BOCA RATON, Florida – A South Florida middle-school teacher is again igniting rage among local Christians by planning a satanic display encouraging children to “hail Satan” in a public city park during the upcoming Christmas season.
Preston Smith, a language-arts teacher at Boca Raton Community Middle School, is looking to erect a giant, 300-pound metal pentagram with messages including: “May the Children Hail Satan,” “In Satan We Trust” and “One Nation under Antichrist.”
But one local pastor is vowing to personally demolish the display with a sledgehammer.
“In essence they’re putting out a welcome mat for Satan,” Pastor Mark Boykin, of the Church of All Nations in Boca Raton told WPEC-TV.
“I think this is reprehensible. I think it’s an insult to our city. … It’s evil, it’s the essence of evil. I will take the responsibility for taking the sledgehammer and knocking it down.”
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As disturbing as the display may be to some, city officials say they have little choice but to allow it.
“I find this extremely offensive. But you know, again, we’ve chosen as the council to honor free speech,” Susan Haynie, mayor of Boca Raton, told WPEC.
Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers echoed her sentiment: “We can’t say no to this, as offensive as it is. Our lawyers said whatever you do, don’t do that. Because it will be an expensive lawsuit.”
The demonic display is planned for Boca Raton’s Sanborn Square, the same location where Smith posted a similar display last December near Nativity displays, causing concern among parents who were unnerved by a schoolteacher who promotes praise for the devil.
Kim Bremer, president of the local Parent Teacher Association, told WPTV in December she didn’t want Smith to continue teaching at the school.
“A teacher we entrust our children with should not be putting a sign like this anywhere,” Bremer said.
See video of the 2016 satanic display in Boca Raton, Florida:
In response to the 2016 parental concerns and media inquiries, Palm Beach County School Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa told WPTV:
“We certainly can’t micro-manage what an individual does outside of the schoolhouse. I am aware of the situation. This isn’t the first time this individual has participated in an activity like that. What we do is answer any questions as they come up at the school.”
During last winter’s controversy, the teacher gave WPTV a statement indicating he does not “proselytize my own viewpoints in the classroom or disparage any child’s personal faith.”
“Students have an uncanny ability to be more tolerant, respectful, and educated about diversity than most adults. There is a mutual understanding not to discuss the display with me on campus,” Smith wrote.
“‘May the Children Hail Satan’ is an artistic expression of defiance toward the Sanborn Square nativity scene, which performs an annual reenactment of predatory indoctrination in a public park targeting young children before they have critical thinking skills. Satan and God are clearly both fictional characters devoid of any verifiable peer-reviewed scientific evidence.”
Earlier this month, WND reported how an after-school Satanist club in Tacoma, Washington, was an ignominious failure, attracting the interest of only one student.
“As we predicted, the so-called Satanist club fizzled,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel.
“These clubs have never been successful and are doomed to fail. The atheists use scare tactics to oppose the Good News Clubs, but we are neither fooled nor intimidated. The so-called Satanist Temple and its after-school club had nothing good to offer students, so it was only a matter of time before it fizzled out.
“The so-called Satanic Temple group is not legitimate. It’s a handful of atheists masquerading as so-called Satanists whose only reason for existence in schools is to be disruptive and oppose the Good News Clubs. Liberty Counsel has offered pro bono legal counsel to any schools targeted by this disruptive group. On the other hand, the Good News Clubs teach morals, character development, patriotism and respect from a Christian viewpoint. Public schools welcome these clubs because they improve the behavior of the students and the Supreme Court has sided with these clubs.”