“Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” ― Thomas Jefferson
That’s as good a quote as any. Clearly the First Amendment, and the long history of abuses that led to it, has been completely forgotten. That whole separation of church and state is as much for the church’s benefit as the state’s. I don’t get to walk into your church and force you to worship Innana and you don’t get to demand that I live my life by your rules.
Since the main battle is taking place in Oklahoma I feel a need to share a story. I once needed to get my car fixed and I was cruising through Pernell Oklahoma and there happened to be a Pontiac dealership just outside of town. My wife at the time and I pulled into a motel, played 20 questions until the desk clerk was sure she wasn’t my daughter, and then got a room with a very limited selection of things to do. As in it was after 9 PM and there were no restaurants open, the local bar was (allegedly) miles away and the TV had 3 working channels. 2 were Fox news related. So we said the heck with it and called it a night. The next day I found out that the dealership opened at 7. I wanted out of this town and was there at 6:50 AM. My problem turned out to be simple but the mechanic was a little backed up so he said it would be an hour or so. Since I still smoked then and needed smokes I asked him what was my best bet. He pointed me to a trailer that was just outside the welcome to Pernell sign leading back into town. When I walked in I was greeted by an amazing site. There was the very fat man with a ahotgun sitting behind a bench. The trailer was full with porn, booze and smokes. You started walking at one end, picked up your purchases, paid at the other end and left. At 7:30 in the morning on a Friday I was 11th in line. When I looked at the parking lot I saw a lot of Pernell related church bumper stickers. I laughed for hours.
By now most of you have heard about the dust up in Oklahoma. The state capital erected a monument which features the Ten Commandments.Since they did this on state property people of other faiths demanded to be represented too. Because of the afore-referenced hypocrisy, they were told no.
Which has led, as it surely must, to Sean Murphy writing about the lawsuit between the Church of Satan and the Oklahoma legislature.
And, I can’t forget the 7 foot tall statue of Baphomet. Something that would go well in any home.
A satanic group unveiled designs Monday for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012.
The New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds, including an artist’s rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that’s often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.
“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond,” temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
The Satanic Temple maintains that the Oklahoma Legislature’s decision to authorize a privately funded Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol opened the door for its statue. The Ten Commandments monument was placed on the north steps of the building in 2012, and the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sued to have it removed.
Similar requests for monuments have been made by a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
In response, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission recently placed a moratorium on considering any new requests.
“Anybody can still make their request, but we’ll hold off on considering them until the lawsuit is adjudicated,” commission Chairman Trait Thompson said.
The push by the Satanic Temple has rankled elected leaders in this conservative state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt, who say such a proposal would never be approved by the commission.
“I think you’ve got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland,” said Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon. “I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us, but this is Oklahoma, and that’s not going to fly here.”
While Greaves acknowledges the Satanic Temple’s effort is in part to highlight what it says is hypocrisy of state leaders in Oklahoma, he says the group is serious about having a monument placed there.
The group already has raised nearly half of the $20,000 it says it needs to build the monument.
“We plan on moving forward one way or another,” Greaves said.
Another Oklahoma legislator, Rep. Earl Sears, called the group’s effort “an insult to the good people of the state.”
“I do not see Satanism as a religion, and they have no place at the state Capitol,” said Sears, R-Bartlesville.
On its website, the Satanic Temple explains that it “seeks to separate Religion from Superstition by acknowledging religious belief as a metaphorical framework with which we construct a narrative context for our goals and works.
“Satan stands as the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free & rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness,” the website says.
Rep. Earl Sears is what’s called, in polite company, “confused.” If the Satanic Temple was NOT a religion they would have every right to be on the public way. It is precisely because they ARE a religion that they shouldn’t be there. Nor should the Ten Commandments. Nor should the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other religious organization.
Otherwise the door is open to the very logical argument that those self same religions should contribute to the public good, specifically via taxes.