents “positive values.”
In a social media post, the Temple members said: “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!”
A spokesperson for the Temple told Springfield TV station WICS that, as the Illinois Capitol “welcomes a diverse range of religions every year to display holiday statues during the holiday season,” the satanists had “wanted to join in on that.
The state has placed a sign near the display, explaining why the Baphomet figure has been allowed to stand in the Capitol. “The State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to allow temporary, public display in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars,” the sign says.
“Because the first floor of the Capitol rotunda is a public place, state officials cannot legally censor the content of speech or displays,” the sign continues. “The United States Supreme Court has held that public officials may legally impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions regarding displays and speech, but no regulation can be based on the content of the speech.”