Satanic display causes controversy in Boca Raton

BOCA RATON, Fla. - A Satanic display is causing controversy in Boca Raton on the day the city will celebrate its holiday parade.

Now, some local interfaith clergy members are coming together to take a stand.

The display is in Sanborn Square off Federal Highway, right next to a nativity scene.

At some point between the pentagram going up in the park yesterday and early this morning, it appears someone spray-painted over the symbol and the banner next to it.

Related: Mayor, clergy rebuke Satanic display

The man behind the display is Preston Smith. The city of Boca Raton gave him a permit to put up the display and the Freedom from Religion Foundation provided a Bill of Rights banner that accompanies the pentagram. In a statement, Smith said in part, "Love trumps hate. The First Amendment must be protected, including the freedom to offend."

A group of local interfaith clergy members plan to hang their own banner at the park at 9 a.m. In a statement they said in part, "The Interfaith religious community honors our constitutional rights of freedom of speech and worship. We are blessed to live in a country that cherishes and protects these rights. The use of satanic symbols is offensive, and harmful to our community’s well being. We find it a shameful and hypocritical way to advocate for freedom from religion."

The vandalized pentagram was replaced on Saturday, December 10, 2016.

Preston Smith issued the following statement about replacing the display:

The Pentagram was updated this morning.  New signage was provided by Freedom From Religion Foundation.  We are asking the community for tolerance and the freedom to dissent, which is Constitutionally protected and 100% legal.  If residents are outraged, they should contact the mayor and city council members instead of engaging in discriminatory criminal activity.  If only there were a long-haired dark skinned homeless middle eastern radical from the illiterate Bronze Age who taught that we are all equal in the eyes of an invisible mind-controlling eternal wizard in outer space.

Related: Trump 'Festivus' pole vandalized in Delray Beach

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NOTE: This story has been edited to reflect that the Freedom From Religion Foundation provided the Bill of Rights banner, but not the pentagram display.
 

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