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Satanic Holiday Display OK'd For Michigan Capitol Grounds

LANSING (CBS Detroit) - This particular holiday display will likely be devoid of both Jesus and reindeer.

A Satanist group has received permission to erect a 3 foot-by 3 foot display on the north Capitol lawn in Lansing for three days in December — although it must be taken down at night due to a pre-existing ban on overnight displays.

Meantime, it's been reported that a Christian Nativity scene has been considered for the Capitol lawn, but the overnight-removal clause has proven to be a logistical challenge. However, Mirs News reported Monday that Sen. Rick Jones announced he will put up a nativity in response to the Satanists' display.

The group responsible, The Satanic Temple (TST) — whose website describes their mission as one meant to facilitate "the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty" — has been known to push a belief in a strong separation of Church and State, "working to ensure plurality wherever there is a breach in the divide," according to a news release.

"This is religious liberty, and we must never let our Government begin dictating which viewpoints are worthy of representation and which are not," said Jex Blackmore, of TST's Executive Ministry.

The group recently won similar approval for a holiday display in the Florida Capitol Rotunda and is perhaps best known for their ongoing campaign to erect a Satanic monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol Building to "complement and contrast" a 10 Commandments monuments erected there in 2012.

Approval for The Satanic Temple display came as newly released poll numbers show that most Americans say they are OK with religious holiday displays on public property, with 72 percent of U.S. adults supporting Christian symbols on government property in at least some cases.

New Pew Research Centers' survey data finds that a plurality (44 percent) of Americans say Christian symbols, such as nativity scenes, should be allowed on government property even if they are not accompanied by symbols from other faiths. Additionally, 28 percent of U.S. adults said that these symbols should only be permitted if they are accompanied by symbols from other religions – such as Hanukkah candles.

The Pew data finds that a majority of Americans believe the details of the biblical Christmas story, with 65 percent of U.S. adults saying they believe all aspects of the story of Jesus Christ's birth. [More on this HERE].

The Satanic Holiday display will be available for viewing in Lansing on the Capitol grounds from Dec. 21-23.

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