Satanic and Christian displays share space at the Michigan State Capitol

Michigan State Capitol(Photo: Wikimedia/Brian Charles Watson)

The Michigan State Capitol's open forum policy will allow a satanic display to go up next to a Nativity scene next week.

The Nativity scene was hastily added after Detroit's Satanic Temple received approval to display satanic images.

The Satanic Temple's display features a variation of the Sigil of Baphomet – the official symbol of the Church of Satan, a cross with the same symbol at the top and the head of a red snake in the middle, the coiled body of a red snake, and the message "The Greatest Gift is Knowledge." A similar display will appear in the Florida Capitol rotunda.

The permit to display a traditional Nativity scene was filed outside of Michigan, but the state requires the exhibit to be dismantled every night. The filer would not have been able to comply with the requirement, and withdrew the permit.

Michigan Christians rallied to donate a Nativity display, and volunteered to take it down each day. The display will go up on Friday, and the Satanic Temple's display will join it on Sunday. Signs in the capitol will remind visitors that the exhibits are "not owned, maintained, promoted, supported by or associated with [the state of Michigan]," Capitol Facility Director Dan Brocklehurst told NPR.

Security cameras will also monitor the displays' visitors.

"We want to be sure they're both secure and not subject to vandalism while they're on Capitol grounds," Brocklehurst explained.

Detroit Satanic Temple Director Jex Blackmore warned that the group's success in Michigan may lead to satanic displays across the country during next year's holiday season.

"We've inspired a lot of enthusiasm, and other chapters of The Satanic Temple are looking into the possibility of submitting displays across the nation," she said. "It's a bit late in the season now, but I feel the next year's holiday season will see a lot more in the way of Satanic displays."