The following article was originally published on Patheos, 06 Feb 2017
American Christendom of recent generations has enjoyed an unprecedented ecumentical unity under the banner of the religious right. Sectarian differences have become all but invisible as “values voters” perplexingly align not with a political platform that most clearly represents most of their shared doctrinal values, but one that equally represents none of them at all. We have recently watched as religious voters devolved from an unconvincing struggle to find scriptural justification for their contemporary non-Biblical agendas (i.e. the “pro-life” platform), to even discarding their contemporary pious sense of “family values” and dignity altogether by aligning themselves behind a twice-divorced pussy-grabbing plutocratic president who seems to embody none of the alleged Christly values of charity and benevolence.
Once ardent supporters of the New Deal’s work relief and welfare programs, American Christians now embrace a bastardized “Libertarianism” that deifies the Free Market while in open contempt of charitable services. While this full about-face would seem to have revealed the capricious nature of “inviolable” beliefs, the theocratic right ardently asserts their tribal Standards of Conduct as immovable, sacrosanct and, in fact, the only rightful beneficiaries of Religious Liberty. Read more “Why Non-Believers Should Embrace Religion While Fighting Superstition”
This past Sunday, July 30, 2016, Washington Post reporter Katherine Stewart revealed that The Satanic Temple (an organization I co-founded and for which I act as spokesperson) is proposing to offer after-school clubs in American public schools nationwide. The “After School Satan Clubs,” we made clear, are being offered as a counter-balance in schools where evangelical organizations have established their own after-school presence. Of particular concern to us are “Good News Clubs” conceived by a zealous child-targeting sect of isolationist fundamentalists known as the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). Good News Clubs serve to indoctrinate children from ages 5 – 12 years of age into a superstitious paranoia of death, eternal torment, and Hell. Horrifically, they use their after-school clubs to train children to proselytize to other school-children to bring them into the CEF’s counter-productive, magical way of thinking. While the After School Satan Clubs’ curriculum contains no items of specific religious opinion, we feel that the very presence of self-identified Satanists in an environment where the CEF propaganda circulates serves to send a positive message that people can hold differing — even “blasphemous” — religious views without consequence.Read more “Christians poison our kids’ heads with the fear of Hell – After School Satan is the antidote”
Originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of Secular Nation Magazine
It started in 2009, when Oklahoma rep. Mike Ritze proposed a curious bit of legislation intended to justify erecting a monument to the Ten Commandments on the State’s Capitol grounds. As the monument would be a private donation — and the grounds available to other such generous offerings (so the argument went) — the 6-foot granite slab of graven Abrahamic edicts could certainly not be seen as an expression of religious preference or privilege. In fact, according to the bill, it would seem that the Ten Commandments aren’t actually of a religious nature at all, but a foundational American legal document.
The bill, which was effortlessly signed into law with bi-partisan support, asserts that the Ten Commandments somehow convey important historic American truths. To wit, that “God has ordained civil government and has delegated limited authority to civil government”, and also that it was “God” himself who “limited the authority of civil government.” (The question of whether or not it was God who came up with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, in an effort to maintain a separation of Church and State, must be dutifully ignored in this particular revisionist fantasy.)Read more “A Stone for a Stone: The Baphomet & the Decalogue”
Now that a week has passed since we (The Satanic Temple) announced our Right To Accurate Medical Information initiative — an exemption from anti-abortion “informed consent” laws — we are in a position of sufficient time-passed to appraise the initial public reaction and media response. By and large, the response has been impressively positive, with many outlets simply reporting the facts of our campaign, and various publications, such as Bust Magazine, covering the initiative in an unequivocally positive light.
With the lingering sense of public outrage over the Supreme Court’s ill-conceived Hobby Lobby ruling, it is little wonder that our proposed exemption enjoyed a minor national news trend when announced in a press release headlined with:
“Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro-Choice Initiative”
Predictably, this led to some typical skeptical commentary from some of the usual suspects suggesting that TST is “merely” engaging in a PR ploy, a scheme designed to garner media attention. It’s a bizarre criticism that makes little sense to me, as spokesperson for TST, and my reply to various journalists who have questioned our attention-getting tactics has been consistent: Of course we want to bring attention to this campaign. The exemption letter that our counsel has drawn up is simply worthless if nobody uses it. Naturally, nobody can utilize the letter if they are not aware of it. So, yes, we unashamedly seek maximum attention for our Right To Accurate Medical Information initiative, and we genuinely hope that women in the unenviable position of needing an abortion in a state where “informed consent” laws exist will use the letter as an opt-out from the indignity of compulsory state-mandated misinformation. Read more “Dispatch From the Satanist Battle Against Anti-Abortion Laws”
The rationale against child abuse shouldn’t be obscure to any person of average faculty. Beating children is wrong. subjecting children to psychological torture is wrong. Neither should be tolerated, much less sanctioned. While there may be general agreement on these points, 19 states in the US still allow corporal punishment in schools, granting teachers immunity from prosecution for beatings occasionally brutal enough to leave injuries that would find any parent charged with a felony.
An increasing number of public schools nationwide allow the use of solitary confinement — “seclusion rooms” — and physical restraints. While all empirical data supports the conclusion that such treatment of children adversely impacts cognitive and behavioral development, proponents of these forms of abuse can often be found to shamelessly quote the archaic edict that to spare the rod is to spoil the child.
It is one case among many in which traditional values contradict modern sense.
If, at its core, the argument for corporal punishment is rooted in some religious-minded adherence to “traditional values” (and, again, there is no scientific support for its practice, and significant evidence of its long-term harm) then it is worth pointing out that there are no small numbers of individuals who do not subscribe to counter-productive rote customs. Indeed, for many, personal sovereignty is a deeply-held value that is horrifically violated by punitive beatings.
The Satanic Temple (an organization for which I act as official spokesperson) holds among its tenets that “The body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone”. Read more “The Satanic Agenda”