Founded in 2002, this militant terrorist movement states its goal as establishing a “pure” Islamic state controlled by the concepts of “sharia” and in the process stopping what they deem to be “Westernization,” which seems to mean education about anything beyond Islamic scripture. To that end, on April 14 their spokespersons claimed the group had abducted approximately 276 teenaged female students from a school in the village of Chibok, stating that their plan was to “sell them in the marketplace.” Their leader, Abubakar Shekau has said that Allah commands him to sell these girls. Fifty-three were fortunate enough to escape while several others were taken from another town a few days later. A village from which search and rescue attempts were being mounted was then attacked by members of Boko Haram and they killed 310 people, some of whom were burned alive. Any who disagree with this group are considered apostate and could be subject to extermination. At this point, a team of U.S. military and law enforcement advisors is being assembled to help the Nigerian government to deal with this situation.
A group whose adopted name means “the Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad” should have been expected to mount heinous acts as means towards promulgating their beliefs, but in today’s world religions are often allowed to spout irrationalism and to advocate doctrines hostile to any who do not hold them. This is because most common folks do not consider that such viewpoints would be put into action, even though we’ve certainly had ample evidence that radical beliefs can lead to the deaths of innocent people. Boko Haram wasn’t kidding. So current complacency should instead be turned to alarmed vigilance whenever such religious rhetoric is being spouted.
The major religions of today are all guilty of having done similar—and far greater—acts of violence, slavery and murder over their histories, but because they generally “make nice” these days and try and act all ”ecumenical-like,” they expect that we should forget their bloody reigns of terror. Their present devotees see Boko Haram as horrific outlaws, yet these criminals against a just and rational society are simply a contemporary, small-scale reflection of the past deeds of many of the world’s God-loving belief systems. As I’ve said before, given the opportunity I think that many major theist sects would readily return to form if they thought that the consequences would bring acceptable losses.
It is for this reason that the Church of Satan adamantly stands on the side of maintaining secularism in our society. We consider reason to be the tool and rationality the standard that must be employed if our civilization is to provide equitable treatment for those under its hegemony. We do not trust “true believers” in mythical deities with decision-making as they cannot be counted upon to remain judicious if they suddenly feel that some supernatural being is telling them to pursue ends that are counter to sensibly agreed-upon social contracts. History shows us that they have behaved abominably when they control governments. That tragedy should not be allowed to happen again. Therefore we oppose religious pluralism in public institutions and spaces. In our publicly-funded educational institutions, religion should be studied comparatively and analyzed rigorously, and its history examined unflinchingly. But it must not be allowed to encroach upon our governing systems nor their places of operation. This “separation of church and state” was the approach taken by those who originally crafted the apparatus of the U.S. legislative and legal systems, but religions have never ceased their attempts at infiltration and sadly, they have had some success. They must not be allowed further incursions.
Adherents of religions can proclaim their allegiance to whatever belief systems give them comfort and purpose in their own homes, on their own properties—whether they be homes or sacred spaces (which should be taxed as are secular properties), and even on their own persons. But forcing their beliefs upon others via proselytizing and legislation should not be tolerated. They should not be granted any privileges, nor any favors under the false idea that they are somehow de facto “do-gooders.” If a religious organization offers humanitarian assistance without attempting conversion of non-adherents, then one could see that as a service which might merit societal support. But efforts to “aid” people which are ultimately meant to bring them to whatever “Lord” they serve should not be given public monies. Private individuals should be free to offer funds to whomever they please, but tax payers’ pockets should not be picked to foster religions of any sort.
Applying the atheism-based philosophy of the Church of Satan, it becomes clear that we Satanists consider the uncompromising advocacy of secularism to be a fundamental approach towards constructing a future for our species in which religions will one day be regarded as past superstitions, having been supplanted by sanity and reason on a global scale. As the actions of Boko Haram show us, this disease of god-belief remains deep-seated and even in this 21st Century it still spreads its toxic influence to cause misery to the underserving. Witness their acts and remember history. Learn the lesson that theism and civilization are contradictory terms. The mask of beneficence has been tossed aside and we must regard and remember the true face of theism—death. Let us actively prevent that grisly visage from having any place in a multinational society intending to offer its citizens an environment wherein they can freely cultivate the best within themselves.
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore