The Satanic Temple of Detroit is trying to "hijack a holy Christian holiday" by setting up a holiday display on the steps of the State Capitol in Lansing, a senator has said.
The Temple has had plans to set up a display featuring a snake encircling a Satanic cross approved. It will be presented on the northeast lawn at the Capitol from December 21 to 23.
The group has called its display a "Snaketivity", and says it is an opportunity to empower those "who have beliefs that are not mainstream".
A member of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, John Truscott, said the display had been approved as part of an effort to ensure religious freedom for all.
However, Truscott admitted that he was "very frustrated" by the display, labelling it "absolutely repulsive".
Republican Senator Rick Jones has also condemned the Temple's efforts, and has vowed to set up a traditional nativity to go alongside the Snaketivity, the Lansing State journal reports.
"I believe they are trying to hijack a holy Christian holiday by putting their display up," Jones said.
"I want to make sure that people don't see the dark message alone. That they also see a message of love and a sacred Christian holiday."
A local minister has also stepped up to criticise the Temple's display. "This is strange, Christmas being hijacked by Satan," Rev David Bullock of Greater St Matthew Baptist Church told Fox Detroit.
"I understand that there is liberty, we have religious freedom, but there are limits to how these rights are supposed to be exercised...I think it's deplorable, it's unseemly and it's really bad manners."
However, director of the Satanic Temple's Detroit chapter, Jex Blackmore, has welcomed Jones' nativity.
"In fact, our display works much better in dialogue with representations of other faiths," he said. "We believe that a diversity of beliefs should be represented so long as religious iconography is permitted on state property.
"Just as the Nativity is a myth representing the birth of Christ, the snake is representative of the myth of the birth of human enlightenment and liberation," Blackmore added.
"If our Legislature finds it morally incomprehensible to respect the diversity of differences among Michigan citizens, then perhaps they are much better served as members of the clergy rather than representatives of the people."
A row broke out in France earlier this month after a court ruled that a nativity scene must be removed from a council building in La Roche-sur-Yon.
A judge ruled that the scene contravened "religious neutrality in public spaces," but critics have accused the strict adherence to France's secular law as "stupid and blinkered".