BY SELWYN DUKE
What does it say about a civilization when it feels compelled to place a satanic display next to baby Jesus at Christmastime? As a general question, you can answer that for yourself. But among other things, in our case it means too many Americans — including judges — wouldn’t know the Constitution from the Communist Manifesto.
The story here is that the baby Baphomet, a goat-like creature worshiped by satanists, has been placed alongside a Christmas tree, a Nativity and a menorah in Springfield, Illinois State Capitol Rotunda. This isn’t just a one-off, either, but reflects now common insanity. It also isn’t just limited to “liberal” states.
For example, at the Florida Capitol in 2015, a display showing “an angel falling into flames with the message ‘Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple’,[sic] had been erected…as a satire by an atheist group to counter a nativity scene which had already been taken down,” reported Fox News at the time.
What’s more, the display the previous year, Fox tells us, “included a Festivus pole in tribute to a holiday created on ‘Seinfeld’ that satirizes the commercialism of Christmas and a display by the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, which mocks beliefs that a god created the universe and argues instead that the universe was created by a plate of pasta and meatballs.”
Of course, these generally aren’t sincere manifestations of belief but are designed, first, to mock faith. Second, the instigators likely hope to bring an end to public-arena Holy Day displays entirely by overwhelming the system with insanity and inanity. It’s the Cloward-Piven strategy applied to religious observances.
Now, the Illinois Capitol Rotunda includes a sign from the government claiming that the “State of Illinois is required by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to allow temporary, public display in the state capitol so long as these displays are not paid for by taxpayer dollars.” Yet while judges have certainly thus ruled, the “First Amendment” requires no such thing.
To analogize this, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech along with that of religion. So if a state-funded, faith-oriented display on public property would violate freedom of religion — which is the implication here — wouldn’t state-funded, speech-oriented displays violate the freedom of speech?
Yet we do have state-funded, speech-oriented displays, such as at the Lincoln Memorial, where the 16th president’s Gettysburg and Second Inaugural addresses are inscribed. The former includes the words that our nation was “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Now, question: Should it be required that the display of such speech be privately funded, lest the government be guilty of “infringing upon speech”?
Furthermore, should the same “anti-infringement” imperative also mean that we must allow contrary opinions to be displayed alongside Lincoln’s words? How about the 1619 Project proposition that our nation was not conceived in liberty but in slavery? How about Nazi (or today’s leftist “equity”) sentiments about how all men are not created equal?
If you’d say it’s ridiculous to equate government display of speech with its infringement upon speech, you’re right. But it’s equally silly to equate government display of “religion” with the infringement upon exercise of religion. Public-property Christian displays don’t force a person to attend church any more than public-property equality-dogma displays compel him to espouse equality.
The mistake made here is as simple as it is common, and this holds whether some publicly displayed speech or religion is government- or privately-funded: We have a right to the freedom of speech and religion.
We do not have a right to the equal government or public-square showcasing of our speech or religion.
Accepting otherwise would create a situation in which we could be asked to showcase literally thousands of sentiments or religious symbols ranging from the rational to the bizarre to the wicked. It could crash the entire system. And, again, that’s the whole idea.
It should also be noted that the “establishment” of religion, prohibited by the First Amendment, only refers to compelling people to belong to a state-sanctioned church. Activist judges have perverted the concept and have illegally (jurists violate law when trampling the Constitution) expanded the prohibition far beyond its true meaning. Thus are we told that school prayer is verboten and the Ten Commandments mayn’t be displayed at a courthouse.
Ironically, though, as it has since its 1789 inception, Congress opens with prayers — primarily Christian ones at that — and the judges utter not a peep. So apparently it isn’t just good laws/judicial overreach, such as the Ethics in Government Act, from which Congress gets a special dispensation. It’s bad ones, too.
Speaking of which, the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (emphasis added). It’s quite clear that if the Founding Fathers had intended for the prohibition to apply to all levels of government, they would have written “government” and not specified Congress.
In fact, reflecting this correct understanding is that at our nation’s birth, states tended to have their own official churches; this was considered right and proper and is why the Framers never would’ve prohibited such via the national constitution.
Since then, courts have claimed, using a judicial rationalization known as the Theory of Incorporation, that the Bill of Rights must be applied to the states. Yet even if we believe this, how could anyone possibly suppose such application includes a constitutional provision that specifically states it constrains only the federal government?
This doesn’t mean we legally could have official state churches today, as states tend to have constitutions that mirror our national one and thus prohibit establishment. But all these constitutional misunderstandings and unconstitutional standards — reflected in court rulings — illustrate how far we’ve drifted from our founding and how muddle-headed, and sometimes malevolent, so many judges have become.
In fact, Christmastime displays featuring Baphomet, a Festivus pole and everything from soup to nuts to the nutty do perfectly represent our age’s spirit. They reflect a society awash in relativism and Equality Dogma and fatally confused morally, philosophically and spiritually. This should be obvious when you’ve reached a point where you fancy that Satan deserves equal time with God.
Self-Educated American Associate Editor Selwyn Duke has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio. Copyright © 2021 Selwyn Duke