The holiday season isn’t here yet, but the controversy has already begun.
A Florida school teacher plans to put up a holiday display honoring Satan in a city park in Boca Raton. And one pastor is already vowing to tear it down.
“In essence they’re putting out a welcome mat for Satan.”
Pastor Boykin is astounded that Boca Raton is going to let a teacher put up a 6-foot-tall pentagram, painted blood red, with a wooden image of the holy symbol of Satan in the middle of it.
“We can’t say no to this, as offensive as it is. Our lawyers said whatever you do, don’t do that. Because it will be an expensive lawsuit,” said Jeremy Rodgers, Boca Raton Deputy Mayor.
“I think this is reprehensible. I think it’s an insult to our city,” said Pastor Boykin.
We’re getting our first look at the controversial Satanic display, in the application submitted by the teacher, Preston Smith. It will be in Boca Raton’s Sanborn Square, on Federal Highway, just in time for the holidays.
A giant metal pentagram, weighing 300 pounds, with the captions: “In Satan We Trust,” “One Nation under Antichrist” and “May the Children Hail Satan.” Smith refers to himself as an Atheistic Satanist in the application he submitted to the city.
“I find this extremely offensive. But you know, again, we’ve chosen as the council to honor free speech.”
“This is not consistent with my particular values, but free speech means people have an opportunity to express themselves, whether government likes it or not or whether individuals like it or not,” said Scott Singer, a Boca Raton city council member.
Along with the pentagram the teacher also intends to put up a “Freedom from Religion Nativity Scene” that stresses there can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent.
Last December, the same teacher erected a metal pentagram in the same park where churches set up a traditional nativity scene with the Baby Jesus in a manger and the Virgin Mary.
Pastor Boykin showed us a sledgehammer that he says he’ll use to knock down the pentagram.
“It’s evil, it’s the essence of evil. I will take the responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down.”
The pentagram and Freedom from Religion Nativity Scene will be on display at Sanborn Square on Federal Highway in Boca Raton from December 1 through January 6, 2018.
Smith says he’s never experienced this level of hatred from supposedly religious folks who preach love, tolerance and acceptance.
Our affiliate CBS12 in West Palm Beach, Florida contributed to this story.