Hail Satan! Or Satanists, at least, who have done a bang-up job in exposing the bad faith that was behind the choice of a Florida public school system to use school grounds for attempts to recruit kids into the Christian religion. The Orange County school district was allowing religious groups to distribute Bibles on school grounds, a policy they justified by suggesting that they had not ulterior motive but were just being free and open and all that jazz. So folks decided to test how far they were willing to take it. An atheist group was allowed to distribute pamphlets criticizing religion. (A criticism of the pamphlet itself should be read before fully supporting this move.) And then the Satanists got involved, and that might be the last straw for the Christians who were oh-so-innocently offering a free forum for totally free and non-judgmental discourse about faith that totally wasn’t pushing a Christian agenda.
Worried about facing national ridicule if a Satanic group is allowed to give out coloring books to children, the Orange County School Board moved Thursday toward preventing any outside group from distributing religious materials on campus.
The current policy has allowed groups to distribute Bibles and even atheist materials at district high schools in recent years.
The board discussed the issue during a workshop Thursday. The earliest it could vote to change the policy would be late January or early February, officials said.
“This really has, frankly, gotten out of hand,” said chairman Bill Sublette. “I think we’ve seen a group or groups take advantage of the open forum we’ve had.”
So if Christians are doing it, it’s fine. If Satanists or atheists do it, suddenly it’s “out of hand” and they are taking “advantage of the open forum”. Except it’s not an open forum, obviously. An actual open forum is open to all viewpoints. This was a closed forum, and this was easily demonstrated by the fact that the forum closed the second that viewpoints that are critical of Christianity were introduced.
And let’s be clear, the Satanists were unfailingly polite. (Again, I’d read the link above on the issue of the atheists, who could have done a much better job. Not that they were being rude, but they could have been a little more careful about the way they framed their arguments.) This wasn’t about rudeness or belligerence at all. The coloring books the Satanists wanted to distribute are actually quite cute.
High school kids are definitely going to enjoy this the most out of all the offerings. Which is no doubt why it made so many assholes clench up by the people who were pretending to hold an “open forum” but were actually holding a forum for promoting Christianity over all other viewpoints.
The Satanists set out explicitly to expose the bad faith on display, ironically in the service of faith.
“It strongly implies they never intended to have a plurality of voices,” said Doug Mesner, co-founder and spokesman for The Satanic Temple, who also goes by the pseudonym Lucien Greaves.
No, they did not. And to the Satanists who came up with this elegant plan to blow their bullshit “open forum” cover story wide open, I salute you.