Why Non-Believers Should Embrace Religion While Fighting Superstition

The following article was originally published on Patheos, 06 Feb 2017

Helping protest myself in Arkansas

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”

Christians poison our kids’ heads with the fear of Hell – After School Satan is the antidote

Originally Published in International Business Times UK August 5, 2016

assc_colorblue_2This 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”

Why After School Satan?

assc_colorblue_2Not long ago, a print magazine conducted an interview with Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for The Satanic Temple (TST), about a new TST campaign to place “After School Satan Clubs” in elementary schools where Evangelical “Good News Clubs” have established their own twisted and coercive presence. The published article ultimately contained but a few very brief quotes from the interview. Below is the interview in its entirety. The questions have been paraphrased

Interviewer: A question about a Washington Post article which quoted Principal Jose Olivas of the The Roskruge Bilingual K-8 School in Tucson as stating that the After School Satan Club “does not currently meet the minimum requirement of having a faculty sponsor.” What are the requirements and will you be able to meet them?

Read more “Why After School Satan?”

When The Satanic Temple Brought the Apocalypse to AZ

Originally published on the Friendly Atheist blog February 3, 2016

11178197_393931100815881_7060330606606165338_nTonight, the City Council of Phoenix, AZ convened to consider proposed measures aimed specifically at blocking The Satanic Temple from delivering any invocations in the “open forum” of their Council Chambers.

Media reporting was often scattered and unclear regarding how, exactly, the Council intended to block the Satanic invocation but indications were that certain Council members advocated for a rotating roster of Council-approved clergy. Clearly, the idea presented a fundamental misunderstanding of First Amendment freedoms and the government’s inability to act as arbiter of “legitimate” religious expression.

Tonight’s meeting began with three-minute public comments, which were kicked off by a citizen-veteran speaking desperately in defense of pluralism and free speech, followed by a tired and unconvincing Christian reading from the Book of Isaiah asserting that there is a Constitution “higher than the United States Constitution.” A fiery older lady then took the podium to declare that “Satanism is a not a religion; it’s a cult,” without ever defining either one. The Mayor interjected to insist that all testimony regarding the invocation controversy be withheld till the Council reached that particular item on the agenda. Read more “When The Satanic Temple Brought the Apocalypse to AZ”

Ignorance & Uproar: Glenn Beck, Herman Cain, & the Satanic Holiday Display

(09 Dec 2014) Last week, Florida’s Department of Management Services (DMS) resigned itself begrudgingly to approval of The Satanic Temple’s (TST) request to place a holiday h4ult2qy0mdh8eipeafgdisplay in the State’s Capitol Rotunda. It was the end of a year-long battle which, as spokesperson for and co-founder of The Satanic Temple, I explained to Jezebel’s Anna Merlan, began with the DMS’s refusal to host us one December ago:

The display that has been approved this year is exactly the same display that was rejected as “grossly offensive” last year. Florida’s Department of Management Services declined to comment as to what, exactly, they judged to be “grossly offensive”, and we were left to conclude that we were being subjected to blatant viewpoint discrimination. This time around we arrived with a cadre of lawyers working with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State [AU]. This apparently rendered our homemade holiday display more palatable to the DMS’s tender sensibilities. In any case, the correct decision was finally made, and we appreciate the opportunity to publicly wish a happy holiday season to all. Nobody holds a monopoly upon the season’s celebratory spirit, and we hope that our display, among the various others, will contribute to a general and growing understanding of plurality. If there is fun to be had, we’ll have it — and we wish the same for all, regardless of religious affiliation, or lack thereof. Read more “Ignorance & Uproar: Glenn Beck, Herman Cain, & the Satanic Holiday Display”

Satanic Activity Book Distribution in Schools

activity-bookIn a press release dated September 12, 2014, The Satanic Temple (an organization I co-founded and for which I act as spokesperson) announced that it would seek to disseminate Satanic literature to students in the Orange County school district (FL), where the acting board has already allowed for the “passive distribution” of Evangelical materials. Being quite clear regarding our intentions, I stated in the press release that, “[w]e [TST] would never seek to establish a precedent of disseminating our religious materials in public schools because we believe our constitutional values are better served by respecting a strong separation of Church and State. However, if a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full bibles to be distributed to students — as is the case in Orange County, Florida — we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth.”

The story caught the attention of the national media, and during subsequent interviews I made certain points quite clear: Read more “Satanic Activity Book Distribution in Schools”