A Satanist family from Mountain View, Colorado, is claiming that a recent theft of a sign from their front porch qualifies as a hate crime. Luigi and Angie Bellaviste, who say they belong to the Church of Satan, are upset after a political poster that reads "VOTE SATAN" was removed from their yard.
The couple, who are apparently ardent Satanists (they even admit to having a Satanic Bible in their home), know that the sign wasn't popular in their neighborhood. The sign, though, isn't the only unpopular item present in and around the home. The couple's front-yard is filled with bizarre items -- a Christmas tree painted black, a giant spider, the number 666 and skulls.
"Everybody that sees that sign says, 'What is going on with those people?,'" says Mary Morasco, one of their neighbors.
Both Luigi and Angie believe that the removal of the sign was an attack on their religious beliefs and, thus, a hate crime. And they're asking local authorities to investigate the incident, just as they would any other religiously-based act, as a bias crime.
"I feel like we’re being treated unfairly because it’s not a so-called mainstream religion," said Luigi. "Had that been the Star of David or a verse from the Koran, or something like that got damaged by somebody against those beliefs that would certainly be considered a hate crime."
Watch the CBS report, below, for more:
Ironically, the neighbors -- most of whom dislike the Satanist symbols in the family's yard -- defend their right to have them and condemn the vandalism. In speaking with CBS Denver, numerous individuals said that, despite their disagreement with Satanism, it's the family's right to have their own religion and to display symbols outside of the home.
At this point, the Mountain View Police Department will likely file the report as theft, seeing as there was not an obvious attack on the couple's house or worship or beliefs. At this point, a lack of evidence would make a hate crime too premature and unfounded, it seems.
(H/T: CBS Denver)