Satanists’ devilishly cunning stunt
A Florida school board which allows religious material circulated among pupils has inadvertently paved the way for satanic literature.
Last month, a Florida judge ruled that if the Orange County school district allowed Christian groups to disseminate Bibles and other Christian-orientated baloney in its schools, it would also have to allow non-religious groups to do the same.
The Satanic Temple used the court’s decision to produce a pamphlet entitled The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities that contains kid-friendly Satanic lessons.
The spokesman for the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, explained that his organisation:
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,” he continued
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 Satanic Temple made headlines earlier this year when it successfully petitioned the state of Oklahoma to allow it to erect a goat-headed Baphomet statue adjacent to a display of the Ten Commandments.
Greaves made it clear that, in both cases, his organisation is only responding to provocations by the Christian community.
Even as we prefer public policies respecting secularism, we feel that opportunities — such as this — to establish an equal voice for contrasting religious opinions in the public square, tend to favor marginalized, lesser-known, and alternative religions.
I am quite certain that all of the children in these Florida schools are already aware of the Christian religion and its Bible, and this might be the first exposure these children have to the actual practice of Satanism. We think many students will be very curious to see what we offer.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation reacted by issuing a statement saying that it does not believe that satanists or Christians or even atheists should be distributing literature to public school students.
We have given Orange County every opportunity to close the distribution forum and repeatedly asked them to do so. Each time, they have refused. FFRF does not endorse the New York based Satanic Temple’s literature any more than we would endorse the Bible or think it should be given to students. However, Orange County Public Schools cannot legally prevent the temple from distributing its literature.
One thing should be absolutely clear: Orange County Schools has chosen to allow these groups in. Orange County is allowing Christians, atheists and satanists to distribute literature to students, but it does not have to.
FFRF will only distribute its own materials this January, including pamphlets such as An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible.
FFRF has remained consistent throughout this ordeal: Public schools should not be allowing the distribution of Bibles, atheist materials or any other religious or non-religious material. Religion is best left to the private sphere. We do not want the Satanic Temple preying on students any more than we want evangelical Christians preying on students.
We again urge Orange County to close the distribution forum and religious battleground it has willingly opened. Orange County Schools should keep its public schools secular.