BY: MICHAEL LYONS
It’s that magical time of year, when we gather around a roaring fireplace to hear that story we all know and love:
On a night many years ago, a star was shining in the sky. Inspired by a thorough survey of science and philosophy and a penchant for critical thought, an angel gathered an army in heaven and sought to overthrow a tyrannical patriarchal deity, but was instead cast down to rule the underworld; thus fell the morning star. A little while later there was a nice snake that was a big proponent of universal education.
For whatever apocryphal reason, we’re a society obsessed with pregnant virgins, babies born among livestock and strange men with gifts of soft metals and perfume. Luckily, we have The Satanic Temple here to remind of us of the true meaning of the season: challenging arbitrary religious privileges.
CBS Miami reports that, last year, The Satanic Temple (TST) applied to have a display set up beside a nativity scene, menorah and other secular displays in Florida’s state capital. Their application was rejected, so they tried again this year. New York-based TST leader Lucien Greaves says he thinks the difference is that this year they arrived with lawyers, so their adorable display depicting an angel being cast down into hellfire was accepted.
“This is not a religious endorsement by our state government. It’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and we will all be up there,” Pam Olsen, president of the organization that submitted the nativity scene application, Florida Prayer Network, said. “But are they really putting them up to wish everyone a happy holiday from the atheists and the Satanists, or are they up there to protest baby Jesus?”
Non-supernatural advocates for secularism and critical thought, TST have now found another success in Michigan. Metrotimes reports that TST has erected a display, powered with solar-powered lighting, on the state Capitol grounds, again, next to an accepted nativity scene.
“This is religious liberty, and we must never let our government begin dictating which viewpoints are worthy of representation and which are not,” said spokesperson Jex Blackmore, who is working on establishing a TST chapter house in Detroit.
On the success of the Florida display Greaves said: “We hope that, this holiday season, everybody can put their religious differences aside and respect that the celebratory spirit of responsible hedonism is available to all.”
Hopefully that includes my proud family tradition of getting drunk and watching Beavis and Butthead Do America while my parents are at Christmas mass. Happy holidays!