LANSING, MI — The Satanic Temple of Detroit hopes to bring its controversial “snaketivity” display back to the Michigan Capitol lawn this month, calling it a response to a “live nativity” planned by supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
The temple plans to submit an application to the Michigan Capitol Commission on Wednesday, according to director Jex Blackmore, who wants to set up the display on December 18 and also hold a “holiday ceremony” on December 19.
“The overriding message in our holiday display, and many of The Satanic Temple’s public activities, is one of plurality and religious liberty,” Blackmore said in a statement.
“We have no interest in proselytizing Satanism to the public. However, we refuse to allow one religious perspective to dominate the discourse. For that reason, When there is one religious display on public grounds, we’ll offer another, and we urge other minority voices to do the same.”
Return of the “snaketivity” would mark the second straight year of holiday controversy at the Michigan Capitol, which generally allows groups with diverse messages to reserve lawn space if their displays meet time and size requirements.
Cruz supporters, citing the opportunity “for families to come together and celebrate the birth of Christ,” plan to host a live nativity and caroling on December 12 and 13.
State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, is planning a Chanukah display on Dec. 7, and Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, is expected to host his own Christian nativity scene starting on Dec. 19 — the same day that the Satanic Temple wants to hold a performance.
“We have freedom of religion in this state, and if you wish to worship that dark side, that is your privilege,” Jones said. “I’m advising the folks that have asked me to put up the nativity to ignore the snaketivity. I know to some people, it’s upsetting.”
Jones plans to personally set up and take down the nativity each night between the 19th and Christmas in order to comply with Capitol Commission rules. Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, is expected to drive it down from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland.
The holiday drama could begin as soon as Wednesday at noon, when an organization called Salt