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The paper sign said "Vote Satan" in red, white and blue, right next to an American flag. But a thief ripped down the sign, and the Satanist couple who made it are as mad as... well... H-E-double-L.
"We are Satanists," Luigi Bellaviste of Mountain View, Colo., told Denver's KCNC-TV about his and his wife Angie's religious beliefs. "I feel like we're being treated unfairly because it's not a so-called mainstream religion."
Not only did a thief rip down their "Vote Satan" sign, but police wronged the couple a second time by declining to classify the theft as a hate crime, the Bellavistes say.
"Had that been the Star of David or a verse from the Koran, ... that would certainly be considered a hate crime," Luigi Bellaviste told KCNC about his "Vote Satan" sign theft.
To prove a hate crime, called a bias-motivated crime under Colorado law, prosecutors must generally show that a person:
Mountain View police, however, say the "Vote Satan" theft showed no signs of a religiously motivated attack. With no evidence of the thief's intent, proving bias may not be possible -- at least, not without some divine (or Satanist) intervention.
This isn't the first time the Bellavistes have felt singled-out because of their Satanist beliefs. Neighbors have locked horns with them over the "Vote Satan" sign, along with other yard decorations like a Christmas tree painted black, several skulls, and displays of the Satanic number 666, KCNC reports.
Still, most of Luigi and Angie Bellaviste's non-Satanist neighbors are supporting their pursuit of justice for the "Vote Satan" sign theft. "It's still their property, it's still their house," one neighbor told KCNC. "They have a right to say whatever they have to say."
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