This Saturday, JT Eberhard will host an all-day gamethon to benefit the Foundation Beyond Belief and it’s work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that transit officials could not ban political advertising — it was free speech even if it was controversial, so it had to be allowed. The ruling had the wonderfully unintended effect of opening the door for atheists to place ads of their own on buses across the country.
But that ruling applied to public transportation run by the government. What about billboards? They’re usually privately owned, but often on public property…
That question doesn’t have a clear-cut answer and Pattison Outdoor Advertising (a major billboard vendor in Vancouver, British Columbia) is betting that they have a right to reject atheist-themed billboards.
The reason for the rejection?
The Satanic Temple Wants to Place a Monument Outside Oklahoma’s Capitol Building. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
I did a bit of a double-take when I saw this press release hit my inbox:
The Satanic Temple Offers Donation of Monument to Oklahoma State Capitol
This is the group, you might recall, that performed a “Pink Mass” over the tombstone of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps‘ mother over the summer.
So what were they up to now?
The Satanic Temple, an established New York City-based religious organization, has offered to donate a public monument to Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission for display upon Oklahoma City’s capitol grounds. Described as an “homage” to Satan, the purpose of the monument is to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument that already resides on the North side of the building. The donation offer has been submitted and is currently awaiting the commission’s reply.
When other government buildings have played host to religious displays, atheists have come in to place monuments of their own. This is really no different, so more power to them! What better way to convince public officials that they’re better off not allowing government buildings to become a religious free-for-all?
[According to Greaves], “by accepting our offer, the good people of Oklahoma City will have the opportunity to show that they espouse the basic freedoms spelled out in the Constitution. We imagine that the ACLU would also embrace such a response. Allowing us to donate a monument would show that the Oklahoma City Council does not discriminate, and both the religious and non-religious should be happy with such an outcome. Our mission is to bring people together by finding common sentiments that create solutions that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.”
Sounds downright pleasant, really.
As you can imagine, I had a lot of questions — about the proposed monument and Satanism in general — and Greaves was kind enough to answer them all:
Rhode Island’s Governor Lincoln Chafee just can’t win.
He had good reason for it:
… Chafee, an independent, said the term is in keeping with the state’s founding as a sanctuary of religious tolerance and pointed to the text of Rhode Island’s Royal Charter of 1663.
“The charter, which for the first time in the world gave ‘full liberty in religious concernments.’ Those are the words. First time in the world. It happened right here in Rhode Island,” Chafee said.
Chafee also said the State House is public building paid for by Rhode Islanders of all faiths.
Way to not exclude non-religious citizens!