Arizona GOP lawmakers back bill to prohibit satanic displays on public property
More than a dozen Republican state senators have signed onto a bill that would prohibit satanic displays from being placed on public property in Arizona.
Senate Bill 1279 is known as the Reject Escalating Satanism by Preserving Essential Core Traditions Act — or RESPECT.
It specifically prohibits any memorials, statues, altars, displays or any other method “of representing or honoring Satan” on public property.
The bill does not bar any other religions from public displays.
The introduction of SB1279 follows the placement of a statue of the goat-headed deity Baphomet in the Iowa State Capitol by a local chapter of The Satanic Temple. The installation was allowed under a law that permits religious displays during the holidays. The statue drew strong criticism and was ultimately destroyed by a Mississippi man, who’s since been charged with a hate crime.
The Arizona chapter of The Satanic Temple called out the bill’s sponsors on social media, saying “minority religions are entitled to free exercise, too.”
The group doesn’t actually practice devil worship or even believe in a literal Satan. They describe themselves as a “non-theistic religious organization” and frequently use satanic imagery to highlight encroachments on religious freedom.
SB1279 is sponsored by 13 Republican senators, including Sen. Wendy Rogers of Flagstaff and Lake Havasu’s Sen. Sonny Borrelli. It’s scheduled to go before the Senate Government Committee on Wednesday.