This day was inevitable. The judicially activist mangling of the First Amendment has finally and inexorably brought its chickens home to roost.
This weekend, satanists will hold a sold-out black mass in the Oklahoma City Civic Center. In this ritual dedicated to Beelzebub, satanists will stomp on and spit on a wafer designed to represent the body of Jesus Christ.
Because of other disturbing features of this ritual, the acolytes of the goat-god had to make changes in the ceremony to comport with the city’s health laws, which of course means if they did it the way they’re supposed to, there would be significant risks to public health.
For instance, the black mass requires the use of urine at one point. Yes, urine. Satanists had to agree to use vinegar in its place. They also had to agree that there would be no “bloodletting” in this ritual, telling you all you need to know about what goes on in a satanic ritual when done under the cover of darkness.
The highlight of the evening will be a reverse exorcism, in which the Holy Spirit rather than Satan will be cast out of a willing subject.
This whole thing, of course, is an abomination. By permitting it on public property, the civic leaders of Oklahoma City are inviting Satan into their midst. He will be more than happy to accept the invitation. Oklahoma City is throwing open the gates of their city and inviting the demons of hell to take up residence among them. Not a good idea.
Can city leaders constitutionally block this mass? If we were still using the Constitution given to us by the Founders, the answer would be an unequivocal yes.
The Satanists’ argument is quite simple: the First Amendment guarantees the “free exercise” of “religion” to everybody, and thus the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind against the disciples of the Prince of Darkness.
This means a discussion of the meaning of the word “religion” in the First Amendment is unavoidable.
Now if by “religion” the Founders meant “any system of belief in a supernatural power,” it’s hard to see how the satanists can be denied.
But if by “religion” the Founders, as historian Joseph Story has written, meant “Christianity” and its various denominations, then the answer to this problem is quite simple. Oklahoma can ban this satanic mass if it chooses.
Story was the longest serving associate justice in Supreme Court history, and was appointed to the bench by James Madison, the father of the Constitution. In his monumental history of the Constitution, Story said quite plainly that Christianity was the only topic the Founders were dealing with in crafting the First Amendment. It’s not that they were prohibiting other forms of religious expression, it’s that they weren’t dealing with them at all.
“The real object of the First Amendment,” wrote Story, “was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism or Judaism, or infidelity [i.e., atheism], by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects,” by prohibiting Congress from picking one Christian denomination and making it the official church of the United States.
So according to this eminent Supreme Court justice, the First Amendment neither protects nor prohibits alternative religions to Christianity; it is simply does not deal with them at all.
Well, if the First Amendment is silent on the subject of all the other belief systems in the world, who does have the legal right to weigh in on such matters? According to the Founders and the Constitution those rights are bequeathed to us. That authority rests with the states.
As Jefferson wrote, “Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must then rest with the states…” (Emphasis mine.)
Story confirms Jefferson. “Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions.”
The Founders could not have been clearer. The very first word of the First Amendment is “Congress.” Congress is the only entity that is restrained by the First Amendment. States are free, under the Constitution as given by the Founders, to regulate religious expression as they see fit. What states do with regard to religious expression is literally to be none of the central government’s business, whether it’s Congress or the judiciary.
In other words, if we operate under the Constitution as given to us by the Founders and not the unrecognizable one shredded by recklessly innovative jurists, the solution is quite simple: if Oklahoma doesn’t want a black mass on Oklahoma City property, it doesn’t have to have one.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
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