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PHume: Satanism and Religious Freedom

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca,alt.satanis,talk.religion.misc
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: PHume: Satanism and Religious Freedom (Was Re: Satanism and Huson)
Date: 8 Dec 1995 08:43:56 -0800

[from alt.magick: (Paul Hume)]

Nella -
I must have blinked when this aspect of the thread started. But I must take
issue with your opening statement...
 PG> ****   I must butt in!!! Don't get it! Are you saying that satanists
 PG> deserve like, rights of religon, or what?? If so, why don't most of
 PG> them stand up for religous rights like pagans did??
Now, regardless of your later statements about why Satanism is different
from Paganism (most of which are wrong or incomplete), the key you seem to
raise here is that ...
- Satanism DOESN'T have the rights of a religion under the Constitution.
You could not be on more dangerous ground here. If EVERY religion does not
receive the same protection under law, then NO religion is safe in that
protection (such as it is - better than nothing and often far better). Not you,
not ANYONE gets to attack a citizen's religious rights
on doctrinal grounds. It is specifically fobidden in court cases, for example,
to try and overturn a reliogious defense by questioning the
religious beliefs in question - the test is whether the action invokes
the communities compelling interest in the matter (eg. shooting abortion
clinic staff, or burning churches would both invoke compelling interest).
(Actually, an appeals court just overturned the Religious Freedom Restoration
Axt, and that lays the way open for the Supremes to sit on
the question of whether the legislative can give back what the Supreme Court
takes away - so we may drop down to significant, ratther than compelling,
interest, but that's another discussion)
- you seem to imply that no religion that doesn't actively fight for religious
rights deserves them
Apart from the fact that the law does not take that into question, by that
standard, various organized Satanist groups have earned their protection (by
your standard) and then some. Several Satanists in prison have won the right to
possess books in their religion, to perform ceremonies using the same
facilities available to prisoners of other sects, etc.
Lilith Aquino was (don't know if she still is) on the board of directors
of AMER (Alliance (?) of Magical and Earth Religions), a religious rights
organization. I would note that when AMER placed Ms. Aquino on the board,
several Wiccan groups pulled out (their right) and started campaigning
for other groups to boycott AMER becase they had a Satanist on the board.
Still their right to do so - free speech is also protected activity - but
certainly seems short-sighted, bigoted, and paranoid.
The asinine notion that it is necessary to be able to pray together to work
together in the civic arena is one of the abiding curses of Neopaganism. Other
religions have worked this out long since, and one finds Christians, Jews,
Hindus, Muslims, etc. all sitting together on various church-based charitiable
and special interest organizations.
Satanism is also, along with Wicca, documented as a recognized religion in the
various Chaplain's handbooks in the Armed Forces. Did you think that happened
because the Good Fairy came down and edited the manuals one day? I think we can
safely assume that, like Wicca, some group of Satanists in the service took the
step of publicly espousing their religion and taking it through the channels
necessary to obtain that recognitin.
So DON'T sit there claiming Satanists don't stand up for religious rights.
- You imply that most/all Pagans did and do stand up for religious rights.
I hear more whining here and on other nets about "I'd like to take a stand but
in this town, well, I just keep going to church and being a Pagan in secret."
That is the absolute choice of the people in question,
but most of the rights you and others here take for granted were afirmed in
court by cases brought by Jehovah's Witnesses and the Quakers, NOT
by Pagans.
Criticize Satanism all you like (that's protected speech too) but for pity's
sake, don't make the terrible error of suggesting that freedom of religion only
applies to faiths of which you (or anyone) approve. If freedom is only granted
to people you agree with...well, it isn't freedom, is it?
A freedom withheld from anybody is not secure for anybody.
CC public responses to email (I may respond publically to any email I receive).
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