UPDATE! The Satanic Temple statue in the Iowa state capitol building has been torn down……

Denison Forum

Dr. Jim Denison

While it’s not unusual for nativity scenes to make the news around Christmastime, a different form of public display inside the Iowa state capitol building has made headlines in recent days. The Satanic Temple placed a statue of the pagan idol Baphomet and other satanic paraphernalia in the building’s rotunda near the capitol’s annual nativity scene.

While the scene has generated quite a bit of controversy from many of the state’s citizens, responses from the community have varied.

Governor Kim Reynolds called it “absolutely objectionable” while asking for prayer over the building. Rep. Jon Dunwell pointed out, “I don’t want the state evaluating and making determinations about religions.” Considering history has shown that when the government attempts to regulate religion, religion usually loses, he has a point.

Conversely, Michael Cassidy—who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in Mississippi last year—responded by tearing the idol down yesterday. He’s since been charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.

What has largely gotten lost in the controversy, however, is that equal representation for satanic groups isn’t really the point they’re trying to make by placing their idol on capitol grounds. More Here From Dr. Jim Denison

Fox News Covered This Story Also! 

The Christian Post reported yesterday that a satanic exhibit in the Iowa State Capitol has caused a stir among the state’s Republican representatives as to the legal necessity of allowing such displays on state property.  The “Satanic Temple of Iowa” erected the exhibit, which depicts a silver ram’s head on a mannequin and includes an inverted pentagram.

Skylar Tallal Photograph | via Iowa’s News Now

State Representative Jon Dunwell (R), who is a Christian pastor, told The Christian Post that while he personally disagrees with what the display represents, he doesn’t believe the government should be getting involved, stating “[f]or me, I would rather have an evil, blasphemous display or no display at all than [to] have the state dictate what they think is appropriate.”

In contrast, State Representative Brad Sherman (R), who also is a Christian pastor, told The Christian Post that there is potential legal recourse by which satanic displays could be prohibited on state-owned property, citing the preamble to the 1857 Iowa State Constitution, which established the state on the basis of a belief in a “Supreme Being” and “dependence on Him for a continuation of those blessings.”  Sherman described any legal interpretation that would afford Satan and God the same religious expression as “twisted and tortured.”

The Christian Post article may be read HERE.

My brothers and sisters, at issue, at least in part, is how one views the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the concept of the Establishment Clause – including how much weight and legal precedent should be afforded to Thomas Jefferson’s letter which discussed separation between church and state.

Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to answer a letter from them written in October 1801.  In Jefferson’s reply, he did not address the association’s concerns about problems with state-level establishment of religion, but the establishment of religion on the national level.  The letter contained the phrase “wall of separation between church and state,” which led to what we now call the “Establishment Clause.”

As a reminder, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  The amendment does not ban all connection between the church and civil government, but rather, it prohibits the state from establishing (mandating) an official state religion or infringing upon a citizen’s right to invoke his or her faith and to worship freely.

Without attempting to provide some sort of legal analysis, the fact remains, from a spiritual perspective, that if a Christian pastor who also happens to be an elected representative within state civil government supports the bold display of an altar or idol dedicated to Satan within the state capitol, then something seems askew.

If eternal souls are at stake (and they are), then the bold and public display of a satanic exhibit can be interpreted by those who may be “on the fence” and are perishing (read:  have not believed upon the name of Jesus unto salvation) to reason that if even Christian pastors don’t bother to object to such a display, then where is the urgency and why should they put 100% of their trust in Jesus?

I expect this sort of reasoning from non-believers, but a believer asserting that his faith guides his life – including decision-making as an elected governmental official – who simultaneously argues that government should “not get involved” when staring at an in-your-face promotion of satanism within the state capitol, seems contradictory at best.  Even if an attempt to remove the exhibit were to ultimately fail, should not the argument at least be made that such an exhibit should be removed – for the good of the people?

This writer makes no apology that the Truth is a Person and His name is Jesus.  According to the word of God, the only way to the Father (salvation) is through Jesus.  This is not relative or dependent upon human circumstances, but is the absolute truth and bottom line of the Christian faith.  God will never share His glory with the evil one!

John 14:6 (NKJV)
“Jesus said to [Thomas], ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

Isaiah 42:8 (NKJV)
“I am the Lord, that is My name; [a]nd My glory I will not give to another, [n]or My praise to carved images.”

Isaiah 48:11 (NLT)
“I will rescue you for [M]y sake—yes, for [M]y own sake!  I will not let [M]y reputation be tarnished, and I will not share [M]y glory with idols!”

Got Questions[.org] has a solid discussion regarding why God will not give His glory to another, which may be read HERE.

Praise Jesus forevermore!

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