Satanists won in Belle Plaine last month when the city removed a religious monument from a veterans park.
The offending statue, a small steel silhouette of a soldier kneeling before a cross, didn't belong on public land, complained constitutional purists. The city agreed to remove it, but that decision was met with such unrelenting backlash from religious protesters that a "free-speech zone" was created to provide a loophole.
The Satanic Temple, a national anti-religious organization, thought this was bullshit, so they proposed throwing an imposing Satanic monument into the mix. The Christians were aghast, but the city of Belle Plaine had to accept it, per its own rules. Suddenly seeing the folly of blending church and state in a new light, the city revoked its "free-speech zone," and determined no religious statues would be allowed at the veterans park after all.
After much ado about nothing, the Satanic Temple filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all the emails people sent to Belle Plaine complaining about their monument, seemingly just to watch those who cannot spell flail in moral panic over an imaginary evil.
Most people got the joke. These "satanists" don't actually worship Satan. They're just snarky atheists who have made it their mission to piss off religious nuts, i.e. dressing up as demon babies to mock abortion clinic picketers, yelling "Hail Satan" at the Westboro Baptist Church, and other fun hijinks just to mess with people.
But from the looks of these emails, most of their detractors took the devil-worshipping thing at face value.
The Satanic Temple compiled those comments on MuckRock. Here are some goodies (spelling errors theirs):
"In my humble opinion, it's better to have no religious freedom vs promoting satan in a public park. We don't want kids seeing satanic images in our parks. Please say NO to satan."
"Just to let you know. If your City allows the satanic statue. I will never support you or never spend a penny in a town such as Satan. thanks."
"These soldiers are being served as blood sacrifices to exalt Satan's 'godliness.'"
"Are you nuts or just plane dumb ... It will take your city and Jordan forever to get over the reputation of being a hotbed for pedophiles and all the interconnections that went with that from professionals including those who serve children to parents to satanic groups. Please reject the proposed monument of satin."
"I am concerned that the City of Belle Plaine's approval of monuments sponsored by organizations that promote Satanic activty, anarchy, or atheism could be interpreted as unpatriotic at best and treasonous at worst, since the existence of the Creator, that is, the God of Nature, is acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America as not only existing, but being the very author of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."