Wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘Catholic Warrior’, 54-year-old Susan Hemeryck was arrested in Tallahassee FL on December 23 after she allegedly began to tear down a display erected by the so-called Satanic Temple at the Florida Capitol. According to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat, she told two police officers that she "was sorry and had to take down the Satanic display", adding that it was "not right."
 
When Hemeryck tried to remove the display, an Capitol Building officer stopped her and told her to put it back. When the officer said that Hemeryck was in violation of the law, Hemeryck responded that she "could not take it anymore" and began trying to tear down the display.  "It's just wrong, when you remove baby Jesus two days before Christmas and put Satan in his place — that just can't happen. I couldn't allow it to happen," Hemeryck told the Associated Press "I was there at the right time and the right moment and I needed to take a stand against Satan."
 
The display shows an angel falling into flames with the message "Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple." It had been put in place at the capitol by an atheist group as a riposte to a Nativity scene that had already been removed. 
 
A display proposed by the Satanic Temple in 2013 was rejected as "grossly offensive." However, the Florida Department of Management Services gave its approval following a threat of legal action by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. A spokesman for the atheist group said that the now damaged display will remain in place "as a sign of what the religious right's idea of tolerance is." A spokesperson for Christians who had displayed the Nativity scene disapproved of the attack on the atheist display.
 
Hemeryck, who claims she has no criminal record, now faces a charge of criminal mischief. 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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