Just make sure I'm around when you've finally got something to say.--Toad the Wet Sprocket

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Satanists Next Door

The Satanic Temple is not the same as the Church of Satan. The Church of Satan is made up of hedonistic atheists who hold self-centered beliefs.  The Satanic Temple, which was founded by Lucien Greaves, has as it's mission statement that it "is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, they embrace practical common sense and justice."

The tenets of the faith are:
  • One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  • The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  • One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  • The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
  • Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  • People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  • Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
They are agnostics for the most part and do not believe in a devil.  "Satan is symbolic of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds. Satan is an icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer… the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions. Ours is the literary Satan best exemplified by Milton and the Romantic Satanists, from Blake to Shelley, to Anatole France." They do not worship Satan.

They do charity work and they are big on the pursuit of knowledge and in promoting knowledge on scientific subjects.   This leads them in the ongoing battle against Christian based Crisis clinics who misinform women in their efforts to keep them from having an abortion.  They will have a woman call in to get information and record the conversation.  The woman on the other end of the line will say things like abortions cause breast cancer or that they cause scarring that will make you infertile or that it will ruin your relationship with God.  Then they will make an appointment to go in and bring in recording equipment to show that the person they talked to was giving them false information and refusing to talk about abortion and that they had Christian propaganda in the room.  They will compile all the data they have gathered and give it to the government since these clinics receive money from the state and the federal government.

The largest number of members of The Satanic Temple are in Detroit, likely because when everyone left it became a haven for those that didn't have a place such as artists and in this case Satanists. One year on the grounds at the state capital they allowed a holiday display of a manger, so the Satanists insisted on a display of their own.  Their's was about three feet tall and depicted a snake wrapped around a cross with the words The Greatest Gift Is Knowledge across the bottom.  There were, of course some complaints, but most people just found it interesting.

That wasn't the case when their statue of Baphomet was sent to Detroit in 2015 for an unveiling. Baphomet does not stay in one place for very long.  He was created when Oklahoma decided to erect a monument of the ten commandments and place them on the capital grounds. They argued that they had just as much a right to put their own statue there.  Eventually, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court made the state take down the monument, but The Satanic Temple went ahead and made their statue. It is a pagan sabbatical goat with a caduceus, which represents reconciliation and negotiation. There are two children looking up to the goat.  The statue is for any state that decides to forget about the separation of church and state. They have no interest whatsoever in putting it up on state grounds.  They believe it doesn't belong there any more than any other religious symbol does. They're more understanding and tolerant of other religions than other religions are of them.  Members usually go by a pseudonym.

This religion may not be for me, but I do think that they are not a bad religion.  They seem to strive to do good in this world and seek to learn which is a noble endeavor itself.  It's a shame that people of other religions do not bother to learn about them or be tolerant of them as they are of them.  Too many people get caught up in the word Satan and it's negative conations and forget who he once was, an angel.  We could learn a lot from our neighbors the Satanists.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Rooster Who Made a Pact With the Devil

Basel, Switzerland in 1474 was a place where people farmed and had livestock. One fine day one of the farmers noticed that one of his roosters had laid an egg.  So he went into town to the leaders for guidance.  The leaders decided that this could be one of two things: a freak of nature or the interference of the devil.  Folklore at the time said that if a rooster laid an egg he had made a pact with the devil and his offspring will grow into a terrifying creature known as the Basilisk, a half rooster half dragon that breathes fire and could kill with a glance.

The only way to uncover the truth would be in formal court. They were going to put the rooster on trial. So, the rooster was given a defense lawyer who argued for his side and there was a prosecuting attorney who argued against him. The judge listened to both sides and decided on a verdict of guilty.  The punishment for having congress with the devil, much like those for whiches at the time, was to be burned at the stake.  So the rooster and the egg were burned at the stake.  No, they did not eat the cooked rooster when it was over.

Science today has shown that some hens have a hormonal imbalance that causes them to display plumage that is similar to that of a rooster. So it would seem that the "rooster" was likely a hen.  Oddly enough, the town became quite enamored with the Basilisk symbol and there are statues, paintings, and it appears on the official coat of arms.  So it seems that that poor "rooster" lives on forever in the hearts and minds of the people of Basel. The rooster who made a pact with the devil.