The full text of the act can be read here. Let me extract its final paragraph:
“Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.”
The above final paragraph is inspiring to me in that it mandates tolerance for any religious position as well as the ability to refrain from participation in any religious institution without diminution of civil rights. Your personal position on this subject is thereby guaranteed to be your sovereign choice, for which there will be no civil consequences. It fundamentally supports not only pluralism of religious belief, but also is worded in such a manner that it allows for one’s opinion on religious matters to be non-belief, and thus the non-participation in “any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.”
It further recognizes that subsequent legislation might limit or overthrow this broad freedom, but then states to resist such amendment that any abrogation of such would be in defiance of natural rights, which are considered by those who authored the Virginia Statute to be inherent and thus inalienable. We Satanists understand that all rights are privileges granted by society and its governing bodies—but the sentiment here is that this manner of freedom must be considered essential to human society. I personally consider it to be a necessary element of any social contract that I would endorse, and I applaud the spirit of the composers of this enactment.
All who cherish self-determination can find common cause to celebrate this day, as this unlimited intellectual autonomy is a rare and precious thing when observing human history, and not only should it be cherished, but cultivated as an essential aspect for human civilization.
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore
Members of the Church of Satan celebrate Religious Freedom Day:
Reverend Les Hernandez
Let Freedom… Ding!
By Reverend Les Hernandez
Back in 2002 C.E., I happened to be online doing searches to see how my various projects and websites were doing in web searches. One search I did was for the phrase "Satanism in Hawaii." I was immediately taken aback by what popped up: an excerpt from the Student Handbook of a local public high school. It listed several things as contraband, such as drug paraphernalia, clothing displaying profanity, and, to my bewilderment, Satanism! At the time, I was employed by Hawaii's Department of Education, though not at the school this mandatory dress code was published for. Those who know me are well aware that I'm not the type of person to let things like this slide if something could be done about it. After all, this wasn't about simply banning items of clothing one group might view as blasphemous—this was about singling out one specific religion, without provocation, to outright ban.
I remember thinking to myself of how much worse off my own youth would have been were the jocks and gangs in my old school given carte blanche permission, albeit inferred, that my chosen religion and its symbols were all fine to deface. It wouldn't be a long way from there for those students to assume that it's also acceptable to deface adherents of said shunned religion. Society in many parts of the country aren't so far from this line of thinking even without having Satanism openly singled out in public school.
Looking back into the history of the use of the word satanism (small s), anyone can see that it was used as an insult due to the prevailing ideologies of Christianity at the time. Before 1966 no one would dare come out and publicly declare him/herself a Satanist. Even the charlatan and Great Attention Whore, Aleister Crowley, wouldn't go all the way with such a dangerous label. To point the finger at someone and call them satanist back them was to spark mob-think in the fearful masses, which almost never ends well for the accused, no matter how innocent. Not much has changed. The masses today are still generally dull-witted and reactionary, even if Satanism was now a full-fledged religion in its own right
So how, then, to go about fixing this before it potentially led to not so good times for any young Satanists out there? How to go about doing so without putting my own means for survival on the line? Moreso, how to go about achieving both without looking like a goddamned attention-starved tool?
Satanism was never intended to become a political movement. We want complete separation between religion and government. This wasn't about trying to put Satanism into public schools, but to safeguard my legal and aboveboard religion from being singled out—and the slippery slope that would lead to. This was going to require planning, not protests. To do this without delving into the murky waters of hypocrisy meant that it wasn't going to be The Church of Satan Vs. Kaimuki High School. It had to be done right. There are plenty of secular civil groups with decades of experience behind them that are far better suited to such a task, so I contacted someone I was already familiar with locally who worked with the ACLU. We spoke and he agreed that this was a worthy endeavor in the way of civil liberties and Constitutional rights.
