A law firm representing The Satanic Temple is threatening to sue Mississippi if the state intends to follow through with its intention to place “In God We Trust” on their state flag.
Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed legislation last month establishing a nine-member commission to redesign the state flag with the phrase “In God We Trust” and without the Confederate flag.
Describing his law firm as one that “proudly serves as First Amendment Counsel to the Satanic Temple,” First Amendment lawyer Marc J. Randazza of Randazza Legal Group wrote in a recent letter to the attorney general of Mississippi that his client “has asked us to bring an issue of constitutional importance to your attention.”
We understand that your state is planning to take the very positive step of removing the Confederate battle flag from the Mississippi state flag. However, it is our understanding that the proposal calls for it to be replaced with “In God we Trust”, a proposal you seem to endorse. While the Satanic Temple supports the removal of the Confederate flag, removing one divisive symbol of exclusion only to replace it with a divisive phrase of exclusion does not eliminate exclusion, but rather moves it from one group to a collection of others.
Randazza went on to offer his client’s suggestion that, if any religious phrase were placed on the redesigned state flag, mention of Satan should be included. “Before you hand wave this idea away,” he wrote, “I would like to draw your attention to the seven tenets of the Satanic Temple.”
Randazza described The Satanic Temple’s seven tenets as seemingly “more consistent with Mississippian values than even the Ten Commandments,” an insight he explained in a breezy footnote. He concluded by threatening that “should the state of Mississippi insist on placing this exclusionary religious phrase on its flag, we do intend to file suit and seek injunctive relief against this act.”
Randazza, whose other clients have included Alex Jones and the founder of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, also represented The Satanic Temple pro bono in a 2018 religious discrimination lawsuit against Twitter, which caused a fracture within the organization when its Los Angeles chapter broke off in protest at his legal representation.
Founded in 2013, The Satanic Temple has featured repeatedly in prominent lawsuits that test the limits of separation of church and state. The organization made headlines in 2018 when it protested a Ten Commandments display outside the Arkansas State Capitol by wheeling out a statue depicting children looking up to Baphomet, an androgynous, goat-headed demon with wings.
— Marine Glisovic KATV (@KATVMarine) August 16, 2018
The Satanic Temple denies any belief in a personal Devil and maintains instead that “to embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions,” according to its website.