July 28, 2017

Church, State, and Satanism

Satan's kingdom

When a local government disregards what our Constitution says about separation of church and state by permitting Christian displays on public property, a group of Satanists comes along seeking permission to erect their own display alongside the Christian one. The government officials have a choice to make. They can allow the Satanic display to go up or they can do what they probably should have done in the first place and prohibit all religious displays from public property. These are really the only two ways they can abide by the Constitution and not open themselves to successful lawsuits.

Suppose they choose the first option and the Satanic display goes up. I regard this as a victory. I'm not a Satanist, but I think that having a Satanic display (and hopefully a Muslim display, an atheist display, and as many other varieties as possible) sends a great message to the privileged Christians that their absurd faith is not the only game in town. If they get to promote their religion on government-owned property, so does everybody else. And if it ends up turning into a circus atmosphere, all the better. The ridiculousness of it all becomes harder to deny, and that just might provoke some much-needed thought.

Now suppose they choose the second option and ban all religious displays. I regard this as a victory too. This is the sensible option that should have been the initial response but almost never seems to be. By refusing to promote religion of any sort on public property, the government officials are on firm footing with regard to church-state separation. The Christians can erect their display on their property.

Why, you may ask, does this seem so incredibly difficult for so many government officials to grasp? I'd guess that most of them are Christian and most have probably not ever stopped to consider how their promotion of Christianity might affect non-Christians. Hell, some of them probably aren't aware that there are non-Christians living among them! In any case, we can help change that. We can also help to make sure they are aware of their choices in these matters.