Illinois Representatives Introduce Anti-Holiday Display Resolution

Illinois Representatives Introduce Anti-Holiday Display Resolution December 13, 2018

Amidst the recent media explosion over The Satanic Temple-Chicago chapter’s Snaketivity display Illinois House Representatives Terri Bryant and Dave Severin (and while writing this a 3rd Representative, Joe Sosnowski has signed on as a co-sponsor) introduced H.R. 1355 to State’s 100th General Assembly to condemn the statue. The bill singles out the Snaketivity display, now on view in the Illinois Capitol rotunda along with other displays in commemoration of the holiday season.

“This is insane.” Said TST-Chicago Co-Chapterhead Lex Manticore in a standalone message late last night with a link to the pending legislation.

Happy Holidays, But Not for You

Ok, let’s be honest right up front, this is a nothing of a pointless bill. It does not seek to remove The Satanic Temple’s (TST) Snaketivity monument. At its most forceful it “urge[s] the Secretary of State to reject the Satanic display in the future”. Which is to say, it does nothing and is only there for political posturing. 

A Bill to Nowhere

It’s one of those do-nothing bills that representatives introduce sometimes to get it on record that they’re opposed to something they can’t do anything about. So, if it were to pass, the Illinois House of Representatives would “condemn in the strongest possible terms the decision of the Illinois Secretary of State to allow the Snaketivity display to remain in the Capitol rotunda”.

“The strongest possible terms”, in this case, amounts to sending a nasty letter to Secretary of State Jessie White saying they’re very upset that he followed the law and did his job.

However, the implications are clear. The representatives in question do not believe in religious equality, liberty, or the freedom of speech enshrined in the First Amendment … unless you’re Christian or Jewish.

Not Just an Issue for Satanists

Weaselly language in the bill is not just an insult to members of TST-Chicago, or TST nationally, or Satanists of any stripe. By condemning the decision to allow Snaketivity to be in the rotunda “during the Christmas and Hannukkah season” the bill, under the auspices of delegitimizing one minority faith, surreptitiously and subtly insults all minority beliefs by suggesting that of the plethora of holidays that take place during this time of year, only two of them are deemed ‘appropriate’ by these elected officials.

I asked The Satanic Temple legal counsel Stu De Haan for his impression of the bill. He said it’s a disgrace.

“This is just another attempt by a would-be theocrat to undermine one of the very fundamental rights this country was founded on,” said De Haan. “It is shameful that there is an increasing number of politicians who boast their support for the denial of freedoms to minority views while denigrating all religions to mere regional popularity contests. To call The Satanic Temple’s holiday display divisive while making efforts to violate the Free Exercise and the Establishment Clause of the US constitution is as dishonest as it is illegal.”

The bill alleges that TST’s display is not properly religious enough because of “the[sic] Satanic Temple’s description of itself as a non-theistic organization”. So this is of issue to all non-theistic beliefs, attempting to put forward the spurious notion that belief is somehow superior to, and more worthy of recognition to non-belief and it tries to elevate the importance of theistic beliefs above the non-theistic beliefs of all other citizens.

We’ll have to wait to see what happens with this bill, and if it were to pass there’s no telling at this point what TST’s response would be. But if past is prologue and representatives hope to campaign on their championing of this kind of divisive legislation I can think of a certain case working its way through the 9th circuit that might be an indication.

About Jack Matirko
Jack Matirko is an activist, blogger, and podcaster focussing on issues of church and state separation. He runs Patheos' Satanic Blog For Infernal Use Only (patheos.com/blogs/infernal), co-hosts the Naked Diner Podcast (patreon.com/nakeddiner), and is a member of The Satanic Temple-Arizona Chapter. His opinions are his own. To contribute to his work please consider becoming a patron of his podcast. You can read more about the author here.
"Not a problem in my country. What are you doing about it?"

Satanic Self-Care in the Age of ..."
"What are you yourself doing to ensure women run and get to vote? More to ..."

Satanic Self-Care in the Age of ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • TheBlueFrog

    Related note: The costs of making and erecting the Snaketivity went far beyond initial projections, and that’s without the upcoming costs of removing and transporting it. If anyone would like to contribute to TST-Chicago’s GoFundMe campaign, the link is below. More money has been raised than was initially asked for, but it’s still well under actual (and rising) costs:

    https://www.gofundme.com/snaketivity?fbclid=IwAR3eQW3uDfW5PTA7-OXrRrX_17JBEVhGC0_lpBAfShRoSbzzy0c_yaGNsAw

  • Thanks for that heads up. I’ll put this info into into an article when I follow up on the West Michigan display in a few days too

  • Jack7

    What’s causing the cost to continue to increase?

  • Venita Estella

    I love that their sad excuse for this discriminatory, useless bill is that TST is non-theistic. This is an opportunity for discussion about religion and theism not actually being synonymous, and that religion without theism is not only valid but becoming more common & accepted.

  • ViViviolent

    If my info is correct, members of TSTC made the statue… so Im going to guess the process took more materials and labor than they anticipated thus increasing the costs. Also transportation of the statue from Chicago to Springfield and back again.

  • TinnyWhistler

    This smells like them making noise for their voters that they know won’t actually do anything because they CAN’T do anything.
    ++++

  • WallofSleep

    “The bill alleges that TST’s display is not properly religious enough…”

    In a sane world run by grown-ass adults, this would merely mean the Snaketivity has even more of a legal right than the Nativity to be in that location.

    It’s also nice to know that they condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the gift of knowledge. I’m really starting to think this planet is just a galactic insane asylum.

  • TheBlueFrog

    Lux can answer in more detail than I can, but I know the materials cost was higher than expected, as were transportation costs to Springfield.

  • orinow1998