Festive Satanic statue added to Illinois statehouse

Satanic statue in place at Illinois' statehouseImage copyright
Facebook / The Satanic Temple – Chicago Chapter

A satanic group has added its own statue to a series of displays in the government building of the US state of Illinois to mark the festive season.

An old man and a menorah, the four-foot sculpture depicts a snake coiled around an outstretched arm holding an apple.

It's the first display sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the Temple of Satan.

The state government said the temple had the same right as other religious groups to have a display.

Dave Druker, spokesman for the Illinois secretary of state, told the State Journal Register. "This recognises that."

The move has been criticized on social media by Illinois Family Action, an anti-abortion pressure group.

Springfields, in the state capital Springfield, have included a "Festivus" pole – a reference to a fictional holiday which is the subject of an episode of the sitcom Seinfeld.

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What is the Satanic Temple?

Founded in 2012 in Salem, Massachusetts, the Temple of Satan itself as a non-theistic group that aims to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people".

It says its uses satanic imagery to promote the separation of church and state and to campaign for "practical common sense and justice".

It has 15 official chapter houses in the US, the largest of which is based in Michigan.

Harvard graduate Doug Mesner, known as "Lucien Greaves", and an individual known as "Malcolm Jerry".

In a speech, Mr. Greaves said the group had "thousands" of membership applications since the election of US President Donald Trump in 2016.

Arkansas' statehouse during a First Amendment rally. This year, members of a Satanic Temple placed a statue of Baphomet – a goat-like deity associated with Satanism – outside.

The group thus settled a $ 50m copyright lawsuit against Netflix and Warner Bros last month of a statue of Baphomet used in the TV series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.