Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Satanists to give prayer at city council meeting:
Members of a satanic group are set to give the prayer at an upcoming meeting of the Phoenix City Council…
Satanic Temple members Michelle Shortt and Stu de Haan are expected to give the invocation at the council’s Feb. 17 meeting after the group submitted a request in December. Despite the objections of some council members, the city has decided to let the satanists speak as scheduled.
Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm released a statement Thursday evening, defending the city’s position. The city typically holds a short invocation at the start of formal council meetings and has included members from a variety of faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.
“Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction, the city cannot dictate religious viewpoints or the content of a prayer,” Holm wrote. “In addition, government may not exclude a denomination or a religion from praying under these circumstances.”…
Meanwhile, Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Kate Gallego said they support letting the satanists speak. Stanton released a statement, saying, “the Constitution demands equal treatment under the law” even though he disagrees with the group’s message.
Gallego also pointed to First Amendment protections, adding, “I just believe we’re a diverse society and if we have prayer, we welcome all points of view.”
The men who approved the words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, while they knew, or rather acknowledged, more about the insanity of man than we do, their education being genuine and not as propaganda-laden, they did not anticipate the lunacy we moderns would slip into. Only an insane person would construe the policy of forbidding the central government from establishing an official religion as logically implying that local governments must entertain all religions.
Logically, of course, you can’t get there from here. No valid, sound argument exists connecting the two propositions. I invite the reader to try, but please don’t cite the “law”, which would be circular; it is the law which I am disputing. If you say the government allowing a particular religion a venue is tantamount to endorsing that religion, thus making it at least part of the State’s official religion, then because government must allow all religions a venue, all religions are thus part of the State’s official religion, which is absurd.
Anyway, since that path is blocked, some other explanation must exist why Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Kate Gallego and others support allowing degenerate Satanists to preside over official ceremonies.
Well, there is no drama, the answer is obvious and given by Gallego herself: “we welcome all points of view.” Half effeminacy, half egalitarianism.
Only a fool “welcomes” all points of view. The charitable interpretation is that Gallego was speaking loosely, where all doesn’t mean all, but only most or many. But, no. Because she said “all” with the understanding that Satanists were coming on over to city hall with a fresh spell to cast, or whatever.
Egalitarianism is, as I’ve often said, corrosive. At the very least it rots the minds of those who entertain it; at the worst, it destroys the society which embraces it. Gallego is no longer able to say, and perhaps even unable to think, that this religion is bad or this religion is worse than that religion. That kind of reasoning is so judgmental.
Not only is it judgmental, it implies there is an objective standard by which religions can be weighed. And if there is an objective standard, then reason demands it must be sought out, understood, and referred to. And if it is to be sought out, understood, and referred to, then it is possible to conclude a particular religion is so debased that it should be proscribed.
And if it is concluded that a particular religion should be proscribed, then it becomes the duty of the government to proscribe it (at government functions; publicly is another matter).
That logical conclusion frightens many because they worry this duty to proscribe will become a weapon. It is a rational fear. But the weapon can only be misused when the objective standard is misunderstood, willfully or accidentally. If accidentally, then there is hope for correction. If willfully, then it doesn’t matter if we allow proscription or instead seek egalitarianism, because we are then dealing with liars seeking power, and in both cases we meet a bad end.
Considering how often governmental units do the devil’s work, this is a rare case of honesty shining through.
The simple answer is for council members that do not wish to be there will excuse themselves from attending or arrive fashionably late. I certainly cannot be compelled to listen to such a thing; I don’t want to try to imagine what it might be like.
This sounds like a great reason to consider eliminating the prayers. I do, however, look forward to the goal sacrifices and other uniques ideas being represented. I see no reason why a group cannot claim these are their methods of “prayer” and get a slot on the roster.
Establish, entertain. It’s all the same when words have no meaning. There is no logic when words have no meaning, either. This is not about logic or fairness.
The answer to why people allow this: They are throwing chickens to the alligator and hoping it won’t eat them. Same thing they do with the government and ISIS. If they throw enough chicken bites out there, the alligator may stay full and not eat them. Of course, alligators get tired of chicken bites and eat the human soon thereafter, but there is an irrational belief that placating something that can kill you and will kill you will somehow prevent the latter. It won’t. This FEAR, pure and simple. (I’m not referring to fear of proscribed religion, I’m referring to fear of religions themselves, the violent ones that breed terrorists and have no problem killing those who disagree.)
Gary: Great comment!
Michael 2: Works for those who don’t like Christians—should work for those who aren’t Satan worshippers, too. I like the idea.
