The Satanic Representation Campaign is dedicated to promoting pluralism and fighting for the religious liberty of TST members who seek to freely and openly express their beliefs. We provide resources and strategic counseling to TST members who seek to have our religion represented alongside other religious voices by taking part in limited public forums such as invocations and displays on public property.
Federal, state, and local governments periodically offer opportunities for the public to participate in open forums. This can include erecting a religious statue on public property, delivering a prayer before a government meeting, displaying a religious decoration during holidays in a public space, distributing religious literature in public schools, and participating in community improvement activities such as cleaning up public parks and highways. In many instances, TST members want to partake in these opportunities, and the SRC exists to help guide and support members in the application process as well as in the execution.
While legislators and politicians zealously champion religious freedom, attempts are routinely made to exclude The Satanic Temple from the same public spaces in which other religious organizations routinely engage. In situations where TST is prevented from participating, SRC facilitates the legal response.
In many jurisdictions across the country, city councils open their meetings with a public prayer known as an invocation. Since the city is opening a limited public forum and providing a platform for religious representation, Satanists may request that the city council permits them the opportunity to deliver an invocation. If the city council denies Satanic Temple members their request due to their beliefs and practices, this constitutes religious discrimination.
Religious statues, displays, or monuments placed on publicly-funded properties typically cannot be exclusive. Often governments open limited public forums around December when they permit holiday displays that are later removed. Permanent religious displays, such as Ten Commandments Statues, also exist. In many situations, the presence of these structures on public property permits the inclusion of religious displays from other religious organizations, including TST.
If a public school permits the distribution of religious materials to the student body, they have opened a limited public forum and are obligated to allow religious materials from other faiths. This principle applies to other forms of school-sponsored religious expression as well.
A limited public forum is created when the government opens public property for specific types of speech. In these limited public forums, the government is prohibited from discriminating against speakers based on the views they express; doing so is known as “viewpoint discrimination” and is unconstitutional.
When members of The Satanic Temple attempt to participate in expressions of their beliefs in limited public forums, they are often met with procedural roadblocks intended to obscure obvious acts of discrimination. The Satanic Representation Campaign can provide assistance to overcome these obstacles and support your right to equal religious expression.
The Satanic Representation Campaign is available to assist all members of The Satanic Temple.
The Satanic Representation Campaign is aware that there are many limited public forums that are currently being used to privilege one religion over others. If you are a member of The Satanic Temple and you are interested in participating in an existing forum, contact the Satanic Representation Campaign.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; After Oklahoma placed a statue of the Ten Commandments on their capitol grounds, TST requested that our statue of Baphomet be displayed alongside it. After the Oklahoma Supreme Court eventually ruled that the Ten Commandments Statue be removed because they were engaging in unconstitutional viewpoint supremacy, TST withdrew our request.
Little Rock, Arkansas; August 31, 2015. After Arkansas placed a statue of the Ten Commandments on their capitol grounds, The Satanic Temple offered to donate its statue of Baphomet to be erected directly in front of the Ten Commandments. TST’s application was blocked by an emergency-session bill that requires all monuments to have legislative sponsorship. Because the purpose of the bill is to affirm the legislature’s intent to act in defiance of the Constitution, TST sued Arkansas for engaging in religious discrimination. The lawsuit is ongoing.
Boston, Massachusetts; May 12, 2014. The Cultural Studies Club, a student organization at Harvard University, invited The Satanic Temple to perform a Black Mass in Harvard’s Memorial Hall. A worldwide controversy erupted when Catholics insisted that the performance would constitute hate speech, yet TST had to relocate the Black Mass to accommodate a large number of participating members.
Belle Plaine, Minnesota; March 1, 2017. After the placement of a statue in a Veterans’ Memorial Park that explicitly depicts Christian imagery, The Satanic Temple, to ensure religious plurality, submitted its own monument proposal dedicated to the veterans of Belle Plaine. After our monument was made and about to be placed, the City of Belle Plaine rescinded its invitation to allow for the display of our statue and ordered all monuments to be taken down. TST sued Belle Plaine for religious discrimination, and the lawsuit is ongoing.
Tallahassee, Florida; December 2, 2014. The Satanic Temple applied for a display to be included in the 2013 collection of religious displays shown in the Florida State Capitol during the winter holidays. The request was unlawfully rejected on the grounds that it was “grossly offensive.” However, no component of the display was cited as violating community standards, suggesting that the offense was founded on a religious viewpoint. The same display was re-submitted the following year along with a legal threat from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the display was accepted.
Scottsdale, Arizona; Despite efforts by the city of Scottsdale to undermine the lawsuit against the city by the Satanic Temple in regard to the council’s discriminatory invocation program, they have still failed to win a motion to dismiss the case. The suit was originally filed in February after the invitation to speak at a meeting in May 2017 was rescinded by council officials, citing “lack of community ties” to the city. TST sued for religious discrimination, and the lawsuit is ongoing.
Orange County, Florida; April 1, 2016. When the Orange County school system allowed a Christian group to distribute Bibles on Religious Freedom Day, The Satanic Temple asked to participate by passing out their Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities. The school board postponed Religious Freedom Day while they sought a way to legally discriminate against TST. When the school board’s attorney affirmed that they could not, they opted to prohibit the distribution of all religious material.
Delta County, Colorado; In response to the ongoing distribution of Gideons’ Bibles in Delta County Public Schools in Colorado, The Satanic Temple was permitted to distribute its Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities. These actions have put other districts on notice that if they opt to permit the distribution of religious material to children in their schools, that all religious organizations must be allowed to hand out religious texts.
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