The impotence of modern civic religion was recently on display in Belle Plaine, MN, when pressure forced the removal of a beloved monument.
In that little middle-American town, a covey of satanists exploited the liberal principle of religious tolerance – which in truth is not tolerance but indifference – to agitate for the removal of Christian symbols from the public square. Rather than act against the false notions of religious indifferentism that urges degraded prostration before the devil be given the same regard as the elevating worship of Almighty God, locals opted to saw the baby in half and shut the inn door to all state-sanctioned displays of the Christian religion.
In August 2016, the Belle Plaine Vets Club honored fallen U.S. veterans with a modest monument of a soldier kneeling in prayer in front of a grave marked with a cross. The inscription on the monument reads “Donated by Joseph Gregory U.S. Army,” after the benefactor and local veteran who died in October, 2016. Locals nicknamed the privately-owned cast-iron memorial “Joe”; its post was in the city’s Veterans Memorial Park.
In January of 2017, threats of a lawsuit rooted in arguments about the separation of church and state drove city leaders to remove the cross. The action upset locals, many of whom responded by setting up crosses in the park and placing silhouettes of “Joe” in their lawns throughout the city. Officials responded to the protests by creating a free speech zone in the park for the display of any religious memorials provided they honored veterans. The cross was returned to the Vets Club monument in April.
At the invitation of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the satanic temple based in Salem, MA commissioned a veterans’ memorial for the park. The dark artifact was a black cube carved with occult symbols, allegedly to honor nonreligious service members; to extend the mockery, atop the cube was placed an upside-down combat helmet that would act as a basin where visitors could place mementos and letters honoring fallen soldiers.
The city approved the group’s petition to have the memorial installed in the park. Had these plans gone through, it would have been the first satanic monument on public property in the U.S.
The community again reacted in protest. A Rosary Rally was also organized for July by the Catholic group America Needs Fatima, which was attended by over a hundred faithful. By the time of the rally, however, the “Joe” memorial had been removed from the park, and the city had nixed the free speech zone. The monument of the Massachusetts satanists would stay in Salem, but the cross was also gone from Belle Plaine’s Veterans Memorial Park.
Belle Plaine residents observed that the satanists had preyed on a small town that lacks the resources to resist – a point the satanists acknowledged when their spokesman said more such compromises would eliminate lawsuits.
It can be observed that the satanists said they do not worship the devil. Instead, they are angry atheists, progressivists, and pluralists who claim to have millions of dollars in funding as well as a team of aggressive lawyers and they want to fight for the separation of Church and State. Their diabolical trappings are essentially props, puerile tools used to shock, cow, disgust, and offend easy-going ordinary citizens accustomed to conventional social norms.
More significant than questions of litigation, however, are the principles under which a society is to be organized. Almighty God is owed public veneration, but the devil is not. Liberal concepts of freedom of conscience, speech, and religion proved to be feeble and mute in the presence of the sophomoric squawking of the liberal and atheist hoaxers, shams, and opportunists from Salem; it was by the threat of legal action, and not from the merit of their arguments, that they had their way. To the extent that the state makes of this liberal indifferentism a form of civic religion, as occurred in Belle Plaine, it inevitably renders to Caesar not what is Caesar’s, but what is God’s.
“All true felicity flows abundantly upon man from our august religion and its doctrine and practice; and that happy is the people whose God is their Lord. Teach that ‘kingdoms rest on the foundation of the Catholic Faith…’” Quanta Cura of Bl. Pope Pius IX
Belle Plaine – whose name means “beautiful prairie” in French – is a town of 7,000 souls located about 45 miles southwest of Minneapolis. The Society of St. Pius X cares for a parish there, Holy Family Chapel and Academy. There is also a Catholic diocesan church and various Protestant locations.