WM briggs you must post about this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2016/02/03/the-cdcs-incredibly-condescending-warning-to-young-women/
The feminists have lost it, it is now sexist to discourage women who could be pregnant from drinking or to even suggest that alcohol consumption could be dangerous in anyway. While it may be true that alcohol consumption may put women at more risk then men, saying so is “sexist” even if the result is more sick women and children. Egalitarianism at it’s finest.
Great article btw!
HA HA HA HA HA! Good tip. Thanks.
“I invite the reader to try, but please don’t cite the “law”, which would be circular; it is the law which I am disputing.”
The problem is you are expecting the law to be logical and rational, but the law is neither. That’s just the way it is, deal with it. Don’t try to make sense of the law, you will only give yourself headaches.
The city of Phoenix is bound to follow federal law on this matter as it is, not as you wish it to be. Sure, Phoenix could try to change the law either in the courts or by lobbying Congress, but those efforts would be hugely expensive, and have no guarantee of success.
Their only real choices are to do away with the prayers/invocations all together or put up with the Wiccans, Jedis, Satanists and even the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They have clearly chosen the latter path.
Matts is right about the law. Sorry but…When you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.
I would argue Satanism isn’t a religion it is an occult force for evil. Religion must be redefined.
I would add another so called religion into the same bracket until such time as it is reformed. That won’t happen without a fight.
I think the council have misinterpreted the opening prayer as “petitioning government.”
I’m going to guess that the staff are half asleep or don’t care enough to rock the boat and rather go with the flow. I don’t think anyone’s fearful and feeding a crocodile. They are just lazy, incompetent, ignorant selfish in some combination.
“I would argue Satanism isn’t a religion it is an occult force for evil”
The Church of Satan, which as far as I know is the only organized group calling itself Satanists and is probably what is referred to in the article isn’t even an occult force. It’s a group of atheists who get together for the primary purpose of mocking the very idea of religion. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the same thing.
“I think the council have misinterpreted the opening prayer as “petitioning government.””
Nope. There are several atheist organizations (ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation) who routinely threaten to sue municipalities over such things as violations of the establishment clause. The also threaten to sue public schools over student lead prayers at school sponsored events (such as football games).
That I know of, they have never gotten a case before SCOTUS, because the threatened government entities almost always cave in to their demands.
Have you read Satanic Verses?
Sorry Joy – won’t fly
Will congress redefine religion?
Tantamount to respecting and/or establishing.
“The Church of Satan, …isn’t even an occult force.”
They think they’re not.
“It’s a group of atheists who get together for the primary purpose of mocking the very idea of religion.”
That’s what they think they are.
(Like how Catholic bishops think their church is a super social justice NGO.)
Even if the freedom to practice religion were not enumerated, even if there was no wall of separation between church and state, the freedom of religion would already be covered by other rights, speech, assembly, etc. The only place this actually gets tricky, both in complexity and in the tricks that can be played, is when religion is practiced by the government. Some atheists, just like some among any other bunch, have decided to play around in this sphere, mostly to make the point that religion should not be practiced by government at all – and that includes sanctioning, paying for the premises, being responsible for the premises and people within, etc. It’s a fair point.
Much more than just a fair point is the the real abusive effect greligion (my new term) can have on people of minority faiths, especially their children. It may seem petty to complain about “under God” in the PoA, but for the Jehovah’s Witnesses saying that pledge, and with those words in particular, is sacrilege, idolatry, heresy. Here we see a just a good old simple lack of imagination from those who oppose the Wall of Separation. Picture yourself the only Catholic kid in a Protestant town, the only Jew, the only Sikh, the only Buddhist. School should be a place where kids feel safe, welcome, and surrounded by learning and curiosity. They shouldn’t have to cencern themselves with being differentiated by their religion. The same holds for the adults too. When government and religion pair up, it’s bad for everyone involved, but particularly those of a minority faith. So good for the Satanists! I applaud them! LOL!
Tantamount to respecting
In 18th century usage respecting the phrase “no law respecting an establishment of religion,” the term “respecting” should be read as “regarding” or “with respect to.” It does not mean giving honor and respect to a religious establishment. It means the Congress shall not pass laws with regard to establishing an official state church of the sorts most countries of the time had established. There was a Church of England. There would not be a Church of the United States.
Oddly enough, many of the States already had established churches, so the amendment also forbids the federal congress from interfering with the free exercise of any of the state churches. However, the spirit of the idea was clear and those States that had established churches began to disestablish them. The last one was severed (iirc) around 1820. There were some people who opposed this movement. They were antidisestablishmentarians, and their beliefs were called antidisestablishmentarianism. At one time, this term was famously known to schoolkids as the longest word in the English language. That has been forgotten nowadays, along with the rest of the English language.
If the Usual Suspects really wanted to remove religion from daily life, they should work to make an Established Church along the European model. Nothing destroys faster than government management.
OTOH, if you want to keep as much religious influence as possible, get religiously inspired political parties. This works best if you political system is based on coalition politics, for a winner-takes-all system it doesn’t work.
JMJ: Teaching evolution is insulting and bad to children of some faiths, yet schools do it anyway. They also allow muslim girls to wear the full black burka which is insulting to children of other faiths. That means the schools are not “safe, welcome and surrounded by learning and curiosity” but rather they are a source of fear and humiliation. If we don’t allow Christian prayer, we can’t allow burkas either. Yet, the government clearly does allow this. Some workplaces allow Muslims prayer breaks—again, if it’s the schools or government, they are, by your standards, encouraging one religion over another by allowing prayer breaks.
It is very much the goal of the “Satanists” to get the city council to abolish the opening prayer. Most of the so called satanist are in fact aggressive atheists who use their “church” to ridicule religion.
There is the “Church of Satan”, and there is the “Satanic Temple.” The Satanic Temple is the more political of the two.
I say, let them have their fun, and go back to business as usual next week. This is just an exercise to gain attention, and you are giving it to them.
Satanic Verses? I’ve taken a recent interest, heard a few excerpts but the author or his style makes me shuddery. I know more about it’s impact than it’s content.
I have high hopes of the Quilliam Foundation over here. We’ll have to see. I don’t share their politics but Majid N offers some solutions.
@Joy, @ YOS,
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis: The longest work to appear in a major English dictionary.
The largest work to appear in a work of literature is 183 letters and is a transliteration of a very long Greek work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon
The longest published work is 1909 letters
Then there is the chemical name of titin, the largest known protein at a whopping 189,819 letters.
Correction: work -> word
Ach, the longest word in ordinary use; i.e., not a technical term from some science, then. Pfui.
If we’re looking for long words, I think it’s time we go full German.
“Only an insane person would construe the policy of forbidding the central government from establishing an official religion as logically implying that local governments must entertain all religions.”
Or perhaps the writer of this piece has twisted things around in his mind such that he argues for the opposite of what is written. Interesting how much the modern Progressive and the modern Religious Conservative have in common. Both ready apologists for Fascism.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
Yeah, but my longest word was relevant to the topic!!!
Re: fascism. That is an economic theory spun off of socialism. Nothing to do with an establishment of religion. Historically, fascists have been hostile both to religion and to liberalism — at least to liberalism as originally defined.
Doug M: It is indeed the goal to get rid of the prayers. Now the question is, is it more entertaining to wait for the goat sacrifices or just abolish the whole thing and have those who want to pray do so before the meeting in the parking lot or on the sidewalk. (Consider that when dealing with toddlers, sometimes it’s best to eliminate the opportunity to try and circumvent rules. Since said individuals have the emotional maturity of a two-year-old, the same actions might work with them.)
YOS: You should know by now someone will argue with anything said, if it’s the longest, shortest, most boring, etc. Same thing for any rational rule—some idiot/bully/whatever will try and destroy the rule just because they can. Again, I want the goat sacrifice.
Will: Now, let’s get them to adhere to the first amendment in something other than opening prayers.
Got your Breitbart email. Tried replying but email bounced.
Opening prayers neither establish a religion nor would they prohibit the free exercise thereof.
“Historically”, fascism is another term for the Catholic right wing in Europe, specifically Spain and Italy.
Whereas now it is simply a “boo” word used to express disapproval, as in “that fascist tree that hit my car.”
The term “Fascism” is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.
—John J. Ray
Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism.
Specifically, it is a heresy with respect to the resolution of the class struggle. In national socialism (lower case) the struggle is ended when a Leader emerges who embodies the aspirations of the nation and unites the classes through his own person to work together like the bundle of sticks (fasces) or the fingers of the hand (falange). An individual stick can be easily broken, but when made into a bundle, the bundle cannot be. Wasteful capitalist competition will be eliminated when the government carefully manages the various firms, assigning each a region or a market share, typically by means of “syndicates” composed of government, industry, academia, labor that will “rationalize” the market though proper regulation.
The fascist parties of the 1920s and 30s were somewhat internationalist, but the ones who called themselves national socialist put greater emphasis on the national part. That put Germany in the odd position of suppressing national socialist parties in the countries it took over, while encouraging the fascist parties!
cf. The Last European War, by John Lukacs for the hope-and-change aspect of the youth that fueled these movements.
