First of all, all apologies for the lack of posts this week. I had a family emergency Sunday morning and my mom ended up in the ICU for the week. While it was really scary on Sunday, all danger had passed by Monday evening, and she should be coming home tomorrow. In addition to the general chaos that comes with a medical emergency, I also ended up hosting my one older sister for the week when she flew up from Florida to be close to the hospital and our mother. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to find time to blog this week. With her coming home this weekend, hopefully I can return to the thrice weekly update schedule I was working on recently.
With that out of the way, I wanted to share the story of my trip home from the hospital today. Bad timing on my part meant that I was traveling past the Altoona Area High School right at dismissal time, which meant crossing guards, a 15 mph speed limit that is 10 mph overly optimistic for the actual driving conditions, and a metric ton of students trying to get the fuck away from the school, by any means necessary. Today however, my drive past the school had an extra special treat: (Come with me, pictures after the jump!)
Ummm. Okay? See, the local Mennonite Church decided they needed a captive audience to preach at, so they set up shop on the sidewalk while school was letting out, and preach they did.
Apologies for the shoddy pictures. This is the Mennonite choir that serenaded the students as they passed.
This is the Prayer Station they had set up across the street from the choir. Most requested prayer? For the choir to find the right key.
Not pictured but definitely taking place was the distribution of religious literature. I received a tract titled Just for you: Real Security
And they provided me with a door hanger as well:
Which invited me, and all the students that have to walk past the spot they were standing every single day, to their revival meetings:
This brought such a huge smile to my face. See, the area I live in is overwhelmingly Christian; just not overwhelmingly Mennonite. Something tells me there were many a conniption fit being had in many a household. I have this strange feeling that while the Mennonites may have struck the first blow, they are not going to be the only denomination taking advantage of the sea of kids that use that sidewalk everyday. While I have no doubt that the vast majority of these sidewalk congregations that turn up will be some form of Christianity, I have to wonder if the Mennonite organizers of this event had ever heard of The Satanic Temple, and the delicious can of squirming, phallic worms they may have just opened.
In response to a recent School Board decision in Orange County, Florida that allows for the dissemination of religious materials in public schools, The Satanic Temple has announced they will follow suit by providing Satanic materials to students during the new school year. Among the materials to be distributed are pamphlets related to the Temple’s tenets, philosophy and practice of Satanism, as well as information about the legal right to practice Satanism in school.
This effort came about when the Orange County school system allowed an evangelical Christian group to distribute Bibles while censoring atheist materials distributed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a nonprofit that strives to uphold the principle of separation of state and church. In response, FFRF sued the Orange County School Board. Neither FFRF nor The Satanic Temple agree with the school board’s decision to allow the distribution of religious materials in schools; however, The Satanic Temple seeks to ensure that pluralism is respected whenever the Church/State division is breached.
So. Anyone have their number?
Not content to sit back and watch this all happen so close to home, and bolstered by the coverage the story of the teen charged with taking a picture received after I tipped The Friendly Atheist about the story (that I cover here, here and here. And by the way, I’m not claiming that the story got coverage because of me, just that it feels really good to take action on an issue I care about and see that action bear fruit.), I decided to purchase the supplies needed to make interesting signs I can hold outside of the Altoona Area High School the next time I see a church service break out on the street corner. (Seriously. I would have gave a kidney for a piece of poster board and a Sharpie.)
And where better to buy supplies to make atheist, free thought, and anti-religion oriented signs but Hobby Lobby, of course. So I hopped back into the Fostermobile and headed off to the local Hobby Lobby, figuring that the project I was using the supplies for would offset the money I was giving to people who believe they should have a say over their female employee’s reproductive system.
This was my first time ever in Hobby Lobby, and I have to say that I really wish they didn’t feel they had the rights to control what goes on in their employee’s vaginas. For a craft store, it is by far better than any other similar store ever in my area. The science section, with all sorts of Solar System models, Dinosaur kits, telescopes that actually were not toys (Not 500$ Celestron’s either, but better than Wal-Mart.), actual Celestron binoculars, and countless other fascinating things. I didn’t see any tags reading “Warning: The World is only 6000 years old, so everything in this box is a lie from the mouth of Satan. Do Not Buy.” on anything, even the stuff that talked about evolution. If only there wasn’t the whole lawsuit against the government to protect their right to control their employees’, who should be home, barefoot with the children getting dinner ready for the real earner of the family, choices in contraception. Sigh.
Anyway, I grabbed some poster board (on hella sale, by the way.) and some markers, and made my way to the checkout. And what I got when I paid for my supplies made the whole trip not only worth it, but priceless. I present to you, my receipt from Hobby Lobby. Unaltered. And no, I did not try to do this.
To highlight the issue: