A Florida middle-school teacher has provoked fury in the local Christian community with plans for a public park display encouraging children to 'hail Satan' during the Christmas season. A local pastor has said he plans to demolish the display with a sledgehammer.
Preston Smith, who teaches language-arts at Boca Raton Community Middle School (teaching ages 12-14), plans to erect a large metal pentagram in the local park, Sanborn Square, according to WND. It will be accompanied with messages such as 'May the Children Hail Satan', 'In Satan We Trust' and 'One Nation under Antichrist'.
One local pastor, Mark Boykin of the Church of All Nations in Boca Raton, told WPEC-TV that Smith was 'putting out a welcome mat for Satan'.
He added: 'I think this is reprehensible. I think it's an insult to our city. ...It's evil, it's the essence of evil. I will take the responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down.'
The city's mayor, Susan Haynie, said she found the display 'extremely offensive', but that the council was electing to 'honour free speech' and wouldn't ban it.
Smith has angered Christians and parents in the community before; last December he posted a similar demonic exhibit near traditional Nativity displays in the park. Smith defended his actions then by saying that he never intends to 'proselytise' his students.
'Students have an uncanny ability to be more tolerant, respectful, and educated about diversity than most adults. There is a mutual understanding not to discuss the display with me on campus,' he said in a statement to WPTV.
''May the Children Hail Satan' is an artistic expression of defiance toward the Sanborn Square nativity scene, which performs an annual re-enactment of predatory indoctrination in a public park targeting young children before they have critical thinking skills. Satan and God are clearly both fictional characters devoid of any verifiable peer-reviewed scientific evidence.'