CHICAGO’S SNAKETIVITY AND THE GIFT OF PAUL SCHIMPF’S IRE
The holidays bring Snaketivity to Chicago, but Illinois Senator Paul Schimpf seems to prefer his own brand of snake oil.
Schimpf, a Republican legislator from the seemingly ill-omened town of Waterloo, says that he’s “disappointed” that the state of Illinois allowed a Satanic holiday display at the capitol this year. Schimpf believes Satanism is all about “antagonizing.”
Of course, it’s not the state that permits the display from the Satanic Temple’s Chicago chapter but instead a higher power—constitutional law.
And if Satanism was really just about “provoking” fundy types like Schimpf, none of us would even have to bother. Give it half a chance and a stiff wind and the Schimpfs of the world will find something to feel persecuted about. No Snaketivity required.
What Senator Schimpf does not understand is that Satanism is not about him. It’s about Satanists. Hence why it’s not called Schimpfism instead.
According to NPR, the Illinois capitol this year features a Christmas tree, nativity scene, menorah, and a sign from the Freedom From Religion Foundation decrying superstition. Since the only holiday display that offends me is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” I aggressively have no opinion about any of this.
The same space also feature a four-foot black sculpture donated by TST Chicago depicting an outstretched hand bearing an apple. “Called ‘Snaketivity,’ the work reads ‘Knowledge Is The Greatest Gift,” NPR says.
The Snaketivity name originates with the former TST Detroit. In that city, the West Michigan Friends of TST are already working to bring a Satanic display back to state grounds.
And of course at Satanic Bay Area we have our own Satanic Christmas Tree at San Jose’s Christmas In the Park. All we need now is Beyonce’s cover of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Satan’s Claws” and the holidays will be complete.
But Paul Schimpf is apparently not feeling moved by the spirit of the season. Via Facebook, the senator snivels that the state ought to sleigh Chicago’s Snaketivity…for some reason:
“As an attorney who evaluated the legality of religious displays, I appreciate the complexities with balancing the First Amendment with the Establishment Clause. In this situation, I believe [the state] received poor legal advice recommending approval of the Satanic display.”
I may not be a fancy big city lawyer like Schimpf, but it seems to me that it’s a little lopsided to talk about “balancing” the First Amendment with…itself? How does that even work?
The Schimpf stratagem is to argue that the Snaketivity “seeks to provoke and antagonize members of the Christian and Jewish faiths” and therefore lacks constitutional protections.
Couple things: First, I’d like to know how the hell he knows what TST Chicago “seeks?” I doubt he’s even asked, after all.
Second, I’ve read the First Amendment (admittedly only once during a misguidedly boring game of Truth or Dare, but even so), and nowhere does it reserve free exercise of religion or freedom of speech only for those who are being nice to everyone.
So even if Schimpf was right, what in the name of Ba’al’s bells would it matter?
But most important of all, he’s simply wrong. The tiresome allegation that Satanism is all about riling up Christians is just another expression of Christian privilege.
Fundy fellows, desperate for their faith to always remain the center of attention, assume that the thing Satanists really care about is them and their feelings. Obviously nothing could be more important, right?
But there’s no need to turn to Satan to provoke these moribund martyrs. Almost ANYTHING gets them worked up: the red cups at Starbucks, the phrase “happy holidays,” women kissing, people voting for Muslims, the “War on Christmas,” etc.
People like Schimpf probably think upper-case T’s are an attack on crucifix imagery. Why would anyone go through all of the trouble of becoming a Satanist just to “provoke” them? I could sit back and let pronouns and sea mammals do the work for me.
I can barely believe this needs to be spelled out, but here goes: Satanism is not about Christians. It’s not about Jewish people. It’s not about Tucker Carlson.
Satanism is about Satanists. The two nouns even conveniently match. You can’t say we’re not making it easy for you here.
Why did Satanic Bay Area put up a Christmas tree? Because we like the look of it. I speculate Chicago’s Snaketivity has much the same agenda.
By a similar turn, why do we call ourselves Satanists? Because it’s the best word for us.
Whereas outraging the Paul Schimpfs of the world is nobody’s goal. With the obvious exception of Paul Schimpf.
He is of course free to his opinions. But it looks to me like he’d better get off that cross soon, because someone else has it reserved come Easter.