WASHINGTON, September 17, 2014 — The Florida Satanic Temple (TST) will be providing pamphlets on practicing the religion of Satanism to students following a decision of the Orange County, Florida school system to allow religious materials to be distributed at public schools. Permitted materials include Bibles and atheist materials.
TST describes Satan as “the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free and rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness” on their Facebook Page. They believe in “our constitutional values, specifically a separation of Church and State.”
TST will be adding a children’s coloring and activity book,“The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities,” to the library of materials they provide. This will be designed to provide information on Satanism as a religion and to teach students of the rights and freedoms they’re allowed under the law. [Satanic Activity_Book]
“If people are offended,” Greives says, “I hope they realize they need to not take it up with us, but with the school board, who allowed this to happen in the first place.”
“There has to be an understanding that they probably have a student body that is generally aware of Christian teachings,” Grieves added. “Kids know about the Bible. They probably go to church on Sundays with their parents. But our material juxtaposed to that offers differing religious opinions, not just the view that’s dominating the discourse.”
This is not the first time The Satanic Temple has challenged mainstream religion. In 2013, TST was not allowed to erect a holiday display in the Florida Capitol rotunda that the state’s Department of Management services described as “grossly offensive,” despite DMS claims to be open to any group or person who sends in an application and follows its specific guidelines. Accepted as appropriate holiday themed displays were “militant atheist” Chaz Stevens’ Festivus Pole made of beer cans, while another atheist installed a Spaghetti Monster next to the Baby Jesus.
The Florida Capitol’s rotunda is a public forum and cannot discriminate among displays of free speech or expression. The TST holiday display followed the DMS guidelines, depicting the scene from Isaiah 14:12:
How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!
The pamphlets will include information on the core tenets of the Satanic church, its philosophy, and about the legal right to practice Satanism in school, according to a press release. The group states that it does not agree with the decision to allow religious materials in schools, but feels that in light of that decision, it will continue “to ensure that pluralism is respected whenever the Church/State division is breached.”
“We think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth,” Lucien Greaves says. “I am quite certain that all of the children in these Florida schools are already aware of the Christian religion and its Bible, and this might be the first exposure these children have to the actual practice of Satanism. We think many students will be very curious to see what we offer,” Greaves added.
Speaking of Satan, what would The Church Lady say: