The FFRF and the Separation of Church and State

The Freedom From Religion Foundation catches a lot of flack from religious people. No surprise there. Given their name, they sort of describe their mission right from the word go.

Stephen was one of those who the FFRF had offended. He was incensed that the First Amendment advocacy group had taken up the cause of a person who was experiencing some type of religious overreach. Rather than sympathize with this person, Stephen felt the FFRF was instead, promoting an “atheist” religion by means of some kind of atheist inquisition. He also was convinced that the USA is a “JudeoChristian” nation, therefore Christianity should be allowed some measure of overreach.

You’ve probably heard these claims before. Today’s post is my response to Stephen:

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Dear Stephen, I can tell you are frustrated, but I think if you take a step back, you might recognize that all is not lost.

First, there is no such thing as the “atheist religion.” That’s a contradiction in terms. “A-theism” (I use the dash to highlight the two parts of the word) is simply the state of not believing the god claims of all the other religions. It’s basically the exact opposite of claiming that a particular god is real.

Second, the United States is a secular nation, not a Judeo-Christian nation. It is true however, that the US has hundreds of millions of religious people in it. It’s important to distinguish between the law and the majority. Our secularism protects your beliefs about your god as much as it does a Hindu’s beliefs about her gods, a Jew’s beliefs about her god, a Muslim’s belief about her god, and so on, as well as protecting an atheist’s right to not have any of those god beliefs foisted upon her, or anyone else for that matter, by the state.

Finally, our nation is intended to be an open marketplace of ideas and the actual Inquisition, in which Christianity was mandated by the authorities under threat of death and torture, is thankfully long gone. We live in a time when the expression of ideas is protected. And just think, without exposure to other ideas, how would you know if you were wrong? So by defending the First Amendment, the FFRF is protecting all of us, including you.

Progress, Stephen, is a good thing.

Well Isn’t that Special: Satan Club Coming To A Public School Near You (VIDEO)

Christianity has commingled with secular institutions throughout American history. For decades, that special privilege allowed practitioners of Christianity near unfettered access to public education.  But according to Pew Research, Christian influence has waned in America while religious pluralism and the numbers of “nones” has risen.

With that shift toward greater religious tolerance, Christianity has been forced out of its former catbird seat. Mandatory school prayer, school-sponsored bible readings, coach-led prayer, religious symbols in the hallways, creationism as science, etc., have all rightfully been jettisoned from the public school house.

But always with the marching orders of the Great Commission, Christianity is resourceful.

It found new, innovative, and most importantly constitutional, thanks to the work of the pro-Christian group the Liberty Counsel, ways to maintain its influence in public schools. These primarily took the form of “after school” clubs and programs such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Good News Clubs.

Alas, once the door is opened to one religion, it must be opened to all. Enter the Satanic Temple.

According to the Washington Post, the folks at the New York based “church” are rolling out to elementary schools in select states, the After School Satan Club.  From the club’s website, www.afterschoolsatan.com, the central purpose is as follows:

“All After School Satan Clubs are based upon a uniform syllabus that emphasizes a scientific, rationalist, non-superstitious world view.”

According to site, this mission stands in stark contrast to current evangelical Christian clubs:

“While the twisted Evangelical teachings of The Good News Clubs ‘robs children of the innocence and enjoyment of childhood, replacing them with a negative self image, preoccupation with sin, fear of Hell, and aversion to critical thinking,’ After School Satan Clubs incorporate games, projects, and thinking exercises that help children understand how we know what we know about our world and our universe.”

Satanic Temple spokesperson Doug Mesner, who also goes by the professional name Lucien Greaves, said in an interview with the Washington Post:

“It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think.”

It should also be noted that the Satanic Temple doesn’t actually worship a supernatural deity named Satan. Greaves explained it this way:

“Satan is just a ‘metaphorical construct’ intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind.”

The organization would prefer all religious indoctrination be removed from public education, but as that is not the current legal interpretation of the First Amendment, look for an After School Satan Club to be started in an elementary school near you.

Watch the Satanic Temple’s tongue-in-cheek “promo” video for the new program here: