The Satanic Temple: Atheism’s Shock Troops

Posted: December 11, 2015 in Atheism, Christianity, Civil Liberties, Religion
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Satanic Temple's Baphomet statue

We mean this literally: these Satanists are atheism’s shock troops. Most famous for defending the First Amendment by suing to place a statue of Baphomet next to a Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma state capitol (the monument was removed as a result), they’re currently using jujitsu via “religious freedom” laws to defend women’s reproductive rights. Why are they doing these good works? Their mission statement–reproduced here in part–clarifies matters:

The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.

A glance at their Fundamental Tenets further clarifies things:

  • One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  • The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  • One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  • The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
  • Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  • People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  • Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

It’s enlightening to contrast the satanic tenets with a set of commands written by Iron Age slaveholders:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . .
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother:
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house . . .

Please notice that the first four commandments deal with trivialities, and that none forbid slavery, torture, or cruelty–all of which were abundantly common at the time these commandments were written. Also please notice that the tenth commandment introduces, perhaps for the first time in human history, the concept of thought crime–punishment for what you think, not for what you do. That’s some moral guide there, Bubba. If god actually exists and wrote this set of commandments, one suspects that it could have done better.

The members of the Satanic Temple deserves nothing but admiration for their good works, courage, and sense of humor. Check ’em out.

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