Satanists Have Been Doing a Great Job of Getting All Up in Christian Special Rights

Posted: November 8, 2014 in legal / law, religion
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Religiously, I think that 2014 will go down for me as the year I grew to really really like Satanists.

The problem with atheists challenging Establishment Clause cases (such as prayer at city council meetings, 10 Commandment statues on public property, etc.) is that the Christian majority claim they aren’t hurting anyone and that atheists don’t have a claim to things because they’re not religious. Yeah, it’s about as stupid as anti-marriage equality arguments, but they’re still made.

In fact, they’re made to the point that some religious deferation (is that a word?) is given in legislation and even Supreme Court rulings. As in, the Hobby Lobby case where the Supreme Court ruled that a tightly held company can impose their religious beliefs on their employees.

Enter the Satanists. They don’t have the problem that atheists do in that they are religious, and therefore, for anything that the Christians claim can be done because they are religious, the Satanists can, too.

And this year, they certainly have. In particular, there are three cases so far this year, and of course, each has managed to piss off World Net Daily.

One is the above-mentioned Hobby Lobby case, “Satanists Use Hobby Lobby to Play Devil’s Advocate.” In a three-paragraph snippet from ABC News, WND reprinted (emphasis mine):

A group of Satanists are using the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision to promote their own political initiatives — which are the polar opposite of the Christian craft store giant.

The Supreme Court ruling allows Hobby Lobby to opt out of providing contraceptives to employees on the basis of their religious beliefs. Now, The Satanic Temple plans to cite the verdict as justification for the protection of their own beliefs.

The Satanic Temple, a religious group based in New York but with followers across the country, is using the ruling to fight informed consent laws which mandate that women considering abortions must be given state-approved literature about the procedure.

In other words, the Satanists are claiming that it’s against their religion to restrict access to abortion and contraception. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Another case was that a Florida public school district was handing out Christian literature. After this was pointed out as illegal unless other literature could be handed out, and district officials refused to stop handing out Christian literature, the Satanic Temple came in (“Satanists Handing Out Religious Literature at Schools”):

The Satanic Temple of New York City has been granted permission to pass out its literature to students in public schools in the Orlando, Florida, area after district officials declined to prohibit distribution of religious materials. […]

Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told the Times: “We think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth.

“I am quite certain that all of the children in these Florida schools are already aware of the Christian religion and its Bible, and this might be the first exposure these children have to the actual practice of Satanism. We think many students will be very curious to see what we offer,” Greaves added.

The WND article was unattributed, but it attracted 416 comments (it was posted September 16, 2014). Surprisingly, other than the underlying theme of “this is bad, Jesus is good,” there is no one overriding type of response. The highest-rated comment is advocating for home schooling as a response.

I would advocate for just getting rid of the religious literature altogether at public schools.

The final case is actually the first in this timeline of three, and it has the most articles on WND:

All told, these various posts have a total of 3304 comments. Leo’s has the most at 2333, while Bob’s is second at 536.

For those who didn’t follow the story, the short-short version is that the Oklahoma Civic Center is a public space, and therefore it cannot discriminate based on religion the kinds of events that it books. The Satanists booked it to hold a black mass. And the Christians got angry, including the Governor (who got which Satanic group was holding it wrong, hence the second story in that list). But, the Governor was very correct in pointing out that while she might not like it, the Satanists had every right to hold their event.

From what I recall, the civic center hall they booked only held 88 people, and most estimate that the majority of the sell-out was due to reporters. 42 people attended. Contrast that with the 1200 reported protestors.

Fortunately, for some of the stories that get very few comments, anti-WND sentiment can sneak through. The highest-rated comment on the “Sell Out” story is by “AnsonMac” who wrote: “This is what freedom of religion means folks.”

Couldn’t’ve said it better myself.

Edited to Add (November 16, 2014): In “Satanic Request Has Schools Rethinking Policy,” WND informs us that because of the Satanists upsetting Poor Christian Sensibilities®, the school board is re-thinking its policy of allowing any religious material to be handed out. Shocker. However, the soonest that the policy can change is January or February.

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