Separation of church and state reigns supreme in Florida schools once again after officials chose to cancel a Bible handout event rather than let the Satanic Temple and Freedom From Religion Foundation distribute their own materials to students.
In response to Orange County Public Schools allowing Christian groups to give free Bibles to students on Religious Freedom Day, the Satanic Temple petitioned to gain equal access to the event in an effort to give students actual religious freedom. The Temple would have handed out the “Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities.” The activity book asks kids to find ways to be inclusive in order to solve problems.
In addition, the Freedom From Religion Foundation would have handed out materials as well, including a pamphlet depicting the Bible as a rapist.
As a result, the school pinned themselves between a rock and a hard place. Because they allowed bible thumpers to expose students to their Christian beliefs, they opened the door for other religious and non-religious groups to seek the same privileges. And so, Satanists and atheists stepped up to the plate and challenged the school district to enact real religious freedom if it was going to insist upon violating separation of church and state.
But rather than allow the FFRF and the Satanic Temple to distribute their own materials alongside their Christian counterparts, the Orange County school board has decided to cancel the event entirely, thus reverting back to the observance of separation of church and state that would have prevented this situation in the first place. Had the school simply refused to allow Christian groups the opportunity to indoctrinate students, the Satanic Temple and FFRF would not have demanded equal access.
FFRF spokesman David Williamson hailed the decision as a victory and stated that cancellation of the biased event was the goal. “We don’t want our schools to become religious battlefields,” Williamson said. “We’ve advocated all along to close the forum.”
Here’s the video report via WFTV:
The Satanic Temple has once again proven to be an effective fighter on behalf of true religious liberty. As you’ll most likely recall, the New York-based organization recently took Oklahoma conservatives to task for erecting a statue of the Ten Commandments on statehouse grounds. The Satanic Temple petitioned to place its own monument, which features the goat-headed Baphomet with a child on each side of his throne. The ongoing battle between conservative “Christians” and the Temple has put a spotlight on how the religious-right has persecuted other religions in their effort to redefine freedom of religion as something that only applies to themselves.
This victory in Florida further demonstrates that point. Instead of letting other belief systems participate in what the school dared to call Religious Freedom Day, the school board just got rid of the event entirely. In other words, if Religious Freedom Day couldn’t just be for Christians, they weren’t going to let it happen at all. Because the Satanic Temple and FFRF fought for true religious freedom, the school decided separation of church and state was the best option after all. Of course, this must absolutely enrage conservatives, who will likely scream to the heavens that this is tyranny and religious persecution against Christians. To that, I say no one really gives a sh*t about your fake cries of persecution. Also, all hail Baphomet.