While the Iranians may demean us as “The Great Satan,” some Americans seem hell bent on living down to that pejorative. Case in point: a recent local assembly meeting in Alaska and its opening prayer — which happened to be to the Devil.
Occurring just last Tuesday at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, the Alaska Dispatch News reported on the matter:
It was the culmination of recent discussion at the Assembly around whether to keep up with the tradition of opening meetings with prayers, or whether doing so was excluding those who hold different beliefs.
In June, the Assembly discussed an ordinance aimed at doing away with invocations before meetings, but not enough members voted in favor of introducing it.
Instead, the borough has decided to make the reading of invocations more equitable. In the past, said Assembly President Blaine Gilman from Kenai, a group of pastors would usually give the names of members who would give the invocation. Now, it’s on an open, first-come, first-served basis: someone who wants to give an invocation can contact the borough clerk and sign up to do so.
And on Tuesday, the invocation was led on behalf of the Satanic Temple by one Iris Fontana. Among her sentiments were, “Let us embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the tree of knowledge and dissipate our blissful and comforting delusions of old” and, “Let us stand firm against any and all arbitrary authority that threatens the personal sovereignty of all or one.” She concluded with, “It is done. Hail Satan.”
In a similar vein, an atheist gave a July invocation and said, in part, “Only when we calm our minds and let our dogmas dissolve in the face of evidence can we show true wisdom.” While we might wonder if the notion that one shouldn’t have dogmas is one of the man’s dogmas, the motivation here is plain. As Assembly President Blaine Gilman pointed out, these anti-tradition invocations are part of a “political strategy” to get the invocations eliminated entirely. And while Gilman finds the satanic prayer “personally offensive,” he also appears to believe there’s no other recourse but to either nix all prayer or allow all, saying, “It’s still important to protect the right to freedom of speech and the right for religion.” This is a common view, too, yet it’s based on more than one misconception.
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The freedom in question guarantees that the government won’t infringe upon your speech or exercise of religion; it does not guarantee you the right to say prayers before a government body. Moreover, for those believing in judicial supremacy, the Supreme Court already ruled on this matter in 2014. In the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Court found, wrote USA Today, that even though the town had “mostly Christian clergy delivering frequently sectarian prayers before an audience that often included average citizens with business to conduct,” these “facts didn’t make what the Greece Town Board did unconstitutional.”
Delving deeper, however, note that the “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution; that (mis)interpretation was foisted on America by an activist Supreme Court, most notably via the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education ruling, authored by ex-Klansman Hugo Black. What the First Amendment does state is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Note that this specifies “Congress,” the federal government’s legislative branch. Conclusion? If the framers intended to apply the prohibition to all levels of “government,” they assuredly would have used that very word.
While the establishment clause has been applied to the states under the “Theory of Incorporation” — a judicial rationalization beyond this article’s scope — it may be irrelevant to the Kenai case because Alaska’s constitution includes the very same wording. But what is meant by “establishment”? Must faith be purged from government unless any and every “belief system” is included?
History tells the tale. Prayers before government assemblies have been common since colonial times. Furthermore, Congress opened with prayer in 1789, beginning a tradition that continues to this day, and has an official chaplain. Even more significantly, every official chaplain has been Christian, and the prayers were exclusively Christian until very recently (and they generally still are Christian). And this is the point: The men who created Congress and the Establishment Clause — writing that Congress shall not establish religion — also consistently welcomed exclusively Christian prayers in Congress. So how does one make the case that such an action violates the clause’s true meaning?
You’d have to claim that the Founding Fathers didn’t know what they meant when writing the First Amendment!
It’s silly on the face of it. “Establishment” refers to one and only one thing: the creation of a national church, à la Great Britain, the empire the early Americans had rebelled against. The states, however, have wide-ranging powers. Why, even Thomas Jefferson, who coined the line “wall of separation between church and state” in an 1802 letter, “acknowledged the authority of state officials to issue religious proclamations,” wrote the Heritage Foundation in 2006. “In short, Jefferson’s ‘wall’ was erected between the federal and state governments on matters pertaining to religion.” Reflecting this, mind you, many states had their own established churches at our nation’s founding.
Nonetheless, we defer to the fantasies of Hugo Black and other anti-constitutional jurists — people many generations removed from our nation’s founding — instead of hewing to the clear and obvious meaning of those who founded it. The result? We spend countless millions adjudicating and defending against lawsuits brought by organizations such as the ACLU, as we die a slow civilizational death by judicial fiat. Long-present Christian sentiments and symbols are purged from our public square — like the Islamic State destroying ancient cities and artifacts — as our cultural landscape is denuded of our traditions. And now there’s even a move to create “Satan Clubs” in schools, all because of “The Wall That Black Built,” as Heritage put it — the unconstitutional wall that, to our undying shame, we refuse to tear down.
We must decide if we want to remain a viable civilization or become a caricature of one, a world laughingstock. Satanism in government and schools? What’s next? Seinfeld’s holiday “Festivus”? The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
There will be no end to the insulting and inane requests as this religious-realm Cloward–Piven strategy, designed to collapse the system, marches onwards. If we don’t tell the Satanists and their soulless mates where to go, the only time we’ll hear God’s name is when it’s uttered in vain.
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