A Florida pastor is vowing to take a sledge hammer to a local teacher’s planned holiday display -- that honors Satan.
Pastor Mark Boykin, senior pastor at Church of All Nations in Boca Raton, says he's astounded the city is allowing middle school teacher Preston Smith to install a 6-foot pentagram, painted blood red with a wooden symbol of Satan in the middle.
He says he has a sledgehammer ready to go.
“It’s evil, it’s the essence of evil,” he told CBS 12. “I will take responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down.”
The giant metal pentagram – weighing some 300 pounds – is set to be installed in Boca Raton’s Sanborn Square just in time for the holidays.
It will read: “In Satan We Trust,” “One Nation under Antichrist” and “May the Children Hail Satan.”
“In essence they’re putting out a welcome mat for Satan,” he told CBS 12. “I think this is reprehensible. I think it’s an insult to our city.”
Smith, who refers to himself as an Atheistic Satanist, says he has already submitted the application with the city. Along with the pentagram, he also intends to put up a “Freedom from Religion Nativity Scene” that he said stresses that there can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent.
Jeremy Rodgers, Boca Raton’s deputy mayor, said the city will approve it, despite it being “offensive.”
“Our lawyers said whatever you do, don’t [not approve it]. Because it will be an expensive lawsuit,” he said.
Scott Singer, a city council member, said freedom of speech gives people the opportunity to express themselves “whether government likes it or not or whether individual like it or not.”
Last December, Smith, who teaches language arts at Boca Raton Community Middle School, installed a similar pentagram in the same park where a church set up a traditional nativity scene.
He defended his actions saying he never wanted to "proselytize" his students.
"Students have an uncanny ability to be more tolerant, respectful, and educated about diversity than most adults," he said in a statement at the time. "There is a mutual understanding not to discuss the display with me on campus."
This new pentagram and the Freedom from Religion Nativity Scene is set to be on display from Dec. 1 through Jan. 6, 2018.