Iowa lawmakers urge that Governor Kim Reynolds remove a demonic display from the Capitol.

An eastern Iowa lawmaker is urging Gov. Kim Reynolds to remove a satanic display in the Iowa Capitol, citing its unconstitutionality.

In the December 8 edition of his Sherman Liberty Letter, Representative Brad Sherman, who represents Iowa County and part of Johnson County, expresses his support for legislation that aligns with our State Constitution. He emphasizes the need to prohibit satanic displays in our Capitol building and on all state-owned property.

He suggests passing new legislation that would allow the display of the Ten Commandments in all state buildings, including the Capitol, as well as in public schools across Iowa.

However, not all Republican legislators are fully behind Sherman’s initiative. Some of them are opposed to the government imposing restrictions on freedom of speech as a response to the display, especially considering that it will only be in place for a period of two weeks.

Sherman: Iowa Constitution endorses God, and Satan is his enemy

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The display is completed with the temple’s seal, electric candles, and a caped figure that represents the pagan idol Baphomet. The figure holds a ribbon-bedecked pentangle and is topped with a gilded ram’s head.

Sherman notes that the exhibit has sparked significant outrage and disgust among the people of Iowa. However, many individuals believe that there are limited legal options available due to the protections of free speech and freedom of religion.

“I disagree,” he adds.

In the preamble to the Iowa Constitution, it states, “Grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings we have enjoyed and recognizing our dependence on Him for the continuation of those blessings, we, the people of the State of Iowa, establish a free and independent government known as the State of Iowa…”

Sherman writes that the Constitution of Iowa establishes the fundamental principles upon which laws and the ongoing prosperity of the state are built. The opening lines of the Constitution affirm three key points: firstly, the existence of a single Supreme God; secondly, that blessings bestowed upon the state originate from this Supreme God; and thirdly, that the people of Iowa must rely on the Supreme God in order to sustain these blessings.

According to his statement, the interpretation of law that grants Satan, known as the adversary of God, the same religious expression as God within a government institution that relies on God’s blessings is a convoluted and distorted perspective.

Nativity to be installed at Capitol this week

Many other Iowans who have seen the exhibit were also deeply offended.

Nikkel announced that a Nativity will be displayed at the Capitol on Tuesday at noon. This will allow Iowans to witness the true reason for the season. Iowa Senator Cherielynn Westrich, a Republican representing Ottumwa and Albia, confirmed the details of the plan on Facebook.

State Representative Jon Dunwell, a Republican from Newton, took to X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter, as well as Facebook, to address the controversy surrounding the allowed display. Despite facing significant backlash, Dunwell, an ordained minister and devout Christian, expressed his personal objection to the Satanic Temple’s display.

According to him, the individuals responsible for the display have adhered to all the necessary regulations, and it is worth noting that the current approach has been to either permit all displays or none at all.

“The Legislature has the power to attempt to modify those rules,” he asserts, “but as an Iowan and a State Representative, I am reluctant to have the state involved in assessing and making judgments about religions. My actions are guided by the principles outlined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.”

“The display holds no inherent power as it is merely an inanimate object. There is no need to be afraid,” he reassures, emphasizing that “the most crucial response is to engage in prayer.”

Lawmakers: Compromising rights a bigger threat than satanic display

Dunwell urges a thorough examination of the guidelines for displays “to guarantee they accurately reflect our constitutional rights.” He emphasizes the importance of closely monitoring the number of organizations requesting displays to prevent overwhelming the Capitol. Additionally, Dunwell advocates for ongoing dialogue with fellow elected officials and citizens of Iowa to address this matter effectively.

In response to the criticism he received, Dunwell defended his position in a recent post.

“I’d prefer to have a display that some may consider evil or blasphemous, or no display at all, rather than allowing the state to dictate what they deem appropriate,” he asserts. He expresses his astonishment at the number of individuals willing to relinquish their freedom in order to avoid encountering a display that may conflict with their personal beliefs.”

According to Rep. Steve Holt, a Republican from Crawford County, he shares a philosophical agreement with Sherman. However, Holt believes that Iowans should have the freedom to hold differing opinions regarding religion. In an interview, Holt expressed his view that decisions concerning civil liberties should not solely rely on the state constitution.

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“We have the federal constitution and the Bill of Rights that embody the foundational values of our country, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion,” he explained. “Although I strongly disagree with everything this organization stands for, I still recognize their constitutionally protected right to display their beliefs.”

According to Holt, during his time in office, both atheist displays and Nativity scenes have been set up in the Capitol. Nativity scenes have been periodically displayed in the Capitol since at least 2016. In response, the Freedom from Religion Foundation presented a “Nativity” for the Bill of Rights.

Holt expressed his belief that the current satanic display is a test. He sees it as a challenge to individuals’ allegiance to the Constitution and their commitment to the principles of free speech and free religion. It is effortless to support these ideals when the speech being expressed is not objectionable. However, when the speech becomes highly offensive and objectionable, the question arises: will people still stand up for the constitutional rights of others, as long as the speech does not break any laws?

Satanic Temple founder: Ignore display if it offends you

According to Greaves, there is a common misconception that the Satanic Temple aims to offend Christians, but this is not the case. He emphasizes that even those who may disagree with the symbolism associated with their values should recognize the importance of preventing the government from selectively favoring certain forms of religious expression.

“People assume that we’re there to insult Christians and we’re not,” Greaves said. “And I would hope that even people who disagree with the symbolism behind our values, whether they know what those values (are) or not, would at least appreciate that it’s certainly a greater evil to allow the government to pick and choose between forms of religious expression.”

According to Greaves, there is no compulsion for individuals to interact with the display or to engage with it.

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