May 18, 2022

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The Illinois State rotunda just unveiled its winter holiday display on Monday. Alongside the Christmas tree, Hanukkah menorah, and the Kwanzaa candles was a baby Baphomet, swaddled in diapers, commemorating the satanic holiday of Sol Invictus. The controversial display has been presented by the Satanic Temple for three years in a  row.

The Satanic Temple’s first installation at the rotunda was in 2018, followed by another installation in 2019 called “Knowledge is the Greatest Gift,” which featured the forearm of the biblical Eve beside an apple and snake.

Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) was a Syrian sun god that was adopted as the official pagan sun god of the later Roman Empire. Sol was of supreme importance until Constantine abandoned Sol in favor of Christianity.

Satanic Temple’s holiday display coming back to Illinois Capitol rotunda (courtesy: screenshot)

According to the organization’s website, Sol Invictus is a “celebration of being unconquered by superstition and consistent in the pursuit of sharing knowledge,” 

“This year’s tradition marks a greater urgency in the Baphomet’s message of harmony and reconciliation,” noted The Satanic Temple’s Director of Campaign Operations Erin Helian in a press release. 

The display was designed by Albuquerque horror artist Chris P. Andres whose artwork focuses on Satanic images. The Satanic Temple has over half a million registered members and has placed holiday displays in Florida, Indiana, Michigan, and elsewhere.

Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki criticized the display, saying that “not all religions should have access to the state capitol.”

“Mocking the millions of Christians in the state of Illinois and billions around the world by depicting the baby Jesus this Christmas with the ‘satanic deity’ Baphomet is the very definition of evil and causing division, but that is to be expected from an organization that is in existence to troll people of faith,” said Andrew Hansen, a spokesperson for the diocese.

The Satanic Temple responded by inviting the Bishop to the display. 

“It is my Sol Invictus wish that Bishop Paprocki will accept our invitation so we can share with him our message of compassion and empathy so we can come together and spread the harmonious holiday spirit of the Baphomet to the entire Springfield community,” Erin Helian, the Satanic Temple’s Director of Campaign Operations wrote.

The Bishop declined the invitation.