The Satanic Temple has been granted permission to erect a memorial to soldiers killed in action beside a Christian memorial at Belle Plaine's Veterans Memorial Park in Minnesota.
The Star Tribune reported on Saturday that city leaders initially decided in January to remove a Christian memorial featuring a soldier kneeling before a cross and a Bible, fearing a lawsuit from atheists.
City residents protested against the removal, however, which led officials to designate an area in the park as a "free speech zone," allowing other religions and organizations to erect their own temporary memorials.
The Satanic Temple, headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, has since said it's planning to put up its own memorial, described as a "black cube, inscribed with inverted pentagrams and crowned by an upturned helmet."
Artist Chris P. Andres explained back in February that the memorial represents, in part, "humanistic perfection through curiosity and reason."
"The four pentagrams recall the four corners of the Earth — they serve as a reminder to the viewer of the satanic/pagan symbols/ideas sacred to soldiers that sacrificed. The black is a cold memory in mourning and a field of mystery and imagination. The gold is a Luciferian light reflecting light onto the view like a sacred icon," Andres said.
"The empty helmet is now a Baphometic bowl of wisdom, a void, a protective vessel of the mind and intellect. Memories of the fallen can be psychically deposited, physical notes, names, fruit offering can be left in the monument. This monument produces an interaction. It resembles a ritualistic sacrament as if it's to be used for something," he added.
Belle Plaine residents have said that they're not surprised groups like the Satanic Temple want to put up their memorials at the park.
"Everyone understood this could happen," said Andy Parrish, who led the charge to restore the cross. "It's more annoying than it is offensive."
Katie Novotny, who also supported the move to keep the Christian cross, added that the majority of residents have accepted that there will be new additions to the park.
"If you're truly a Christian, how can you be offended by someone wanting to honor our veterans even though they don't believe in the same things we believe in?" she asked.
The Satanic Temple group has petitioned for inclusion on public grounds in several cases over the past few years.
In one instance, the group threatened legal action against the state of Arkansas if it refused to place its Baphomet statue next to a Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol grounds in Little Rock back in 2015.
In November, a school district in Washington state became only the second in the nation to approve an After School Satan Club program for elementary school students, following complaints by the Satanic Temple of Seattle that the school allowed a Bible club.
Lucien Greaves, spokesman and co-founder of The Satanic Temple, told The Christian Post that local residents backed the club.
"As we've received supportive messages from parents in the Tacoma District, we're confident that the After School Satan Club will be sustained there as well," Greaves said in September 2016.
"Allowing the After School Satan Clubs access to the school district facilities is the only legal option available to the school districts we've applied to hold clubs in, as they also host 'Good News Clubs' organized by the Child Evangelism Fellowship," he added.