The Satanic Temple campaign fights for First Amendment protection to students who have been victims of mental or physical abuse by school staff.
Of all the organizations you might expect to be campaigning to protect kids, the Satanic Temple probably wouldn’t be the first that springs to mind. Yet they are doing just that, by launching a campaign aimed at allowing children to avoid suffering from mental or physical abuse from school staff by evoking their First Amendment rights in a clearly worded letter that threatens legal action against anyone who continues with this type of behavior.
On the webpage for their campaign, the Satanic Temple feature a video demonstrating the different types of corporal punishment that many schools use to control unruly children, all of which are perfectly legal. One might think that in 2016 we have moved away from using physically harmful punishments in schools, but plenty of states still allow it, which is why the Temple is urging anyone who is suffering as a result of this type of abuse to ensure that they protect themselves in the only way that the law allows, by stating that it violates one’s civil rights under the First Amendment.
By signing up for the project, anyone can have the Satanic Temple send a letter which states the types of action that violate children’s civil rights, including “the use of corporal punishment, the imposing of physical restraints, restricting bathroom access, and the use of isolation rooms or other means of solitary confinement.” With religious freedom bills frequently in the news as of late, most recently with North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill,” the Temple’s actions could be viewed as an attempt to point out that it is not only Christian denominations that come under these bills’ terms, while simultaneously doing something to protect children who are being abused at school.
The Satanic Temple has made it clear, though, that signing up to be a part of their campaign in no way means that one is obliged to support their religious teachings. On their website, they state that “all religious denominations are welcome”, as well as those of no particular belief, and that they are simply making use of existing laws that allow other denominations the right to forgo any school practice that they disagree with by using their beliefs as a protective shield.
— Aphrodite (@1c75a) April 19, 2016
This isn’t the first time that the Satanic Temple has been in the news recently. In response to a Colorado school board’s decision to allow religious material to be handed out to students, the Temple announced that they too would be providing pamphlets in schools detailing their beliefs, philosophy, and students’ legal rights to practice Satanism. Their decision was motivated by the fact that an Evangelical group had been allowed to provide school pupils with Bibles, while the Freedom from Religion Foundation, who seek to preserve the distinction between church and state, had been strictly censored.