On statues, statutes, and civil society
Jonah Goldberg writes: The Constitution is powerless against Satan.
Earlier this month, the state of Oklahoma received a proposal from New York–based Satanists to build near the state capitol a seven-foot-high statue of Baphomet, a goat-headed pagan idol. The Satanists’ letter boasted that “the statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
Now, while the Satanists are real, there’s a lot of fakery involved. It’s a stunt — a clever one — exploiting the constitutional injunction against governmental favoritism towards religion. The Oklahoma capitol has a statue of the Ten Commandments on its grounds, and that vexes atheist activists and Satanists alike. It’s a version of the old rule about bringing candy to school. If you didn’t bring enough for everyone, then no one can have any. If Christians and Jews can have a statue of the Ten Commandments on public property, so can everyone else. And if they can’t, no one can.