The anti-Christians are at it again.
A group calling itself the Satanic Temple wants to put up a “holidays” display in the Florida State Capitol, after a similar display was rejected last year.
Helping to push the effort is Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which sent a threatening legal letter to the Florida Department of Management Services over its refusal to allow the Satanists to set up in the Capitol.
The letter contained the usual claptrap about the “wall of separation” and equal access, etc., all under threat of filing an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit.
Some people might be impressed, thinking that there’s something to the case because several seemingly disparate groups are coming together to gain access to a public space, but really this is just a setup designed to a) make money off of the state of Florida, and b) push Christians further out of the political arena.
For starters, the “display” is not even a serious marketing effort. It literally looks like the sort of thing kids make out of cardboard, spray paint and cotton balls for school projects. The diorama is supposed to show Satan being cast into Hell, includes a photocopied Bible verse and a sign wishing “Happy Holidays” from the Satanic Temple.
Second, the Satanic Temple is based in New York and has no obvious connection to Florida. If the Satanists have a local group of aspirants who feel a burning need to display their beliefs, they have yet to produce them.
Then there’s Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a nonprofit lawyers group that touts itself as being supported by people of many faiths, but that really is just another atheist group along the lines of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. AU, as it calls itself, is one of those groups that makes money from fishing around the country looking for crosses and Ten Commandments displays to tear down.
A similar display from the Satanists was rejected last year by state officials as being too offensive, a claim that, ironically, atheists like to make about Christian monuments, prayers, references and so forth to justify their endless lawsuits. The AU asserts that Satanists have the right to put up their display at a time of year when other people are celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas.
“Members of the religious majority are sometimes offended by the beliefs of religious minorities, and vice/versa,” the AU letter reads. “But the Satanic Temple is not required to censor itself in order to take advantage of a forum supposedly open to all.”
That the atheist group and the Satanists are teaming up says a lot about their shared motivations and beliefs.
While Satanism uses the trappings of religion, specifically Christian-derived trappings, they are mostly just for the purposes of mocking Christianity. While there may be someone out there who sincerely believes he wants the blessings of Angra Mainyu or whatever demon of the week, the public Satanic churches are all about undermining Christianity and nothing else. There’s no “there” there, to borrow a phrase. Satanic “ceremonies” are more like social clubs for people who want to get high, stomp on crosses and have sadomasochistic group sex.
Similarly, the proposed display is just a chance to poke Christians in the eye during Christmas. The fact that it was obviously put together out of Elmer’s glue and craft paper should make that point clear. There’s no real belief being expressed except for hatred of Christians. Satanists hate Jews as well, but tend to aim their barbs at the bigger target.
Atheist groups operate in the same vein. Atheist “holiday” displays typically are all about telling people why Christians are wrong, or about simply insulting Christian traditions.
I recently had a running online conversation with an atheist acquaintance who just couldn’t bring himself to accept that atheism is a religion, pushing instead the sophomoric non sequitur that atheism is a “non-belief.” After several rounds of questioning, I got him into a corner where, because he felt so strongly compelled to deny that atheism is a belief, he said that atheism was actually nothing but atheists “accepted” that there is no God.
For people who literally believe in “no-thing,” they are remarkably persistent about evangelizing. Atheists may not truly believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but they are big believers in tearing down Christianity.
Satanism is defiance wrapped in a lie and smothered in scary sauce. Atheism is defiance wrapped in a lie and marinated in pseudo-intellectual pretensions. No wonder the two groups get along so well.
If legislators wanted to truly put an end to this kind of annual nonsense, all they would need to do is enact a clear statute that allows equal access to public displays of religious expression on public land, but with a few caveats.
First, all such displays should be sponsored, erected and maintained exclusively by local members of the group. That would eliminate a substantial number of Satanic and atheist displays right off the bat.
Second, ban any display whose primary purpose is to mock, belittle or undermine another religion. That eliminates the great bulk of possible Satanic and atheist offerings of “holiday” displays.
Third, require all such displays to be connected to recognized, legitimate holidays particular to that religion. No glomming on to Christmas because you hate Christians, for example. The holiday should have a substantial track record of celebration by members of the group so there are no “holidays” made up on the spur of the moment just to be funny or annoying.
Fourth, all such displays should be allowed only by groups that are publicly recognized as, and openly admit to being, religious in nature. If any atheists hung on till this point, this would probably knock them out. Atheists have a lot riding on this “non-belief” nonsense, which they’ve parlayed in courtrooms across the land into a point where atheists are allowed to be religiously offended or excluded, but they themselves don’t have to suffer any of the responsibilities other religious groups have to live up to, such as not politicking while accepting tax breaks or not discussing their beliefs in schools.
Public religious diversity is a noble goal, and it’s eminently doable if a little common sense is applied to get rid of the jokers trying to game the system.