ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The Satanic Temple Indiana Chapter is “adopting” part of a rural Zionsville highway and the Indiana Department of Transportation this week installed roadside signs displaying the group’s name.
Through Indiana Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program, the state places a group’s name on roadside signs if they commit to cleaning up litter on a 2-mile stretch of a highway at least four times a year.
Satanic Temple members said they have already cleaned up their stretch twice this year along U.S. 421 near State Road 32. That’s not enough to win over Jill Konija, whose property line is just a few feet from one of the signs.
“We’re obviously believers in God,” Konija said. “It’s like advertising a Satanic church in front of our home.”
Konija said the first few feet of the roadside grass belong to the state.
An INDOT spokesperson said the sign will stay as long as the Satanic Temple agrees to keep cleaning up.
Mary Rosswurm, who lives across the street, said she’s concerned about the sign affecting her property value.
“There could maybe only be one other sign that’s worse that that to have up from your house,” Rosswurm said. “Which would be the KKK (Ku Klux Klan).”
Satanic Temple Indiana Chapter head Damien Blackmoor said the group is atheistic and they do not worship Satan.
“We’re not out here sacrificing babies,” Blackmoor said.
The group’s website said “to embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic, tradition-based superstitions.”
Blackmoor said the chapter has no physical temple or building. They meet for several events and are planning the Pagan Pride Field Trip and an event called Lunch with Lucifer.
“(We are) very much wanting to pursue knowledge and free will, act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures within reason,” Blackmoor said.
Blackmoor said they’d clean the highway even without the sign.
They applied to adopt the highway earlier this year.
An INDOT spokersperson said the department respects freedom of speech and there are no restrictions on what types of groups can “adopt.”
Fritz Kolmerton lives next to the Konijas.
“My reaction was if they wanna clean the highway, they’re more than welcome to,” Kolmerton said. “It doesn’t matter to me who’s doing it one way or the other.”