By Emily Lawler | elawler@mlive.com
MLive News

LANSING, MI — The capitol lawn this holiday season will once again be graced with Mary, baby Jesus and a large snake.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, started putting up a Nativity scene three years ago, he said. An organization had planned a nativity, and the Satanic Temple of Detroit planned a snake display they call a “snaketivity” in response. But the original nativity group didn’t have the manpower to take down the display every night, a requirement for displays on the capitol lawn.

“Nobody else stepped forward, and the Satanic Temple, they were going to have their display and there was not going to be a Nativity. So I decided that I would take it upon myself to do it,” Jones said.

This will be his third year putting up the display, he said.

Jex Blackmore, spokesperson for the Satanic Temple and director of the Satanic Temple of Detroit, said they’d be back, too.

“We are planning on doing the snaketivity again this year,” Blackmore said.

The goal is to put the display up in contrast to the Nativity, Blackmore said, so lawmakers see that diversity.

“It’s important we remember that all of us deserve to have our voices represented,” Blackmore said.

Jones said he’s gotten good feedback on the Nativity, and plans to do it at least as long as he’s in the Senate.

“I’ve had this year overwhelming amounts of people sending me messages on Facebook message or email or text or phone calls saying ‘are you going to do it again?’ So I know people enjoy it,” Jones said.

The traditional Nativity display features the biblical figures Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. The Snaketivity features a cross, red snake, and sign reading “the greatest gift is knowledge.”