BELLE PLAINE, Minn. – After fighting to restore a monument designed to honor veterans, the people of Belle Plaine are now dealing with the unintended consequences of their actions as a satanist group makes plans to install a monument of their own.
As Alpha News previously reported, the controversy surrounded a monument of a kneeling soldier in front of a cross-shaped grave marker with a rifle in his hand. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) succeeded in removing the cross from the Belle Plaine Minnesota Veterans Memorial in January by taking their complaints to the city.
Belle Plaine residents were outraged with the city’s decision to remove the cross from the monument. A group of citizens, led by Andy Parrish, former Chief of Staff and campaign director for former US Representative Michele Bachmann, started a Facebook page and movement to restore the cross entitled “Defend Veterans Park.”
A community effort ensued to replace the cross in the memorial. Candidate for Minnesota Attorney General Doug Wardlow, working for Alliance Defending Freedom, helped lead the legal battle. He proposed the city create a small section of land designated as a limited public forum. The measure would allow individuals – within certain restrictions and approval by the City Council – to put up memorials honoring veterans in the park.
A proposal similar to Wardlow’s was adopted, and the cross at Belle Plaine Memorial Park was reinstalled. However, the city’s version of the proposal did not include the residency requirement that was in Wardlow’s proposal, which opened the doors to outside groups getting involved.
Now, the Satanic Temple in Salem, Mass. is planning to put a monument of their own in the Memorial Park. The Star Tribune reports the memorial is designed to be a black cube, inscribed with inverted pentagrams and crowned by an upturned helmet.
“Belle Plaine’s limited public forum policy creates a space for private expression honoring veterans. It is consistent with the First Amendment, which protects private expression including speech that many may find objectionable.” Wardlow told Alpha News. “The people viewing the displays can judge for themselves whether the expression is worthy of praise or condemnation.” Wardlow said.
Wardlow’s counterpart in the effort to get the cross reinstalled weighed in on the issue as well. “I’ve seen the plans,” said Parrish, “it’s not offensive, just annoying.”
According to to the Star Tribune, the Reason Alliance, the Satanic Temple’s nonprofit fundraising arm, says it filed an application to erect the memorial to “honor nonreligious service members.”
The Satanic Temple did not respond to Alpha News’ questions about the memorial at the time of publication.
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