It could be argued that Satanism is not a bonafide religion because it does not involve the worship of a deity. Lucifer or Satan is, by Satanists’ own admission, a fallen angel, a creature created by God who stands in opposition to Him. If anything, it’s an anti-religion, an anti-theistic cult which, as such, would not fall under the religious protection clause of the constitution.
Peter writes “It could be argued that Satanism is not a bonafide religion”
It could indeed seeing as how you did just so.
“as such, would not fall under the religious protection clause of the constitution.”
The Supremes have already ruled that atheism is a religion and obtains the same First Amendment protections as it occupies the space normally occupied by religion.
Furthermore it is not clear which Satan you mean. You seem to be describing an imperfect angel, something capable of “falling” and thus necessarily created not only with that possibility but with that purpose in the mind of the creator.
Buddhism seems not to have a deity but is considered a religion by me and everyone I know.
At any rate, there is Satan worship; an anti-version of Jesus. Where the commandment is “thou shalt not kill” that becomes a command to do exactly that. Where the command is “turn the other cheek” it becomes the opposite. It is thus attractive to narcissists who seek First Amendment protections for these self-centered and socially dangerous desires.
It’s interesting that for you, the only freedom allowed is to think like you. That’s quire an application of the first amendment. It’s wrong and that’s why conservatives keep losing in court. IE you have no idea what freedom is or mean.
RE: “degenerate Satanists”
There goes Briggs jumping to conclusions & spouting over-generalizations — how can he distinguish between the “degenerate” & ‘non-degenerate’ Satanists.
Employing that term, “degenerate,” clearly conveys a trait that is unsupported by facts. In layman’s terms, that’s called a “lie.”
Satan, at least the historical one, by the way, was the “Father of Lies” … and that mythical dude is not associated with the current crop of Satanists, who include among their core values such ditties as:
“If you want something out of life, get off your lazy butt and work for it.”
“We offer a realistic, pragmatic, materialist philosophy which challenges you to work hard towards attaining your goals while living within the laws of the place where you live. If you are not up for that, then Satanism is not for you.”
Those two are from the Church of Satan’s website — and if one changed “Satanism” for “conservatism” or “the Republican Party” or “the Trump Organization” or “libertarianism” the author of this blog would be blogging his praises — such are those “degenerate” Satanists!
Michael 2—-What makes you think the Supreme Court is always right?
If they can rule that secular humanism is a religion (Torcaso vs. Watkins), then
they can change the meaning of any word to mean anything they want it to. Can the love of lies ever be true religion? You may have the right under free speech to say what you will and believe that Satanism is a religion, or that Satan is god, but you should not forget that the source of Justice, the source of power granted to any human court comes from the higher power which is God. And we are obligated to use and respect these God-given powers wisely or there will be serious consequences.
Suppose I were to make up a god. Call it Fred. What possible harm can be attributed to speaker or listener by a public prayer to a non-existent deity called Fred?
Objective religious standards, like my made up Fred, or gods Zeus and Thracian are lies, sometimes useful white lies, but lies they will always be.
Allow all or allow none
A religion is not just making up a god and calling it Fred. (It’s actually Bob.) Cicero derived religio from relegere to read again:
Qui omnia quae ad cultum deorum pertinerent diligenter pertractarent, et tamquam relegerent, sunt dicti religiosi ex relegendo, ut elegantis ex eligendo.
Other Latin-speakers derived it from relegare, to (re)fasten ties.
For the Romans, religio was a public observance of various rituals by which the Roman citizens bound themselves to the gods and to one another as a community. You could not make one up. Religio came down from time immemorial; like the rites of the Bona Dea or the Mysteries or the October Horse. That is why they made such efforts to discover which Greek gods (Celtic gods, Teutonic gods) corresponded to which Roman gods. If they could make them ‘fit’ they could tolerate their worship by the grubby foreigners. Those that did not were persecuted, because their worship implied that the worshiper was not only Not-Roman, but could never be Roman. It was tantamount to sedition against the State. Judaism was recognized because of its great antiquity, but was periodically tolerated and persecuted, as was its spin-off, Christianity.
Prayer doesn’t work. Councils should limit themselves to activities which have at the very least some possibility of affecting the world measurably.
Such as lining the pockets of their brother-in-law, the building contractor?
Somebody here reads Douglas Adams as well as great works of the ages
YOS – that is EXACTLY what religion is AND the difference
“Cicero derived religio from relegere to read again” …
Read again and again until God resolves for you and then keep reading until you really know Him.