Our basic logic he would use would be that Satanism is a legitimate, legal religion, as could be proven by the old inclusion in the Army Handbook for Chaplains. This, coupled with the added weight of the ACLU and the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church speaking on behalf of a serious adherent of said religion and (at the time) Grotto Master in the actual Church of Satan, gave us good footing to plant our case firmly enough upon. The meat of our argument was in the U.S. Constitution itself:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"—Amendment I
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."—14th Amendment
So, there it was. The Fourteenth Amendment defended and protected the First. When this was brought to the school's principle he couldn't logically disagree. It was also brought to his superiors, who then demanded that all schools in the State of Hawaii go through their guidelines, dress codes, et cetera, and remove any and all forms of singling out of any particular religions. Public schools needed to remain plural in their allowance of student's choice of religion or lack thereof. No one needed their face in the public spotlight to get this done. No one needed to "push the envelope," as it were. It was civil and tastefully done. Classy, like Old Nick Himself.
Media picked it up, yes, but it was in a very positive light, and folks knew that Satanists had the brains and the backbone required to show the courage of our conviction. In fact, I remember our dear High Priestess Nadramia writing back to me in an email when I first reported this all to her (along with a VHS tape of a KITV News clip of it) that this was some of the best press the Church of Satan had had in years. Other groups since haven't been able to pull something like this off with the necessary decorum.
This is how Americans can make our system work for us rather than be victims. Our Founding Fathers provided the safeguards we need to protect and defend our religious freedom. We just have to be aware of the tools at our disposal. Much like Doctor LaVey said with regards to Satanism itself and what it demands: study, not worship!
These brief couple of days back in 2002 definitely came to mind as I was surrounded by so many other outstanding individuals who threw their lot in with our cabal and held their horns high at our 50th Anniversary Ritual and Gala in Poughkeepsie on that elegant Walpurgis night. Yet another reason religious freedom is important!
On this Religious Freedom Day, I would like to remind everyone that—though we live in perhaps the best time in history for safely practicing any religion we choose and are generally free from political condemnation—there are still areas of the world where this basic freedom is denied or actively suppressed.
On October 27th 1998, president Bill Clinton signed the International Religious Freedom Act into law. This was passed as an effort to promote religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States, and to advocate on the behalf of the individuals persecuted in foreign countries due to their religion.
It allowed the United States government to monitor and impose mandatory sanctions on the countries supporting religious persecution. It was amended to allow the president to waiver the sanction if it would further the goal of the bill or promote the interests of U.S. national security. We always leave ourselves an out.
A few examples were cited in the proposal of this act:
The civil war ensuing in Sudan due to the ruling party's intolerance of opposing religions.
The Chinese Catholics and Protestant groups battling government repression, and the Chinese government regulating religious practices in Tibet and Xinjiang
Members of the Rohingya Muslim minority being forced to take refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.
There were suspect cases of oppression in Europe as well.
Russia's recent religious laws sought to create restraints and inhibit new religious communities' ability to own property, publish literature or operate schools.
The act created the Commission on International Religious Freedom, to advise the President in the National security Council. Every year since, it has designated governments that infringe upon individuals’ ability to adopt, change, or renounce their religion or belief, worship in accordance with their religion or beliefs, or be free from coercion to practice a particular religion or belief.
On January 4th, 2018, Heather Nauert, the Department Spokesperson declared the following:
“In accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the Secretary of State annually designates governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom as “Countries of Particular Concern.’ Today, the Department of State announces that the Secretary of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as Countries of Particular Concern on December 22, 2017. The Secretary also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.”
USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark said that Secretary Tillerson should have also designated the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.” He continued by stating that “Pakistan continues to harass its religious minorities, has state-sanctioned discrimination against groups such as the Ahmadis, and tolerates extrajudicial violence in the guise of opposing blasphemy. As USCIRF has said for many years, Pakistan should be designated by the State Department as a CPC. Given the strong stance that President Trump has taken on Pakistan recently, the failure to designate Pakistan as a CPC this year comes as a surprise and disappointment.”
