Veterans Memorial Park in Belle Plaine, Minnesota is home to a controversial monument featuring a kneeling soldier in front of a Christian cross. It been at the center of a months-long debate over whether it illegally promotes religion — but since city officials voted to keep it in the park, it’ll have to share the space with other groups. Like Satanists.
You can read the full backstory here, but the long and short of it is that the Freedom From Religion Foundation warned the city that the current monument was illegal. They had a choice: Take it down or allow other displays in the park.
They decided to allow other displays.
So say hello to The Satanic Temple’s submission:
“Everyone understood this could happen,” said Belle Plaine resident Andy Parrish, who led the charge to restore the cross. “It’s more annoying than it is offensive.”
City Administrator Mike Votca said the memorial met all of the town’s requirements and was swiftly approved.
“Nothing is bulletproof, that’s for sure,” Votca said of the limited public forum policy. “But I think it’s as fair as it can be, which is really what we’re trying to achieve to eliminate the chance of lawsuits.”
There’s actually a lot of symbolism to that display, according to artist Chris P. Andres: