Conservative Christianity and education just don’t mix. There’s nothing more antithetical to Bronze Age superstition — the kind of thing that’s proudly ignorant and defiantly resistant to logic and reason — than actually learning how the world works. At their best, conservative Christians treat the American education system as something to be eyed with suspicion and managed through vigilance, to overcome or subvert whenever possible; at their worst, conservative Christians feel that “secular” education is something their child’s ears and eyes should avoid altogether, lest she come to realize that she doesn’t, in fact, have to live a life of indentured servitude to a man because a 2,000 year old book of magical stories says so.
Back in January of this year, the Orange County School District in Central Florida chose to allow a Christian group called World Changers of Florida to distribute Bibles in its schools. This eventually led to a lawsuit by atheists who claimed that they too should be permitted to hand out their literature, which led to a judge ruling that they were right. Now, with the door having been swung wide open by Christians intent on pushing their agenda within the neutral zone of public school, the professional provocateurs of the Satanic Temple in New York City have stepped in to take advantage of their comical short-sightedness. The group plans to begin handing out The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities throughout Orange County schools, with lessons like, “These bullies are mad and afraid of things they don’t understand. Help Damian use inclusive language to defuse the situation.”
I have no idea if there are word-find exercises in this thing, but if there’s a way to pull it off, every word should be “awesome.”
Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves comes right out and says that his organization never would’ve taken the first step in violating the separation of church and state, but since the Christians did it, Satanists have to respond accordingly. “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,” he says. It doesn’t even need to be said that the intent of World Changers of Florida was never to allow for religion to be promoted in public schools, it was to allow only for the specific promotion of their religion. It doesn’t need to be said, but I went ahead and said it anyway because the hypocrisy is just that fucking staggering.
The Satanic Temple has become infamous for pulling these kinds of stunts, always calling attention to the arrogance of the Christian groups creating the loopholes it can easily squeeze through. You’ll remember that earlier this year the group drew up the plans for a giant statue of Baphomet, flanked by two smiling children, that it wants to place next to the monument to the Ten Commandments that currently sits on the steps of the Oklahoma state capitol. Whether any of these threats will actually come to fruition, who knows, but it’s likely not about that anyway. What it’s about is pointing out the reason the separation of church and state exists in the first place: to keep religion — all religion — out of places like public schools so that they can remain free of ridiculous fights and shows of religious one-upmanship like this one.
Now you can see “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities” for yourself by going here.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.