In April 2017, USCIRF recommended that the Administration designate the following entities as Entities of Particular Concern: the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria; the Taliban in Afghanistan; and al-Shabaab in Somalia.
We are truly fortunate; but our good fortune comes from the chaotic chance of being born in the more progressive and tolerant geographic regions of our planet. The recognition of this fact should encourage reflection upon and exercise of our freedoms. Like all “rights,” this contemporary liberty is a privilege that could be withdrawn, despite the original intention meant to promote similar liberties abroad as well. And we note that many religions—while generally domesticated to “live and let live”—tend to want to return to earlier times when they proselytize with force, their beliefs a state-enforced mandate. Satanism itself is still actively opposed by virtually every other religious and non-religious group. So our beliefs could, in the shifting balances of power, become outlawed should less tolerant legislations be enacted.
But today we celebrate our current sovereignty and proudly embrace our philosophy, an alternative for the creative few who earn their position among the alien elite. Not content to follow the herd, we challenge ourselves to evolve into outstanding, independent individuals, exemplars of Satanism to anyone bold enough to see for themselves the truths we’ve discovered in our study of the human animal.
The First Amendment had set forth a standard to separate the church and state. The reason is out of respect of one another on any manner of belief or disbelief. Just because your religion may work for you, this is not so to all. I think Satanism is just about the only religion so far that acknowledges this because somehow, a religion cannot seem to exist without having followers – or so the world seems to think. It intrigues me how one person to make one’s own religion exist is not enough. I have no problem with other religions. Neither do I expect people to change in order to accommodate my own. In fact, I find relief to have a difference in opinion no matter how ridiculous I find another person’s view to be. How boring can life be when no other person can think of a different outlook on life?
Those that fear Satanism were raised that way. I find nothing personal from their convictions. Why should I? Especially when they are taught by their families to think a certain way and to follow it? The town I live in knows who I am. They know what I am. I openly wear my sigil with the lightning bolt striking through, shining in the sun for all to see, yet none are surprised. I made it this way. I am still welcomed and have Christian friends. This is an accomplishment on my part because I have worked to where I can be comfortable without any reprehensible outcomes. The ladies enjoy my presence and come to me when they need comfort. The men ask for guidance for magic, ritual, and relationships. I am not a danger to children, if fact I am asked to visit the children because the parents ask. I am the man people come to and only made it to my 30’s after discovery of what I am at 18. I served for 3 years in the U.S. Army, raised my rank to Specialist and gained respect from officers and noncommissioned officers alike. I have had my bumps and my bruises mentally and emotionally so I am not saying I am immortal, hell I am only a man. But it takes a man with strong character to be where I am at and it took me years to achieve this position in life.
Why am I telling you this? Because I am glad to celebrate the Religious Freedom Day on behalf of Satanism; the religion defined by Anton LaVey, that I grew into which made me the man I am today. Religious Freedom Day is a day to remind yourself who you are and what a difference you can make by the very nature of your being that ties you to the religion that resembles you. I take my glass and say “cheers!” to the Church of Satan, give my upmost thanks, and respect for their dedication to an organization that represents my carnal self. Hail Satan!
Join the Satanic Players Society as they observe this years Religious Freedom Day. Members of the troupe narrate various points from the Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, written by James Madison
As a Satanist, religious freedom is important because Satanism as a whole is a religion, a philosophy, and a lifestyle combined—some would even posit another species or breed entirely, but certainly psychologically alternate, which is why sometimes out kind have been referred to as "alien elite.”
It is indeed marvelous NOT living in a theocratic environment wherein any particular religion holds absolute sway, even though they do try to interfere and interpolate their various agendas wherever and whenever they can, yet it is now fortunately altogether surmountable by utilizing the sovereign freedoms and intellectual tools provided by the Founding Hellfire Fathers to ensure both freedom of religion, whatever it may be, or freedom FROM religion if one so chooses.
