This is not a baby goat you will want to hold.

Members of the Satanic Temple of Illinois installed a holiday-themed display inside the state Capitol in Springfield on Monday.

"This year's tradition marks a greater urgency in the Baphomet's message of harmony and reconciliation," said Erin Helian, the Satanic Temple's director of campaign operations, in a press release.


The display, which features an infant version of the Satanic deity Baphomet, was placed alongside the other city's holiday displays to celebrate Sol Invictus, an ancient Roman holiday later replaced by Christmas.

The piece, designed by Albuquerque-based horror artist Chris Andres, was placed next to Springfield's Christian nativity scene.

The display immediately drew criticism and protesters, most notably the Springfield diocese and its leader, Bishop Thomas Paprocki. Paprocki oversaw the installation of the traditional Christian nativity, arguing a Satanic display "should have no place in this Capitol or any other place," according to the State Journal-Register.

When representatives of the temple came to install the baby Baphomet sculpture, members of the Catholic advocacy group American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property gathered nearby to protest, holding signs that read, "Satan has no rights," and "Mary crushes the serpent," according to multiple outlets.

The criticism did not dissuade the Satanic Temple supporters, with the organization offering to meet with Paprocki to celebrate the season.

"This years' (sic) display celebrates unity," Helian said in a statement. "In keeping with that spirit, we have invited Bishop Paprocki to hold hands with members of The Satanic Temple while we come together and stand before all of the religious displays at the rotunda. I am sure people of all faiths in the Springfield community will be very disappointed if Bishop Paprocki turns down this opportunity and opts to divide people — especially during the holidays."

Paprocki has not publicly responded, and the Springfield diocese did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.


The Satanic Temple of Illinois has regularly installed Satanic displays within the state Capitol. In 2019, it installed a display titled "Knowledge is the Greatest Gift," a sculpture that featured the forearm of Eve from the Garden of Eden alongside an apple and snake. There was not a display in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The Satanic Temple is a humanist organization in Salem, Massachusetts, that regularly makes news because of its political activism and promotion of secular values. The temple made news in August when it attempted to sue Texas over the state's heartbeat abortion bill, claiming it was a breach of the organization's religious rights.