School Board Not Open to Real Religious Debate

The Satanic Children's Big Book of ActivitiesSomehow, I managed not to write about last year’s release of The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities (pdf). It’s a great book — very well made — and filled with the good wholesome teachings that I’ve come to expect from The Satanic Temple. That’s not sarcasm. I’ve written about it before, Seven Tenets Beat Ten Commandments. Most people think of The Satanic Temple as a joke meant to poke Christians in the eye. Well, it is that. But it is also an honest effort at a religion that is far more moral than any of the Abrahamic faiths. In the teachings of The Satanic Temple, you won’t find justifications for slavery and murder.

The activity book was a response to a decision in Orange County, Florida to allow Christians to distribute religious material to students at public schools. If the schools were going to allow that, then certainly The Satanic Temple should be allowed to distribute its materials. And as one who has gone through the whole activity book, I can tell you that the Christians were going to lose. Not only are the Satanists a more playful group, but Satanic iconography is a lot more fun. Be honest: would you rather see friendly goats and pentagrams or the tired old cross and a baby in a food trough?

I learned from Steve Benen over the weekend that the school board decided that they wouldn’t let any religious material be distributed to the kids. This was a foregone conclusion as soon as The Satanic Temple muddied the waters. But I think the whole thing is pathetic. It shows that people don’t respect Christianity in this country out of any regard for its teaching. It is all about how popular Christianity is in this country. If I had young children, I certainly wouldn’t want them exposed to the truly terrifying images found in the Book of Revelation. And that’s to say nothing of the truly vile and immoral content that makes up much of the Old Testament.

There is absolutely nothing offensive in The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities. The problem that the school board has is that Christians don’t like the idea and the name Satan. The truth is that Satan really isn’t that bad a guy in the Bible. Mostly, he’s just there to keep humanity honest. He certainly isn’t what most modern Christians make him out to be. In discussing Satan with Christians, I get the idea that many of them are not monotheists. They believe in a limited form of polytheism where God represents “good” and Satan represents “evil.” In my estimation, 90% of all American Christians would have been burned alive in the middle ages because their many heresies.

The school district showed its true colors on this most recent debacle. What they’ve demonstrated is that they believe that some religions are fine while others are not. There is no difference between these school board members and those Romans of the early days of Christianity who didn’t accept that the new cult was valid. They don’t want an honest debate between religions. So it is fine to indoctrinate the kids into the teachings of Christianity, as long as they hear nothing else. And once they get a little push-back from The Satanic Temple, they fold up shop. And why not? The United States is already almost 80% Christian. They don’t need to have an honest fight for the hearts and souls of the people; they can just depend upon tradition to keep their iron age folderol going.

But let me just remind you of what The Satanic Temple stands for, because it is an unquestionable good. Compare it to the idea that you should murder your son if God tells you to. And then ask who exactly is preaching evil.

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forego your own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

The cowardly bigots at the Orange County school board had better hope that there is not a just Abrahamic God, because there will be hell to pay — literally.

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