A Florida pastor has vowed to use a sledgehammer to knock down a Satanic monument that will be on display during the Christmas season in Boca Raton, warning that the monument represents the "essence of evil."
"In essence they're putting out a welcome mat for Satan," Pastor Mark Boykin of Church of All Nations in Boca Raton, told CBS 12 on Tuesday.
"It's evil, it's the essence of evil. I will take the responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down," he said, adding that it's "reprehensible" and an "insult to the city."
The plans for the satanic monument, which will feature a 6-foot-tall pentagram painted blood red with a wooden image representing Satan in the middle of it, were submitted by a local teacher.
The metal pentagram will reportedly weight 300 pounds and include phrases such as: "In Satan We Trust," "One Nation under Antichrist" and "May the Children Hail Satan."
Boca Raton officials say that while they don't agree with the display, which is expected to stay up at Sanborn Square on Federal Highway from Dec. 1 through Jan. 6, 2018, there is little they can do to stop it.
"We can't say no to this, as offensive as it is. Our lawyers said whatever you do, don't do that. Because it will be an expensive lawsuit," said Boca Raton Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers.
Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie said the display is "extremely offensive," but the city must allow it to be displayed due to free speech.
Scott Singer, a Boca Raton city council member, added: "This is not consistent with my particular values, but free speech means people have an opportunity to express themselves, whether government likes it or not or whether individuals like it or not."
A number of city parks across the nation have become a battleground for free speech rights as of late.
The city council in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, decided back in July to eliminate its own Free Speech Zone at Veterans Memorial Park after residents protested the planned display of a Satanic Temple monument that would have countered a statue of a soldier kneeling at a Christian cross and grave.
"The debate between those communities has drawn significant regional and national attention to our city, and has promoted divisiveness among our own residents," Belle Plaine city officials explained at the time.