“Other Latin-speakers derived it from relegare, to (re)fasten ties” …
That is the religion those who LIKE religion practice and those who don’t like religion eschew
This reminds me that some Christians leaders considered Harry Potter books satanic and advocated for a ban on all Harry Potter books a while ago.
Not knowing what Satanic Temple is about or what evil things the members have done, I understand the name sounds horrible. If it were not for the name, would the incident have been seen in a different light? I am curious to know what the Temple’s members (intend to) say before the council meeting.
Government, from local city council to Congress, has long been criticized for its incompetence. Since the majority, if not all, of governmental meetings begin with Christian prayers, perhaps, those prayers have not been helpful and effective.
So, it might be time for a change. To me, an obvious, positive change would be to allow only Buddhists to give an invocation. At all governmental meetings. Problem solved, no more equality talk needed. 🙂 We can sand down the words “equal justice under law” written above the main entrance to the Supreme Court building.
I find this invocation incident hilarious, and it’d be even more so if there would be no more innovations in the future because of the incident. It’s a good thing to keep your prayers between you and your God.
Not knowing what Satanic Temple is about or what evil things the members have done, I understand the name sounds horrible.
And that is the nub of it. The postmodern love of sticking a finger in the eye of bourgeois society just for the lulz.
A necessary correction – I find this invocation incident hilarious, and it’d be even more so if there would be no more invocations in the future because of the incident.
A central theme to many of Matt’s posts is the preservation of community, tradition, and identity as if they are inviolate by nature. His latest invention of an ‘objective religious standard’, surely defined and approved by his god, was the first thumb in the eye.
Cicero understood tradition and its power to maintain social order; I am willing to bet he knew nothing of one true god or an objective measure meant to prove it. Rome was nothing if not flexible on these matters. Hail Jupiter! Hail Zeus!
Conrad: Atheists and progressives treat tradition as if it is foreign to nature, disposable on whim if it suits their fancy. There is no justification for this belief yet somehow that never seems to matter. Tossing out tradition is treated as “progress”, all progress being good unless it adds unwanted rules or takes away power. Fascinating that so many cheer the idea of anarchy yet are appalled when it arrives.
I think it’s more along the lines of ‘here are things that have stood the test of time. Don’t tear them down unless you can have some assurance that you won’t miss them badly once they’re gone.’ The idea that we can intelligently design a society when we cannot design a really good toaster oven is risible. Even in the sciences most experiments fail, so I’d rather not experiment on various whims of fashion with my whole life support system.
The Greek for “Father Zeus” was “Zeus pitar,” and from Zeuspitar to Jupiter is a short step. It was not that the Romans worshiped Zeus at any time, but that they convinced themselves that the Greeks were “really” worshiping Jupiter, though under another name. For many of the aboriginal Roman gods — Janus, Tiber, Quirinus, Bellona, the Bona Dea, etc. — there was no Greek equivalent.
The Romans were only flexible in these matters if they could shoehorn the other pantheon into their own, for example by identifying Wotan with Mercurius. Actually, they kept looking in other pantheons for the equivalents of their own. If they could find them, that pantheon was tolerated. Anything that they couldn’t make fit was ruthlessly persecuted as sedition. This included not only Christians and Jews but also the Mystery religions from Persia and the East, and even Druidism among the Celts. Except for the druids, whom they wiped out, this persecution tended to be sporadic to the degree that the Other was seen as an existential threat. Loyalty to the Roman gods was loyalty to the Roman State.
That the Romans did not figure out that the universe could not be ordered if it was ruled by a quarreling coterie of gods is why natural science never took root there. The Greeks, who did conclude from reason that there must be One who ordered the pantheon and controlled them, did make a start at it; but it’s hard to discover laws of nature when there are self-willed dryads in the trees, nymphs in the wells, and the stars are alive, divine, and influential in human affairs. (At root, the Greek gods were very different from the aboriginal Roman gods.)
You said it best, ‘Loyalty’.
Pragmatism, not belief, not truth, not moral truth. ‘Quid pro quo’, not objective standards.
Speaking of the Druidic worship, we have not seen a female priestly class since.
Do not confuse modern-day pretend-druids with the real thing.
I do not understand your point. I have never met a ‘real’ druid, I have never knowingly met a ‘pretend’ druid.
Reading history is my only experience; surely you are not saying that historical Druidesses did not exist?
This insanity has lead to a predictable result here in my fine city (other than its government). Now they will have a “moment of silence” in place of the invocation. And once again, actual religion is flushed down the drain.