To wit, blindlight beLIEf systems have proven to be failed social experiments which have only engendered subjugation, slavery, suffering, misery, death, and torture throughout their corrupt hypocritical histories upon those who have disagreed with their particular views and justified practices. All one has to do is research The Crusades, the witch hysteria, and even the recent Satanic Panic to reveal the results of these if allowed to hold any sort of political, social, or military influence. These have had their Age (Ice; ref. The Unknown Known; The Satanic Rituals, LaVey), each respectively now inevitably waning back into minority subcultures where they belong, irrelevant to governing societal processes.
They have done so to each other for millenia, not to mention towards any of those accused of trafficking with The Devil!
At all times, no matter who may be presiding in office, personal religious views must be kept in check, reserved for their individual lives in their own homes and churches. Again, all one has to do is witness the results of theocratic rule in varied countries and societies to observe degradation and de-evolution—their stultifying influence.
However, this was not to be the case in the first Satanic Republic of America, where fleeing Protestant immigrants oppressed by other prevailing denominations began enacting their own inherently rotten natures upon the natives and involuntary slaves of the land. Alike encroached upon, all have preserved their traditions, even if often masked for their survival and resistance to blindlight oppression.
Personally, I would not wish to reside in a culture wherein it is illegal to practice one's beliefs as one sees fit, so long as it does not entail the participation of any who do not wish to do so. Satanists follow their true carnal natures to the furthest logical degree, as it serves one's purposes, vote for those who share issues corresponding to one's interests, no matter the affiliation of the candidate at the moment. For such are the dynamics of democracy, even though the preferred, proposed Satanic society would ideally be a meritocracy, where individuals prosper according to accomplishment. Merit is the ultimate filter by which all must be judged. Egalitarianism is only useful inasfar as character and quality are determined, while thereafter being judged and treated according to merit.
Overall, there is only Merit. Everything else is wishful idealism, wherein the white wolves prey upon the sheeple.
Freedom of and from religion allows human nature to flourish. Those who have an innate yearning to be led through life can find a religion that fulfils that need, while we who are the champions of our own destinies are free to march to the beat of our own primal drum.
Here in Australia, we have something similar in Section 116 of the Constitution of Australia which states -
"The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth."
However this applies federally, and not to individual states. Though modelled after the US Constitution, it's definitely not the same.
People have bemoaned that any change to legislature or law, particularly when it comes to the topics of same sex marriage equality, sex education or abortion will lead to the loss of religious freedom, and even promote religious persecution. Basically, they're afraid of of losing their God-given right to criticise, proselytize and shake their fingers at everyone not apart of their particular flock. I'm not sure that these kinds of people realise how fortunate they are to live in a country that values such freedom. In fact, I think it flies right over their heads and out the window.
We Satanists understand how important religious freedom is, being the adversarial devils that we are. The Church of Satan has weathered countless attacks on it's right to exist throughout it's long history, and will continue to do so long into the future.
Such religious freedom must not be taken for granted and must protected from erosion, as it is a stable foundation for society to be built upon. Every individual must determine their own values and course in life, to their detriment or triumph.
Here's to you who revel in true liberty and who guard that liberty from being struck down.
Religious Freedom Day 2018 by Reverend John H Shaw of the Third Side Network (Third Side)
What does Religious Freedom mean? It means to practice any chosen religion you feel fits your best interests, aesthetics, and overall satisfaction - or the freedom to not practice one at all. For what seems the longest time, people of all races have been persecuted, and even killed in the name of a god, simply because they did not worship the same god or gods as another.
Well, this is 2018 and we enjoy all sorts of freedom bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers by way of the US Constitution, or even by ourselves! This special day is not celebrated by all occupants of the globe because we, as a race, are still in our infant stages and very much primitive when it comes to our understanding of the world around us. Some are still facing persecution and death for their beliefs and pay the price with their lives on not only a daily basis, but almost every minute of every day. We have a long way to go as Humans and some day we will reach that point - to allow others to live, think and belief as they choose no matter what their chosen belief is.
