Religious freedom is an unalloyed good, isn’t it? The idea was so cherished that it was written into the founding document of our nation. “Congress shall make no law”, and so forth. People ought to be able to practice the religion they like without government interference.
We don’t have only religious freedom in this great nation, but the ideology of Equality, which is the secular doctrine of non-judgmentalism, the sacred belief that no belief is sacred, the tenet that no tenet can be the Truth, a position which translates to the assurance that all religions are mere habits or charming cultural traditions. Equality insists no religion is superior to another, an attitude that drains religion of transcendence.
Marry religious freedom and Equality and you get Satanism. Truly. You’ve seen the headlines: Satanists have petitioned and won the right to offer the convocation at several events, and they’re now asking for the right to form after-school clubs.
We’re talking nerdy, storefront Satanists here, the Saul Alinsky kind who talk (in public) about Lucifer metaphorically, not the serious devotees who shun the public eye. But still. Satanists giving public prayers and guiding your children. And you, under the freedom of religion, made to accept it.
The way these encroachments came about is interesting. For instance, WEAR-TV reports that “David Suhor, co-founder of the local chapter of the Satanic Temple” offered the invocation at a recent Pensacola city council meeting. In winning the right to speak, Suhor told the Washington Post, “When one group wants their message to be the only one and they try to enlist the agenda of the government, people get angry. True religious diversity means I don’t have to respect what you believe, but I’ll defend your right to believe it.” Diversity is a theorem of Equality; it’s worth recalling diversity always leads to mandated quotas.
The Satanic Temple also argued their way into the Phoenix City Council. USA Today reported:
Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Kate Gallego said they support letting the satanists speak. Stanton released a statement, saying, “the Constitution demands equal treatment under the law” even though he disagrees with the group’s message.
Gallego also pointed to First Amendment protections, adding, “I just believe we’re a diverse society and if we have prayer, we welcome all points of view.”
All points of view? So that if some people openly resurrected the cult of Baal and began sacrificing children (and not just to Planned Parenthood), this would be a bona fide religious practice? Would Gallego defend their rights?
Instead of offering human lives, how about a sect drawing a pentagram around a city? No possibility of harming anybody with that. That’s what happened in Lancaster, California. Christians were there to protest the ritual, which is their right, too. But they couldn’t possibly object to the rite on religious freedom grounds.
Evangelical and other Christian groups have won the legal right to conduct after-school programs in public facilities, a prominent example being the Good News Clubs. Satanists latched onto the legal argument used by these organizations and are using it to place their own After School Satan clubs.
According to The Washington Post, Doug Mesner, a.k.a. Lucien Greaves, said the Satanic Temple is going to “leverage” the same “religious freedom laws that put after-school clubs in elementary schools nationwide.” The legal group that fought for the Good News Clubs, the Liberty Counsel,
agrees that the Satanic Temple has a right to organize its clubs in public schools and takes the view that they can’t be banned so long as they’re not disruptive or engaging in rituals that put people at risk.
“I would definitely oppose after-school Satanic clubs, but they have a First Amendment right to meet,” said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman.
The Post reminds us that in “2014, after the Supreme Court ruled that the regular recitation of prayers before town meetings did not violate the First Amendment, provided that towns do not discriminate among religions, the Temple decided to test just how much religious liberty towns allowed.”
It was the same story in the Granite School District in Taylorsville, Utah. A spokesperson wrote, “This ‘after-school Satan club’ must, by law, be treated like any other outside entity. If they want to rent a facility after hours and the building is available, they will be permitted to do so.”
It is clear from these examples that government officials will continue to succumbed to the argument that freedom of religion implies the State must not discriminate between religions, and that freedom of religion bars the State from forbidding any religion at State events.
The government is inconsistent, however. For instance, consider that the government routinely admonishes citizens on what to eat, warning of the dangers of certain foodstuffs. Yet, for the most part, the government does not forbid the public access to these supposedly deleterious products, though government often bans the products from government facilities. In the same way, the State could declare Satanism harmful and therefore forbidden at government events. This would not keep Satanists from freely exercising their religion, except on State property. The danger, of course, is that as Christianity wanes, the State could equally decide Christianity is harmful and therefore ban it from public venues, too. There is ample reason to suppose they would. Hillary Clinton said (more than once) that people have to change their religious beliefs on cultural matters, or risk being ostracized.
One extreme or the other will be embraced. Either all religions will be made welcome, and any attempts at protesting a religion’s presence at a public event, such as happened in Pensacola, will be treated harshly, or all religions will be banned. Either choice will accelerate the disappearance of traditional Western religion from public life.