Christmas a reminder of why Satan should be booted from public sphere

The increasing presence of Satanic displays during Christmas, permitted under the notion that all “religious observances” deserve equal space in the public sphere, is evidence of our country’s growing need for a separation of insanity and state.

That phenomenon is evident in Florida this month, where a pentagram next to a Nativity scene and a menorah in Boca Raton reads, “May the children hail Satan.” A pole for “Festivus,” a fictional holiday created by the television program “Seinfeld,” has made headlines in nearby Deerfield.

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It’s not just nuttiness for Christmas, either. This movement has inspired the creation of “Satan Clubs” in schools, and an Alaska locality allowed a Satanist to open its August assembly meeting with a satanic invocation. It’s all justified by a misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

 

Generally speaking, these Satanists don’t believe in the Devil any more than they do in Festivus. But they have a devilish strategy of trying to overwhelm the system with offensive lunacy, so that people become fed up enough to eliminate public-square religious displays/practices altogether. 

It may work, too, unless we again embrace the Establishment Clause’s true meaning. Stating nothing about the “separation between church and state,” the text merely dictated that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” 

As “Congress” indicates, this was meant only to constrain the federal government’s legislative branch. In fact, states had established churches at the time of our nation’s founding. 

Yet even if we accept the Theory of Incorporation  — a judicial rationalization applying federal protections in the Bill of Rights to the states — all the Establishment Clause prohibits is the actual creation of an official state religion. Moreover, even if we also accept “wall of separation between Church and State” doctrine, we still can say “Satanists need not apply.” 

A minority view at our nation’s founding, the “wall” phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. Yet Jefferson made clear, reassuring the Baptists, that his wall only separated the federal government from the states in religious matters. In fact, he himself “acknowledged the authority of state officials to issue religious proclamations,” wrote the Heritage Foundation in 2006.

This doesn’t mean the feds were irreligious. Congress began the tradition of opening with prayer in 1789, and those prayers remained exclusively Christian until recently. They generally still are Christian, too.  Congress also has an official chaplain — a Christian. Thus, claiming it’s unconstitutional to limit officially sanctioned religious expression in government to only one faith tradition implies the truly preposterous: that the founding fathers didn’t know what they meant when writing the First Amendment!

This common sense was affirmed by the Supreme Court as recently as 2014, in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. The Court found, wrote USA Today, that while the locality had “mostly Christian clergy delivering frequently sectarian prayers before an audience that often included average citizens with business to conduct,” these “facts didn't make what the Greece Town Board did unconstitutional.”

The truth here is simple. Constitutionally, we have every right to the “free exercise” of religion, no matter bizarre, childish or wicked our conception of it may be. 

We don’t enjoy a right to have the government recognize or sanction our lunacy or give it a prime-time spot on public property. Period.

Then consider a simple philosophical argument. If a given set of religious ideas really comes from God, Creator of the universe and Master of all, don’t we have an obligation to infuse our public square with them — and only them? This is where a critic will scoff, saying the ideas are but man-made. 

Oh, just like “secular” ideas? 

If that is the case, then there is no reason why, as with secular ones, we can’t pick and choose which of the “man-made” ideas will be represented in our public sphere. 

Rather uncivil libertarians are reducing us to a caricature of a civilization and the world’s laughingstock. Let’s stop letting fools for Festivus make our truth stranger than fiction and let’s tell Satanists where to go: not on public property.

Selwyn Duke is a conservative media personality whose work has been published on The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, and American Thinker. He has also contributed to college textbooks published by Gale - Cengage Learning, and is a frequent guest on radio and television.


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