So today all of all days, believe as you see fit! Think as you see fit! Belief or lack thereof has no power - it can not harm anyone - only actions can.
Here at the Third Side Network, some of us have chosen to voice our opinions on this wonderful day. So without further ado, read on and celebrate!
Religious Freedom by Jared W of the Third Side Network (Third Side)
We all have different interpretations of what it means to be free. The herd tends argue over various freedom and argue over interpretations of what our Founding Fathers intended.
However, the herd finds it difficult to live feely.
The ability to let others live as they see fit proves difficult to many. People feel the need to push their views onto others and fail to see how doing so violates the very freedom they claim to support. It's no surprise that Religious Freedom Day is largely overlooked by people outside of Satanists. If freedom is complicated, religious freedom is a foreign language to the average person. As usual, Satan is here to lead by example. We embrace our religious freedom whether open about our religion or in the shadows, Satanists are the ones to emulate. We live our lives with no regard for the herd.
Religious Freedom Day is every single day for me. I'm proud of my religion and I'm proud of having a country that doesn't interfere with my ability to choose my religion. Most importantly, I'm proud to be a Satanist.
Hail Third Side! Hail Satan!
In Spite of Bias by Devilmaycare of the Third Side Network (Root of all Evil)
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” - First Amendment to the United States Constitution
In an era where the word “freedom” is thrown around like an overused hashtag, it’s easy to take for granted just how privileged we are to live in a country where religious freedom is permitted. And as Satanists, a minority religion for the sane, this afforded freedom could not be more important.
It should never be forgotten that sanity is not applicable to the majority of human beings, who continue to slaughter each other because they cannot agree upon which imaginary friend is in the right. Even when they do agree on which fantasy sky wizard is best, they still justify their habitual drive for conflict through schisms and divisions. History has nearly infinite examples of Sunnis killing Shias killing Catholics killing Protestants, etc... With such a willingness to kill each other, do not doubt how quickly they would clamor to burn us at the stake because we are intelligent enough to recognize their absurdities for what they are!
The only prevention in place, preventing legalized discrimination and targeted violence, is our First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom—as well as freedom from religion.
The majority of my friends who are members of the Church of Satan openly express their affiliation. As a result, some have experienced the negative consequences of doing so. This has included both the dissociation by family and friends and the termination of employment. Whenever I witness such an event, it is a sad reminder that although the legal right of religious freedom remains, the outward biases of those spreading the “love” of an impotent Jahova still hold a deep grudge against anybody who might think differently. Most interestingly, I think that I have felt more sadness over these events than those who have actually been through them. If nothing else can be said about those who bear the Devil’s mark, they are a resilient bunch, to be sure! But for those who choose to openly express their affiliation, I encourage you to always keep your self-interest at heart. The Church of Satan has never required its members to promote anything to anybody, especially not where it can cause you personal harm or consequence.
That being said, for those of you who choose to openly declare to the world your affiliations, I salute you! Not because of your willingness to wear a Baphomet around your neck, or to tell your neighbors about Satanism, but because of the things that so many of you continue to accomplish while doing so!
And to High Priest Gilmore, High Priestess Nadramia, Magistra Templi Rex Barton, and the rest of the leadership of the Church of Satan, to you, I raise my glass the highest. The continued time and effort you spend educating the public so that others Satanist out there might possibly discover this philosophy and religion are not missed by the rest of us!
Though the ability to express our religious beliefs and affiliations is law, the prejudice of the mindless masses clinging to a long dead god remain. Your willingness and ability to meet the public head-on with your wit and wisdom is truly a thing of beauty to behold, and I for one could not be more impressed.
Religious Freedom by Jeff Bowling of the Third Side Network (Good Mourning America)
Towards the end of 2005, I was about a quarter of the way through my first combat deployment, and
was stationed on Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq. One day, I came across a flyer on the bulletin board
outside the dining facility advertising a fledgling, “alternative” religious group that was just forming.
