I have been labelled a lot of things when it comes to religion; sacrilegious, irreverent, and a heretic to name a few. I won’t disagree with these. I’m not religious, I have faith and I believe that trumps going to church every Sunday… However, even I had to raise an eyebrow when someone sent me a link to a Snopes.com article about the possibility of The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities ending up in a Florida school… available to the students.
Then I read the article.
The school district mentioned above, allowed Bibles to be distributed to children of the schools. As a non-denomination anything, I find that troublesome. You can tell me the problem with our schools is because “we’ve taken God out of the classroom,” but honestly, it’s shitty parenting, indifferent educators, and children being treated like their… I don’t even know what to call it, actually. In my day, if you fell behind in class, you had to have tutors and extra homework. I don’t agree with bullying and I think bullies should be punished very harshly, I don’t care if they are the captain of the football team who went All-State and is on the honor roll. Yet, educators go to bat for these bullies… but I digress, for more on my opinion about expelling their asses, I have a blog post regarding the Anna-Jonesborough School District Decision. So what was I talking about? Ah, yes, The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.
The school district allowed Bibles to be distributed to children. This pissed off the Atheists. It probably pissed off the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and every other non-Christian religion in the school district, but only the Atheists stepped up and said something. They eventually sued for the right to distribute Atheist materials. The school board cracked, because the Atheists had more money and a good legal foundation, and allowed the Atheists materials’ to be distributed.
Which brings us to the Satanic Temple in Florida. Despite our knee-jerk reaction to the word “Satanist,” it is a main stream religion. And they made a great point, the temple leader (priest?) said that no religious materials should be distributed through a public school. If they are distributing one type of religious material they should be distributing all types of religious material. He’s right. If it’s a religious school, I get it, but a public school? No.
First, not everyone in public school is a Christian. Even in elementary school I had classes with Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, and even a few Wiccans. I imagine there were also some atheists, but we didn’t talk about religion when I was in school. Hate to say it, but in the 1980’s, God was not in our classrooms.
Second, the diversity that creates this country should be honored. I’m pretty sure the Constitution still has an amendment about religious freedom.
Third, as a society raised to believe that Satanists are raping goats and sacrificing children, we actually don’t know or understand the religion. Just like most of us have no idea what the hell the Tanahk is and have never picked up the Vedas. I took a modern comparative religions class that dealt with Satanism and strangely, one of the core rules is that they can’t “recruit.” Which is why Satanists aren’t knocking on your door, handing out pamphlets and trying to worm their way into your living room, like Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Finally, if my Hindu child is bringing home a Bible, I’m going to be irritated. Yes, I believe children should be taught about religion, but it should be at the parents’ discretion. If they’re dragging home Bibles and I’m not ready for them to read it (and there are some very serious adult themes in the Bible), what am I supposed to do now? Explain to them that their too young? It’s been given to them at school, this would seem to indicate that the school, their core place of learning, thinks they are ready for it. Why not just hand the seven year old a picture book on Jack the Ripper? Because I’m now trying to figure out lies to tell them about why the book keeps referring to the birth of Jesus as a “virgin birth” and I am soooo not ready to talk about what a “non-virgin birth” is… Much easier to explain “evil people” than sex to child.
I’m not sure about a Satanic coloring book (it’s available as a free download for any adults interested in checking it out), but if we are going to open up that can of worms and start handing out Bibles, we might as well start handing out Satanic coloring books… along with Tanahks, Qur’ans, Vedas, and Atheist materials. We should be holding classes in comparative religions so that they can be taught about Gnosticism, Neo-Druidism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and yes, even Satanism. We can cut some the fringe religions, no need for another Jonestown… but the mainstream stuff has practically become required because not everyone reads the Bible and our children should understand that… If they don’t, see article about bullying, because religion has been used for bullying, crusading, pillaging, looting, raping, slave trading, and even human sacrifice since religion began.
And before you start sending hate mail and deciding to never read my blog again, I would like to point something out: The people we automatically dislike, because they are evil (Satanists), are the ones trying to get either all religious materials or no religious materials distributed through this school system. And in all honesty, submitting The Satanic Children’s blah, blah is more about calling attention to the problem than distributing their materials and they have the shock value to get the attention. If kids start bringing home these coloring books, parents all over the district are going to start screaming what the hell are you doing?!? And the school board will have to explain that it can’t deny them the right to distribute if there is nothing offensive about it (remember that adult themes comment with the Bible?) other than the fact that it is put out by the Satanic Temple.*
I am so glad I am not on that school board!
*Note: I haven’t looked through the coloring book. Someone else told me it was available online, so I did search for it and found it, but didn’t download it or look at anything other than the cover. It may be completely offensive or it might be rather mundane. I would also like to point out that I know very little about Satanism… I took a class in modern comparative religions and Satanism was covered, but that was eight years ago. I do doubt they are sacrificing children and raping goats or raping children and sacrificing goats… however, if they do sacrifice goats, that shouldn’t be held against them, lots of modern religions believe in animal sacrifice.