Last May, the Supreme Court decided in favor of Christians asserting their right to open town meetings with prayers. An unintended consequence of this and other recent court rulings knocking holes in the wall between church and state is that Satanists, pagans, and pranksters have eagerly embraced their newfound right to express their spiritual beliefs on public time and property:
- Two days after the Supreme Court’s decision, a newly converted Satanist started asking towns in Florida if he could open town meetings with a prayer to his “Dude in Charge.” (So far, without luck.)
- In September, an “agnostic pagan pantheist” opened a county commission meeting in Escambia County, Florida, with a two-and-a-half-minute chant invoking the elements and four directions. (“Powers of Air! We invoke and call you/Golden Eagle of the Dawn, Star-seeker, Whirlwind.”)
- After a judge ruled in September that religious pamphlets could be handed out in public schools in Orange County, Florida, the Satanic Temple published The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities, a coloring book that includes a connect-the-dots pentagram.
- In December, a chapter of the Satanic Temple was allowed to display a fallen angel in the Capitol of (where else?) Florida, alongside a holiday display by Flying Spaghetti Monster-worshipping Pastafarians and a Festivus pole made of beer cans.
- Also at Christmastime, Satanists in Detroit set up a “Snaketivity Scene” on the lawn of the Michigan Capitol. A Republican lawmaker who set up a competing nativity scene insisted, “I’m not afraid of the snake people. I’m sure that Jesus Christ is not afraid.”
- The Satanic Temple has commissioned a nearly nine-foot-tall bronzed statue of a Baphomet, a goat-headed idol seated on a throne before two children, which it plans to erect in the Oklahoma Capitol. The building already has an enormous copy of the Ten Commandments that’s being challenged by the ACLU.