They were scheduled to meet at one of the small, brigade chapels in my section of the base, later that
week. I took the flyer with me and made a note to attend.
At this point in my life, I had already acknowledged that I was a Satanist and had joined the Church of
Satan a year earlier. However, I was still interested in studying other religions, philosophies and,
especially, the occult. I thought that a group like this would be an excellent way to do that, and to get a
much needed escape from the otherwise oppressive reality of war.
Finally, the day arrived and I reported to my Section Chief to let him know where I would be. I was
still not an “open” Satanist but, all I had to say was that I was going to church and he did not ask any
questions. I arrived at the chapel early, attempting to get a lay of the land (and perhaps a glimpse at the
other attendees) before settling in. The Chaplain's Assistant on-duty led me to a small, closet of a room
off to the side of the main chapel and informed me the others would be joining shortly.
A few moments later, a rugged looking Sergeant First Class stormed into the room, gave me a onceover
and shouted some demands to the Chaplain's Assistant. I jumped up to the position of Parade Rest
(as is custom when addressing a Non-Commissioned Officer). His head snapped back to me and broad
smile stretched across his face. He told me to relax, shook my hand and introduced himself as the
organizer of this group (what the Army calls a Distinctive Faith Group Leader, a person designated as
an expert on a particular religion or faith for which no Chaplain is available). As we waited for the rest
of the group to arrive, we shared stories of our lives before the military, our careers thus far and our
personal philosophies. He was excited to find out that I was a Satanist, as I was the first he had met.
All told, there were about 7-8 people in attendance that night including Wiccans, Thelemites, Asatruars
and a Secular Humanist. It was a fun experience. I enjoyed getting to know some of their personal
beliefs and dispelling some of the all to familiar myths about Satanism that follow us around. When we
parted for the evening, I gave the DFGL my phone number and made my way back to the living area.
The next day, my outlook on the group and its overall importance, completely changed.
My patrol set left Camp Victory at 0600hrs and we made our way to an Iraqi Army unit that we were
responsible for training and mentoring. Our mission for the day was to take these soldiers out and set
up random Traffic Control Points to search for contraband, high value targets and anything that
resembled insurgent activity. With us was a Tactical Psychological Operations Team who were assigned
to monitor and report on the morale of this Iraqi Army unit. Upon arrival, we were greeted in the usual
fashion, brought inside and fed. I was outside chatting with the leader of the TPT, when a rather excited
Iraqi soldier came up to us and asked if we wanted to see their new detainee. We followed him over to
the makeshift jail and saw an old, stoic male crammed into a tiny cell. He had been stripped of his
clothing and had his hands bound by a zip-tie. He was covered in bruises and obvious signs of
“enhanced interrogation” The PSYOP soldier asked him who the prisoner was, and the young Arab
exclaimed, “He is Yezidi!” We immediately turned and headed back to the main building to speak with
the IA Commander. While my Patrol Leader and the PSYOP NCO talked to the commander, I observed
and listened. I was able to gather that the man's only crime was being part of a small, Kurdish religious
minority who were considered “devil worshippers” by the predominately Muslim population of Iraq.
After a long negotiation session, his release was granted and a U.S. Convoy that was headed North
transported him back home.
This was my first, real exposure to the lack of religious freedom that existed in Iraq, and the Middle
East as a whole. It was a culture shock that I was not expecting, and one that caused me to eventually
take the mantle of DFGL for the Victory Base Open Circle and grow it into the largest “alternative”
religious group in Iraq, and in the entire United States military (at the time).
In the United States of America, religious freedom is built into the Constitution. It is such a powerful
notion that the founders made sure it was spelled out in the 1st Amendment. It is also one we, far too
often, take for granted. I found Satanism after the dust had mostly settled from the Satanic Panic of the
1980s and early 90s, but I was not immune to the aftermath of that time. The aforementioned myths
that most, if not all, of us have had to put to bed in casual conversations with friends and family, come
directly from the more than a decade long war waged against us by the religious right and their cronies.
