Satanic display at Florida's Capitol ripped apart by woman taking 'a stand against Satan'

(Photo: Leon County Sheriff's Office)

A woman was arrested and charged with criminal mischief on Tuesday after ripping apart what she felt to be a highly offensive satanic display in the Florida Capitol rotunda.

Susan Hemeryck, who was wearing a shirt that said "Catholic Warrior" that day, attacked a diorama of an angel falling into a pit of fire with the message "Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple."

The display was erected by the Satanic Temple as a satire to the nativity scene taken down the day the atheist group installed theirs.

"It's just wrong when you remove baby Jesus two days before Christmas and put Satan in his place. That just can't happen. I couldn't allow it to happen," Hemeryck said according to the Associated Press.

"I was there at the right time and the right moment and I needed to take a stand against Satan."

Bizpac Review reports that the 54-year-old Tallahassee woman told the Capitol Police that "she was sorry and had to take the satanic display." When told she couldn't, she "reached forward and began to rip apart the display," according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement probable-cause affidavit.

John Porgal, regional director of American Atheists, said of the attack, "We've been tolerant of their display. We didn't like it, but we tolerated it. You see what they did to our display."

He says he plans to leave the display in its damaged state "as a sign of what the religious right's idea of tolerance is."

Pam Olsen, who organised the Christian display, said she disapproves of Hemeryck's vandalism.

She told the Associated Press, "I do not like the display. I think it's rude and it's sad that he put it up to protest the Nativity that means so much to millions of people. However, I don't think anyone should ever vandalise anything. Free speech is free speech whether we like it or not."

Regarding Tuesday's incident, Hemeryck, who said she has no criminal record, has only one regret.

"I just yanked that little devil off the fishing line. I should have just done a better job and finished it off for good," she said.