BELLE PLAINE, Minn.- Satanist are suing the town of Belle Plaine for not putting up a satanist memorial in a veterans park.
It all started in April when a citizen of Belle Plaine protested against a 2-foot statue of a soldier kneeling next to a cross. The statue is called ‘Joe’ and was created by veteran Joe Gregory, who was a regular contributor to veterans organizations in the town. The complaint was the result of the person believing a cross to be a religious expression not allowed on public property.
As a response, the town decided to make a free speech zone in the park, which would allow memorials with religious connotations. In order to test the cities new free speech zone in the park, the Satanic Temple, a Satanist organization from Salem, Massachusetts, decided to come forward with a memorial of their own to put in the park. The memorial was to be a black cube with an upside down helmet.
Eventually the town decided to get rid of the free speech zone altogether as a result of protest from people angry about a satanist memorial being put up, meaning the town would no longer allow the satanist memorial nor ‘Joe’.
In response, the Satanic Temple is now suing the town for $35,000, the cost of the memorial they built. The attorney for the Satanic Temple argues that the city breached its contract with the Satanist group when it revoked the free speech zone.
The city’s attorney denies that the city had any contractual obligations with the Satanic Temple and points out that the satanist were refunded the $100 for their application after the city council revoked the free speech zone.
If the court does side with the satanist, however, Belle Plaine is covered by the Minnesota League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. The claim will be paid out through this trust, potentially affecting the amount each city of the league is required to pay in premiums.