Tallahassee, Florida — A Satanic organization has organized a rally in support of a religious freedom bill signed last year by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
The Satanic Temple recently issued a news release about the scheduled event, which will be held on January 25th.
“Satanists from all over Florida are scheduled to gather on the steps of the Governor’s office at the intersection of S. Monroe and Apalachee Pkwy. at 1:00pm Friday, January 25, 2013 in a show of solidarity for Governor Rick Scott, who has shown unwavering fortitude and progressive resolve in his defense of religious liberty,” it writes.
In March of last year, Governor Scott signed a bill into law that permitted schools to accommodate two minutes of silent prayer or meditation each morning. It also allowed students to read inspirational messages at school events.
Reaction over the legislation was mixed as it was seen as a creative effort to reintroduce prayer in the public schools.
“When we took school prayer … out of school, disciplinary cases went up, we had a lot more school vandalism, we had a lot more disrespect for schools,” said sponsor Representative Charles Van Zant weeks before the signing.
“[P]rivate, voluntary prayer is already allowed in public schools,” argued the organization Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. “[R]eligious practice and teaching must remain the province of our homes, families, and houses of worship rather than imposed by majority will upon our public-school students.”
The Satanic Temple says that it applauds Rick Scott and his signing of the bill because it allows Satanist children an opportunity to “pray” in school.
“The Satanic Temple embraces the free expression of religion, and Satanists are happy to show their support of Rick Scott who — particularly with SB 98 — has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school,” the group states. “[S]ecular authority devoid of religious guidance is an abomination, and secular authorities should not be inhibited from receiving religious guidance regarding issues of serious moral and society-wide spiritual import.”
It says that one of the goals of its upcoming rally is also to educate Florida’s citizens about the religion of Satanism.
“The Satanic Temple seeks to raise awareness of their compassion-based religion, which has traditionally been grossly misunderstood and maligned,” the organization outlined.
It then explained some of the core beliefs of Satanism.
“[We believe] that God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that He cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm,” The Satanic Temple advised. “Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy.”
“Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical,” the organization continued. “In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.”
However, others warn against Satanism, not only because it implies the worship of Satan, but also because of its beliefs in self-rule as outlined by Anton LaVey, the founder of the “Church of Satan” and author of the “Satanic Bible.”
“Say unto thine own heart, I am mine own redeemer,” LaVey wrote in the Book of Satan 4:3.
In the documentary Hell’s Bells: The Power and Spirit of Popular Music, Christian filmmaker Eric Holmberg discussed the practice of Satanism and its central theme of “Do what thou wilt.” He asserted that many people follow the principles of Satanism without realizing it.
“Call yourself a humanist, a white witch, a liberal Christian if you must, but ultimately, as LaVey was fond of saying, you’re just a Satanist in evening clothes dressed up to hide your true nature,” Holmberg explained. “Contrary to popular opinion, the essence of being Satanic is simply being interested in what you or other people believe about something, rather than what God knows and has commanded.”
More than 100 members of the Satanic Temple from across Florida are expected to attend the rally on January 25th.