Satanic Invocation Opens County Commission Meeting in Nevada – HotAir

Yes, this is real.

I doubted that it was when I saw it online, but I went to YouTube to find the original video, and it is indeed taken from the video feed of the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting on January 16th. Washoe County’s capital is Reno, NV.

The invocation was provided by the founder of Reno Satanic.

On the one hand, the invocation is utterly banal in the sense that most of them are. Sticking an invocation at the beginning of a meeting of government bureaucrats is an anachronism, given that government bureaucracy is about as driven by moral purpose as casinos are.

On the other hand, such invocations are intended to serve as a reminder that people in positions of authority are supposed to pursue a higher purpose than ripping resources away from citizens and handing them out as rewards to friends of politicians and bureaucrats. And, generally speaking, they are a nod to the beliefs of the citizens as well, many of whom still take their religion seriously.

If you watched the video, I hope you noticed the face of the woman behind the Satanist; she was dumbstruck by the whole spectacle, and you can hear her response right after the final words–Hail Satan!–invoking the name of Jesus Christ. None of the County Commissioners said a word, treating the whole spectacle as perfectly normal.

It has become common for invocations in government settings to invite religious figures from diverse backgrounds to bless the meetings. Here in Minnesota, I have seen religious men and women from Catholicism, various Protestant denominations, Rabbis, Indigenous medicine men, Imams, and many more groups. As far as I know, no Satanists have yet to be platformed.

There is a reason for that: Satanism is to religion, as Nazism is to political ideology. Banning Satanism is incompatible with our liberal tradition; platforming Satanism is incompatible with our commitment to furthering our liberal society.

To be fair, Reno Satanic is avowedly atheist. They “worship” Satan as a way to ridicule Christians. This makes it, if anything, worse than platforming a genuinely religious Satanic group. If somebody created a “religion” whose only purpose is to ridicule Hindus or Muslims, they would never be given a platform at a government meeting to do so. It would be offensive and a slap in the face.

But ridiculing Christians is perfectly OK because Christians are “privileged,” we are told.

This is, of course, the opposite of privilege. Just as White men can be discriminated against, so can Christians and Jews–the two most persecuted religions in the world, actually. There are vast swathes of the world where practicing either can get you killed, tortured, jailed, or expelled. The US is a haven for both religions, of course, but elevating Satanists isn’t a way to preserve this fact.

Of course, we are talking about Reno, which is probably not the best place in the world to practice your Christian faith unless you are interested in becoming an evangelist. However, I expect that a decent chunk of the population is Christian or even Mormon.

Am I old-fashioned to be shocked by Satanists being embraced by elected officials? Perhaps. However, it strikes me that religious tolerance rests on respecting people’s religious beliefs, not ridiculing them. Asking people to tolerate one’s beliefs means you must also respect and tolerate theirs. Not embrace them, but not treat them as ridiculous.

Is mutual respect too much to ask in a democratic society?

In the 2020s? Yes, apparently it is.

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