Michigan Legislators Furious About Satanic Display

Michigan Legislators Furious About Satanic Display December 18, 2014

I’m having a lot of fun reading the hyperbolic response from Michigan legislators, eager to pander to the rubes by throwing a tantrum about the holiday display recently approved from the Satanic Temple. They took to the floor of the state senate to howl in feigned outrage.

State senators will ensure a nativity scene is erected near the state Capitol after learning the Detroit branch of a secularist group that includes Satanists has permission for a display on the Capitol’s north lawn for three days before Christmas.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, made the announcement early Tuesday afternoon after Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, made a floor speech toward the end of the session citing biblical scripture and denouncing Satan as a “liar.” Hunter’s speech elicited a chorus of “amens” as Republican senators in the GOP-dominated Senate went on record in support of the minority floor leader’s comments.

The Satanic Temple of Detroit got permission for the display, while an individual from Florida was seeking local help to exhibit a proposed nativity scene. Jones said fellow senators would make sure the nativity scene is erected and taken down daily in accordance with Capitol rules.

That’s what makes this so funny to me. They could have had a nativity scene any time if they’d wanted it, every year for decades, but they didn’t want it enough to take it down every night as the rules require. But the tiny little Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple easily found someone to put it up and take it down every day. It was only when they did so and got their display approved that the Brave Defenders of God decided it was worth the effort. If you need me, I’ll be over here pointing and laughing.

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  • Mr Ed

    …citing biblical scripture and denouncing Satan as a “liar.”

    Patron of bombastic politicians everywhere.

  • doublereed

    They… they know that Satan isn’t real, right?

  • Artor

    …citing biblical scripture and denouncing Satan as a “liar.”

    Funny, in the scripture, Satan never lies, not once that I can recall. Gawd lies like a rug, breaks his word, and is generally a dishonest, murdering psychopath, but Satan actually comes across as a good guy, if you’re going by the scripture.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    … while an individual from Florida was seeking local help to exhibit a proposed nativity scene.

    Cue xenophobic outrage about outside groups interfering in local affairs…

    Oh wait, that’s only a lame excuse used when the outsiders support the other side.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Artor #3: Funny, in the scripture, Satan never lies, not once that I can recall.

    I can’t vouch for the entire Bible, but that is certainly the case in the Garden of Eden story. God lies to Adam (Gen 2:16-17) while the serpent (not specifically identified as Satan in the original script) tells the truth to Eve (Gen 3:4-5)

  • John Pieret

    I had thought that they had changed the rules about putting it up and taking it down each day to keep those Florida Satanists, who got a display in Florida’s capitol, from doing the same thing in Michigan. I also assumed that there was a Nativity scene up for years in Michigan. I was wrong on both counts. See Hemant Mehta’s post:


    The rule about putting up the display each day and taking it down each night (for outdoor displays) goes back at least as far as 2012 and Michigan apparently hadn’t had a Nativity for years, until some outside group offered to donate one this year. However, they couldn’t get volunteers to maintain it. I suspect the Satanists put in their application in case the Nativity did go up but wouldn’t have bothered with their’s if it didn’t.

    Ironically, then, the people who are insuring that the Satanic display goes up are the Warriors for God in the legislature. If they go through with the Nativity, the Satanists surely will too.

    From Ed’s article:

    “This is an effort to mock the concept of religious freedom” and “an attempt to scorn Christianity,” [Sen. Tupac] Hunter said.

    No, Senator. The idea that Christians somehow have exclusive right to the machinery of government to express their religious beliefs is the mockery of of religious freedom. And, by the way, religious freedom includes the right to scorn Christianity.

  • Both of those awful displays better come down on the 23rd! Only my Festivus pole can be erected on that most holy day!! OUTRAGE!!!111

  • hunter

    Artor @3: You should read Steven Brust’s To Reign in Hell. It’s his version of the War in Heaven, in which Jehovah comes off as a megalomaniac, Jesus is pretty much a tool, and Lucifer is the one who’s trying to do the right thing.

  • We have to push our Christianity every chance we get; it’s too important not to. But on the other hand, taking it down at night and putting it up in the morning is too much work. Woe! Pride and Sloth in conflict!


    Can we compromise and put up a permanent Ten Commandments monument instead?

  • Satan is not evil. Never was. God was/is evil. That rat bastard killed millions in terrifying agony. He instructed Satan to do his dirty work on occasion, but Satan was the good guy.

  • thebookofdave

    …denouncing Satan as a “liar.”

    Did senator Hunter deliver his floor rant before previewing the Satanic display? It’s caption reads: “Knowledge is the greatest gift”.

  • @ Artor, the amazing thing is that the people who wrote and heavily edited and redacted and ultimately decided what would go in the Bible made God out to be a royal douche and Satan came off pretty well except for the bet with god about Job.

    Usually the victors who write the history make themselves look better.

  • freemage

    Never a bad time for a link to Good Guy Lucifer.

    Although, just so folks don’t get blindsided by fundie-think: The position of most literalists is that Adam & Eve were, while in the Garden, functionally immortal. Thus, when God tells them, “Eat of this fruit and you will die,” he’s telling the truth, and when Satan says it won’t kill them, it’s a lie, because eating the fruit makes them mortal. Of course, there’s no actual Biblical justification for that–even if one accepts that they are immortal, it’s God’s punishment (banishment from the Garden) that would actually triggers their ultimate mortality.

  • fifthdentist “Usually the victors who write the history make themselves look better.”

    They did.

  • CJO, egregious by any standard

    The position of most literalists is that Adam & Eve were, while in the Garden, functionally immortal.

    Which is so obviously at odds with what the narrative tells us: what the hell is supposed to be the effect of eating the fruit of the Tree of Life? Yahweh even says explicitly that the reason Adam and Eve need to be banished from the garden is the possibility that they will eat from the other tree and only then become immortal.

    Genesis 2-3 is possibly the least understood story in the Bible. And not just by fundies; by practically everyone from the Persian period to the present.

    More generally, Satan, as The Devil, embodiment of evil, Price of Darkness, what have you, is a very late development. The Iron Age scribe who originally composed the text that Genesis 2-3 is based on had no such concept.

  • Matt G

    Throwing a tantrum doesn’t cost anything. It’s win-win.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    I cannot speak as to the original understanding, but in medieval times, people often identified the serpent in the garden with Lilith and not Satan. For example, check out the Sistine Chapel ceiling painting by Michelangelo. The snake is anthropomorphized, and it’s got breasts.