However, here in the USA, the truth eventually won out, and the Constitutional right to Freedom of
Religion still stands as one of the things that sets us apart from a vast majority of the world.
I am reminded, on this Religious Freedom Day, that I am fortunate to live in a nation where we have
the Freedom of Religion. I am also aware that, without the tireless efforts of the membership, Agents
and Priesthood of the Church of Satan, that freedom could be taken away from us by those who would
see this country become a theocracy, and so, I vow to never let that happen on my watch.
I was not born when the 1786 Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom was
written, but I am glad and tremendously proud to be a citizen of a
country that champions the secular and pluralism of religion. Thomas
Jefferson had written this statute many years before it was legislated
and knew this right, that every American, no matter the religion, sect,
or denomination, was one of the many foundations of our civil liberties.
Although there are those in every religion that take this day as an
opportunity to force feed the gullible, the youth and the misguided, as
well as all other people, in order to vainly and feebly attempt to
evangelically promote their chosen religious path, this statute set
forth by Jefferson and enacted in 1786 by James Madison, not only
protected our Religious Freedom from government, but also from those in
other religions from doing that very thing. It is a time to reflect,
cherish and take pride in our own respective religions, practices, or
My favorite passage from this statute is “within the mantle of its
protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohametan, the
Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.” As a Satanist, I am the
Infidel of all other denominations…the adversary; the one who opposes.
This right not only gave us the freedom OF religion, but also the
freedom FROM religion. As much as our government has no right to tell
its citizens who, what, or how, when, or where to worship, believe, or
the lack thereof, other religions do not have the right to force their
beliefs upon us. As Satanists, we have the delightful right to tell all
who attempt to say, “thou shalt” to us, to take a flying leap!
Every day is Religious Freedom Day, but this day has been made a holiday
to celebrate that very right. So, today, I will be donning my Sigil of
Baphomet even more proudly than I normally do, and knowing that wherever
I travel today—whatever I do today, I can do it with the magnificent
feeling of being a celebrant of a day that gives us the right to proudly
call ourselves Satanists, the Highest Embodiments of Human Life, and the
Infidels we have the right to be!
In celebration of this day, and as a token of my appreciation for what
the Church of Satan and its Members accomplish, iSatanist would like to
offer all Satanists 20% off your entire order for today ONLY! Visit
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On the 26th Religious Freedom Day as enacted by Congress, let us take a moment to remember that since the inception of this country all people are to be free of forced religion. In today’s environment a reminder that we are not only free to believe or not believe whatever we want, but that the rules of country should not be guided by religion, and “that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness” (Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, 1786).
Today is a day to celebrate free thinking. To think for ourselves and not be hypocritical or mean because someone believes differently from you. Recently, I attended a local secular skating rink with my family and as you walk in the door, on the wall, was a giant 10 Commandments monument with the rules of the space including the requirement to love god and that god loves you. This got me to thinking, if the situation were reversed and I owned a family play space and had the 9 Satanic Sins on the wall right when you walked in would people still come? Would people be outraged and boycott my business? I suspect most would. However, on that day my family still entered the space and it allowed for a reciprocated dialogue with my children on what that monument was about and I was able to offer them some tools on how to reason for themselves.
Freedom of religion and encouragement of free thinking is fundamental for an intellectual and rational human society. So on this day, I am thankful for those ancestors who had the foresight to codify the need for religious freedom.
When I was on my way to work in Alexandria, Virginia on a sunny September day in 2001, I had never imagined that the plane flying over my car would strike the Pentagon. None of us could have imagined this scenario playing out the way that it did.
It was an act of war, clearly; but who? Some bearded man half way across the world claimed responsibility for cutting all those lives short in the name of Al Qaeda, an organization most of us had never heard of at the time but few of us can say we haven’t heard of today. It was terrorism. We were fortunate to have somehow evaded the Jihadist sword of Islam until that sunny September day. Before we knew it, the United States was locked in another war of ideologies that can’t be won with words alone, but with strong and decisive actions.
