Monuments to unbelief

Leigh Schmidt

Leigh Eric Scmidt, the Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor of the Humanities


The Satanic Temple – a group of freethinking activists, led by the pseudonymous Lucien Greaves, has puckishly deployed an occult statue of Baphomet to challenge a monument devoted to the Ten Commandments at the State Capitol in Oklahoma.

However fancifully, the monumental gestures of the Satanic Temple pay homage to ideals that the freethinkers of the U.S. have long sought to enshrine: intellectual freedom, the value and reliability of scientific knowledge, the equal rights and liberties of nonbelievers, and the humanistic commitment to justice for all.

In such times – when white evangelicals gave the world Donald Trump – the God of the U.S. might well deserve anew the irreverence of Paine, Ingersoll, Darrow and Roman. The architects of the Satanic Temple, Greaves and company are among the latest bearers of that humanistic, freethinking impertinence.

Read the full piece at Aeon.

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