Pastor vows to knock down planned Satanic display on Boca Raton park

Representative image: a school teacher is planning to put up a pentagram display at Boca Raton's Sanborn Square in the upcoming holiday season. | Pixabay/Antranias

A pastor has vowed to tear down a Satanic display that a teacher wants to put up in a city park in Boca Raton, Florida during the upcoming holiday season.

According to CBS 12, local school teacher Preston Smith has submitted an application to set up a giant metal pentagram honoring Satan at Boca Raton's Sanborn Square, on Federal Highway.

The display, weighing 300 pounds, includes the captions: "In Satan We Trust," "One Nation under Antichrist" and "May the Children Hail Satan."

Pastor Mark Boykin, Senior Pastor at Church of All Nations in Boca Raton, said that he was astounded that the city would allow the teacher to put up a 6-foot-tall pentagram, painted blood red, with a wooden image of the holy symbol of Satan in the middle of it.

"In essence they're putting out a welcome mat for Satan," said the pastor, who vowed to tear down the symbol with a sledgehammer.

"It's evil, it's the essence of evil. I will take the responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down," he added.

Smith, who identifies as an Atheistic Satanist, also expressed plans to put up a "Freedom from Religion Nativity Scene," that stresses that religious freedom cannot exist without the freedom to dissent.

Last December, Smith also put up a metal pentagram in the same park, where traditional nativity scenes and other religious holiday displays are often found during the holiday season.

The pentagram was vandalized repeatedly last year and even ran over by a truck, but Smith continued to rebuild it.

Local leaders considered abolishing the free-expression zone at the park after Smith put up the pentagram, but the proposal was rejected in August at the urging of more than a dozen residents.

The ban would have revoked a 1990 city law that allowed residents to put up "unattended, expressive installations, displays, exhibits and similar objects" in the park during the winter holiday season.

Smith's pentagram and the Freedom from Religion Nativity scene will be on display at the park from Dec. 1, 2017 through Jan. 6, 2018.

"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 Jeremy Rodgers, Boca Raton Deputy Mayor.

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie said that she finds the display "extremely offensive," but she noted that the city council has decided to uphold the freedom of speech.

"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," said Scott Singer, a Boca Raton city council member.