Just like any other religious group, Satanists follow a set of convictions that instill a certain moral code in their adherents.
While this dogma varies among Satanists, everyone from the Satanic Temple to Anton LaVey’s “Satanic Rules of the Earth” was violated by the now infamous paddling of a 5-year-old that a Georgia mother recorded on her cellphone. The infringed command? Do not harm little children.
In response, the Satanic Temple is making sure people remember the easiest way to get past their state’s archaic corporal punishment laws is with religious freedom: Become a Satanist.
A group of Satanists first launched a campaign in 2014 to let people know they can register with the church in order to get a religious exemption for their child from either corporal punishment, like paddling, or non-physical punishments like solitary confinement. On the movement’s website, it is stressed that the parent does not actually have to convert to Satanism in order to receive protection.
While the Temple of Satan does note that at least 31 states do have laws about corporal punishments on the books, the same is not true for solitary confinement or otherwise physically restraining students. Satanists say this also goes against their religious freedom.
“Solitary confinement was traditionally reserved as punishment for the worst members of the prison population. Ironically, use of solitary confinement in prisons is declining… [but] rising dramatically in schools… Not only are school teachers and administrators capable of engaging in sadistic practices such as these often with immunity from prosecution, but many, such as the American Association of School Administrators, will aggressively defend this kind of cruelty when performed on children. This runs completely counter to our Satanic beliefs.”
Warning: The following video may be disturbing to some viewers.
Satanists aren’t the only group to speak out against solitary confinement in schools. NPR and ProPublic released an investigation in 2014 that showed more than 245,000 students had been either restrained or put into solitary confinement during the 2012-2013 school year. More than 75 percent of the children who were put into solitary had a developmental disability of some kind.
Of course, it’s important to remember that the campaign is coming from the Satanic Temple, which is quite different from the Satanism laid out by Anton LaVey in The Satanic Bible. Despite its name, not all Satanism involves the worship of Satan. In fact, LaVey defines his own version as i-theistic non-believers who follow a predetermined code.
- Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
- Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
- When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
- If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.
- Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
- Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.
- Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
- Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
- Do not harm little children.
- Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
- When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.
The Satanic Temple, on the other, is a modern incarnation that is actually rejected by many traditional Satanists. Some even say it has more in common with Buddhism than with previous Satanic sect. Its biggest community, in Detroit, Michigan, made waves last year when they displayed a statue of Baphomet, a prominent deity, reported Time.
- 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
Thinking about becoming a Satanist to get your child exemption from corporeal punishment? You can read more about the Satanic Temple at the FAQ on its website.
[Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images]