The western world’s sense of security was shattered that day, and we continue to suffer the intrusions of organizations like the Transportation Security Administration to this day, all in the name of safety and security. Our founding fathers understood that sacrificing our freedoms in the name of security was a mistake.
As a Satanist, it is my natural inclination to be an adversary—we can’t allow people that believe in childish fancies such as invisible wizards in the sky to dictate the quality of how the rest of us live our lives. Today is Religious Freedom Day, and I am proud as hell to be serving in the greatest military that has ever existed, in the greatest country that has ever existed. A country whose founding principles allow an infidel like myself to stand up, to be that person that brings strong and decisive actions to those that would seek to use their religion to deny others their right to live a fulfilling life and tell them, “No.”
Those comprising the seemingly all-inclusive vacation package from fearing and hating those they feel to be unlike themselves make for most celebrating Religious Freedom Day. The majority purpose is that of the majority demographic, after all. If able, they'd realize their limitations if encountering The Truly Lone Traveler. The Satanist. And their faith buffet would be seen for what it is. Lacking in The Epicurean Department.
If one goes back and reads past presidential proclamations related to this occasion, the repetition and content create want. Want for more. So much more. A "please, let's just speed up this incredibly overdue Overcoming" more. Each is only Like Most. Were I a teacher grading these writings on originality of content, I'd fail them all for plagarism of one another and their collective cheapening of how the human animal expresses so much of what she finds to be meaningful. All of the ways as a spectrum. How learning about others could really be encouraged. And my reason for feeling this day to be deeply important, the freedom FROM faith in theistic religion, only began being briefly mentioned in those proclamations very recently.
A freedom "given" should not be mistaken for a game "won." I like to say that Anton Szandor LaVey discovered a species when he codified Satanism. And it is of only so much use to concern The Self with what others "should," as that subtracts from what they do respond to and why. That said, these brief mentions are a real step forward and reason to celebrate.
Today I celebrate my here and now unencumbered. I feel no shame for my indulgences or my inclinations and I have no fear of eternal consequence. I will love, I will laugh, I will hate, I will snarl, and every moment will be equally precious to me, for today I am alive!
My religion does not only permit, but challenges me to be my own god. This is not a responsibility that I take lightly, nor is my practice of it a privilege that I take for granted. I was fortunate enough to be born into a culture which allows me to choose my own religious path. I have used that opportunity to crown myself as the ruler of my own universe and the word is that I’ve been doing a pretty great job so far.
Americans often misinterpret this freedom of religion as an inalienable right, yet every day from across the world there is ample evidence being broadcasted directly into our front pockets that should prove to us otherwise. Today, many will use the significance of this date to focus attention on that religious intolerance and extremist violence around the world, but in my universe they will only serve as a stark reminder that our freedom of religion absolutely can be taken away and that there are plenty of organizations trying their damnedest to do so.
No, I won’t spend today bemoaning a freedom that others do not have, I will be too busy celebrating and exercising a freedom that I indeed do have, and anyone who tries to stop me is gonna have Hell to pay!
Robert Johnson, publisher of Old Nick Magazine & author of “The Satanic Warlock”
In celebration of Religious Freedom Day let all free thinkers reflect on these quotes from defenders of sane thought who believe that “religious freedom” also includes NOT believing in religion — Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins:
“We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
“By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”
“Let children learn about different faiths, let them notice their incompatibility, and let them draw their own conclusions about the consequences of that incompatibility. As for whether they are ‘valid,’ let them make up their own minds when they are old enough to do so.”
“One of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all.”
“Science is the poetry of reality.”
“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”
“To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world?”
“Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”
“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”
“Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.”
On behalf of the hosts of Radio Free Satan, I'd like raise a toast to all those who have stepped forward in society as Satanists and exercised their right to practice the religion of their natural inclination. We also salute those who refrain from any religious practice, especially in environments where pressured to fall in line with a particular persuasion.