SPRINGFIELD – Over the weekend in a letter to Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-66) condemned a Satanist display in the State Capitol rotunda alongside religious holiday display of a Christian nativity scene as a "targeted affront to those upon which the holiday was founded, Christians."
Skillicorn urged Secretary White to take the matter to the state's courts.
Dear Secretary White,
It is Christmas Day, and most of the world is celebrating good will toward men that this day has come to symbolize. It is also a holy day for those in one of the world’s major religions, Christianity.
Christmas day was first recognized as a national holiday in 1870 and signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant. The Supreme Court has upheld Christmas as a national holiday in multiple cases as it has found essentially, “…Christmas Day as a legal public holiday does not violate the Establishment Clause because it has a valid secular purpose, it does not have the effect of endorsing religion in general or Christianity in particular, and it does not impermissibly cause excessive entanglement between church and state.” (Ganulin v. United States, 71 F. Supp. 2d 824 (S.D. Ohio 1999)). The Court in Lynch also upheld the display of the nativity scene along with other secularized figurines on government properties as not violating the Establishment Clause either.
Generally the “other secularized figurines” could encompass symbols of Hannakuh, celebrated by the Jewish faith in December; a Christmas tree which is widely recognized as associated with the day; or other symbols typically associated with the holiday. This year, according the Capitol News Illinois (Holiday symbols in Capitol offer wide range of views), the Capitol rotunda hosted “a holiday tree, nativity scene, satanic sculpture and Winter Solstice sign.” Which one of those do you think is not a typical symbol of this nationally recognized holiday?
Since when has a “satanic sculpture” gained national or global recognition as a symbol of the Christmas holiday or even the winter season? What source could you provide that supports this particular symbol being justifiably displayed at this time of year for this national holiday?
Let us define terms here. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “satanic” is defined as
1: of, relating to, or characteristic of Satan or Satanism, satanic pride, satanic rites
2: characterized by extreme cruelty or viciousness
“Satan” is defined as:
1: the angel who in Jewish belief is commanded by God to tempt humans to sin, to accuse the sinners, and to carry out God's punishment
2: the rebellious angel who in Christian belief is the adversary of God and lord of evil
“Satanism” is defined as:
1: innate wickedness
2: obsession with or affinity for evil specifically : worship of Satan marked by the travesty of Christian rites
Therefore, regardless of how the Satanic Temple Chicago leaders would like to spin this as ”advocating knowledge and rationality over superstition, ignorance, and dogma,” according to common terms defined in the dictionary, the real intent is not secular, but a targeted affront to those upon which the holiday was founded, Christians.
I do believe it would be in the best interest of the State to disallow the Satanists their display in the future on the grounds that they are merely inciting animosity toward Christians. Imagine a Nazi symbol being there. Would that be allowed? I believe this case is one in which the State is justified in letting the courts decide.
Representative Allen Skillicorn