Idol to Satan highlights importance of ‘religion’ in 1st Amendment by Bryan Fischer – Guest Columnist

This day was inevitable. The judicially activist mangling of the First Amendment has finally and inexorably brought its chickens home to roost.

The Satanic Temple is demanding that Oklahoma erect an idol of Satan right next to a brand new Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state capitol. The sculpture will be 7 feet tall and will represent the demon god Baphomet, who is in the form of a “bearded, goat-headed, winged hominid with horns.”

Satan will be seated on a throne, and have a lap on which children may sit “for inspiration and contemplation.”

The Satanists’ argument is quite simple: the First Amendment guarantees the “free exercise” of “religion” to everybody, and thus the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind against the Prince of Darkness.

This means a discussion of the meaning of the word religion in the First Amendment is unavoidable.

Now if by religion the Founders meant “any system of belief in a supernatural power,” it’s hard to see how the satanists can be denied.

But if by religion the Founders, as historian Joseph Story has written, meant “Christianity” and its various denominations, then the answer to this problem is quite simple.

Story was the longest serving associate justice in Supreme Court history, and was appointed to the bench by James Madison, the father of the Constitution. In his monumental history of the Constitution, Story said quite plainly that Christianity was the only topic the Founders were dealing with in crafting the First Amendment. It’s not that they were prohibiting other forms of religious expression, it’s that they weren’t dealing with them at all.

“The real object of the First Amendment,” wrote Story, “was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism or Judaism, or infidelity [i.e., atheism], by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects,” by prohibiting Congress from picking one Christian denomination and making it the official church of the United States.

So according to this eminent historian, the First Amendment neither protects nor prohibits alternative religions to Christianity; it is simply does not deal with them at all.

Well, if the First Amendment is silent on the subject of all the other belief systems in the world, who does have the legal authority to weigh in on such matters? According to the Founders and the Constitution they bequeathed to us, that responsibility rested with the states.

As Jefferson wrote, “Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. IT MUST THEN REST WITH THE STATES…” (Emphasis mine)

Story confirms Jefferson: “Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions.”

The Founders could not have been clearer. The very first word of the First Amendment is Congress. Congress is the only entity that is restrained by the First Amendment. States are free, under the Constitution as given, to regulate religious expression as they see fit. What states do with regard to religious expression is literally to be none of the central government’s business, whether it’s Congress or the judiciary.

In other words, if we operated under the Constitution as given to us by the Founders and not the unrecognizable one shredded by recklessly innovative jurists, who magically invented “the incorporation doctrine” out of the ether, the solution would be quite simple: Oklahoma can do anything it wants. If Oklahoma doesn’t want an idol to Satan on its capitol grounds, it doesn’t have to have one.

– See more at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/perspectives/bryan-fischer/2014/01/08/idol-to-satan-highlights-importance-of-religion-in-1st-amendment#sthash.eTl9OtOn.dpuf

Satanists Meet $20,000 Goal in Effort to Build Monument for Okla. Capitol That Includes Children Admiring Satan BY MELISSA BARNHART , CP REPORTER

The New York-based Satanic Temple on Monday submitted its designs for a monument that it aims to have placed at the Oklahoma Capitol next to the Ten Commandments. The sculpture will feature a 7-foot-tall goat-headed creature, Baphomet, as Satan, which will be flanked by two adoring children – one boy and one girl – smiling as they look up to the creature that will be large enough so that tourists can sit in its lap.

Lucien Greaves, the spokesman for New York’s Satanic Temple, told The Christian Post on Tuesday that the organization wanted to include children in the sculpture because they are “very concerned for children’s rights and child welfare.”

“We are looking to take up the fight against corporal punishment in schools, which is still allowed in 19 states, sometimes results in children’s admission into hospital emergency rooms, and has no beneficial effect, according to any credible empirical research. We hope that today’s children can grow up in enriching environments that cultivate their curiosity, divorced from the damaging and divisive demonologies of the past,” Greaves asserted.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Satanic Temple had already raised $19,834 of its $20,000 goal to fund the process of sculpting their monument to Satan.

Last month, CP reported that the organization sent a letter to Oklahoma officials expressing its interest in erecting the sculpture that proposes to be a “homage to the historic/literary Satan.”

In the letter, Greaves also accuses Republican state Rep. Mike Ritze of “helping a satanic agenda grow more than any of us possibly could,” because he has privately funded the Ten Commandments display that sits outside the state’s capitol. The Ten Commandments monument was also approved by the Oklahoma legislature in 2009.

Trait Thompson, chair for the State Capitol Preservation Commission, told CP that any proposed artwork “must be evaluated by the architecture and grounds committee.” He added that the Decalogue display did not go through the typical process for a capitol monument.

“In the case of the Ten Commandments monument, the legislature passed a bill in 2009 authorizing the monument to be placed, so it was not approved through our typical process. The CPC’s only role was to select a location for the monument,” Thompson said.

  • Satanic Temple
    (Photo: Courtesy of Satanic Temple)
    The Satanic Temple has submitted designs for its sculpture to be erected on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol in Oklahoma City, Okla., Jan. 6, 2014.

When asked by CP why the monument, if it’s ever erected, would be large enough for tourists and visitors to sit in the 7-foot-tall satanic figure’s lap, Greaves explained, “We wanted our monument to serve some type of functional purpose – to have some type of interactive element – for the visitors in Oklahoma City who come to see it.”

Even though the satanist group is based in New York, they are not petitioning to build a similar sculpture in that state, because as Greaves asserts, the organization is working on behalf of its members who reside in Oklahoma.

“To be clear, it was Oklahomans who petitioned us for this monument, and we filed on their behalf. We have membership in Oklahoma City, and we represent a segment of the population there. Further, we know of no similar circumstances in New York where a religious monument sits on public grounds.”

Greaves continued: “Where the separation of church and state is respected, the Satanic Temple will never move to revise the laws to allow a monument of theirs to stand on its own. Our monument is explicitly meant to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument. While it may be best if religious monuments are left off of state property, when the situation arises that the state breaks down the separation of church and state, it is best that a multiplicity of religious voices are represented, rather than allowing one group to apparently co-opt the power and authority of the capitol.”

In a NewsOK report Republican state Rep. Don Armes affirmed his belief that a satanic sculpture isn’t going to be erected at the state’s capitol, a location some call the buckle of the “Bible Belt.”

“I think you’ve got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland,” Armes asserted. “I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us, but this is Oklahoma, and that’s not going to fly here.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/satanists-meet-20000-goal-in-effort-to-build-monument-for-okla-capitol-that-includes-children-admiring-satan-112185/