STTSTvsReligiousDiscrimination SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, tst, judge, boston, principle, deposition, free speech, feel, fucking, city council, understand, rally, discriminated, satanic temple, rights, policy, church militant, invocation, fact, michelle SPEAKERS Doug Misicko, Stephen Bradford Long
Transcript is auto-generated and has not been manually reviewed for errors.
Stephen Bradford Long 00:13 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long. And as always, before we get started, I have to thank my patrons, they make this show possible. So for this week, I have to thank Sean Lena and Andrew. Also a number of my patrons over the past week or so have upgraded their patronage to a higher amount. I really appreciate that all benefits get unlocked at $1. I try to make it easily accessible. I enormously appreciate it if you're able to upgrade from that because every little bit helps. But there are other ways to support this show. You can also leave five stars on Apple podcasts or Spotify or wherever you listen to the show. Here is a recent review on Apple podcasts. This is from t A p in the United States. And they say this podcast has been of immense help to me as I have accepted that I'm an atheist and how much I admire and resonate with Satanism. Great conversations happening here. Thank you so much. I so appreciate that. And it also tells our digital overlords that this show is worth sharing with others. So if you have just five seconds, please go write a quick review. And I will read it on the show. Even if it's nasty. I'll read it on the show. All right. I am here with Lucien Greaves, co founder and spokesperson of the Satanic Temple. Hello again.
Doug Misicko 01:51 Hey, how do you do?
Stephen Bradford Long 01:53 How's how's it going? How's life?
Doug Misicko 01:56 Oh, you know, it has its ups and downs.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:59 It doesn't deed. So I haven't really been following this lately. But there's a there's a kerfuffle in the city of Boston, what what's going on there with the Satanic Temple in the city of Boston
The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. City of Boston
Doug Misicko 02:12 Well, weeks to go, you might remember we had our first deposition, which is when we take the sworn testimony of our opposition before going to trial. So we've done our investigative work. And we were deposing a representative of the city of Boston. And the representative with a shit eating grin on her face the whole time, was answering questions by telling us that the only person who could possibly answer our questions was the mayor. And the mayor was the same person who as a city council member, personally rejected the satanic temples bid to give an opening invocation before a city council meeting.
Stephen Bradford Long 02:58 So this so this deposition, just to clarify for people the deposition was was regarding the bid that TST put out to give a an opening, what was it dec,
Doug Misicko 03:12 we were gonna give an opening invocation and opening invocation, right? We're at the city council meetings are typically opened by a Christian prayer given by somebody invited by the city council. And it was, you know, earlier in this century that the Supreme Court had decided, had ruled that it's illegal for City Council's and other public meetings to be opened up with words from a religious leader or whomever. But they had to be available to all comers. You couldn't advance one religious voice over another pluralism needs to be upheld. So immediately, local jurisdictions started engaging in prayer policies that were openly discriminatory anyways, hearing only that they were allowed to have prayers, they went ahead and decided to set up an environment in which pluralism was not respected and leaving us to have to litigate towards the end set were already supposed to be in place.
Stephen Bradford Long 04:17 What are some examples, the Supreme Court ruled that town halls need to be, you know, need to be open to all comers to all faiths, but then you said that specific locations, specific cities and towns started introducing policies that were discriminatory? How so what were some of the policies that like different towns and cities have put in place?
Federal judge in Boston case is corrupt
Doug Misicko 04:41 Well, this is this is what's interesting. A lot of them didn't rely on any written policy. And I think that was a method by which they bypassed the letter of the law in the intent in order to give privilege to specific voices. So II Like even in Boston, they don't have a written policy of any type. They just have a tradition they said of inviting whomever they wanted to give the invocations or the prayers or whatever. And they even went so far as to claim that they have a non discriminatory invitation only policy, which makes zero sense, of course, the very definition of it. But they can get away with this, of course, because as we've seen in Boston, they have the judge clearly on their side, they know the judge is on their side, they've defaulted on the case twice, showing how little they care about the case, only to have the judge just extend their timelines. And when you default, that means you've just failed to meet filing deadlines and other such things the first time around. They offered no excuse at all the second time around, both the attorneys just said that they were on, on vacation. And that was good enough for the judge, oh, my God. Right, we would have never gotten away with that if we had defaulted, the case would be over. And they would have found against us, no doubt about it. But you know, and that's the kind of thing we encounter, all along, when we're doing these types of doing these types of cases, like, you know, any technicality that can get us thrown out, even if they have to create one or use one that's been mooted by more recent precedent, they go ahead and do that, like when the judge in, in Missouri decide to throw our case out, our reproductive rights K, it's out after nine months, because of our because our plaintiff couldn't be pregnant anymore. But there is a standard, you know, and it's called capable of repetition yet evading review. And if something can be repeated, if you know, the grievance can can arise again. And any or in any period of time, the judge is obligated to still to review the question of law. And this judge just ignored that standard and said, you know, the case was now moot. And, of course, you know, this is time for me to go on that digression of a tirade about the stupid fuckheads who look at the fact that we lost a case or had a ruling against us and say that the problem is that we don't understand the law or that we have somehow mishandled our claim. And it's just pathetic, it's pathetic to see these groveling idiots, you know, upholding these biased judicial standards, just because they don't like tst. And that's always the case, you know, due to cutting off their nose to spite their face, or whatever the terminology is, it hurts them to, you know, especially when you see people who also self identify as Satanists seeing sayings. See, look at this, the Satanic Temple doesn't understand the law don't support the Satanic Temple, like, the ruling was somehow accurate. And just and we actually don't have our rights and TST just doesn't understand this. Nothing to me could be more pathetic than that or more childish and petty, than to shit on your own rights just despite us. And that's exactly what we see happening with some of these keyboard warriors who all of a sudden, consider themselves legal scholars, because they were so easily talked out of the idea that they have equal rights to everybody else. And nor do they even want them. If if they were going to be asserted by tst. By by
Stephen Bradford Long 08:33 TSD. Yeah, I mean, that's, that's exactly right. Because they would be a presumably a lot of these people would be discriminated against in just the same way because of their minority religious status in a court of law just as much as TST is and
Doug Misicko 08:51 social media chiming in on on the comments on, you know, in my threads or whatever saying, in tell us how many of these suits Have you won, as though you know, as though I should be ashamed of us for having tried to assert our rights at all? So as to the idea. Yeah, you're right, right, as though I should revise my thinking as to whether or not we have equal claims to the Christians who are opening all kinds of doors for exemption and privilege that aren't being offered to us.
Stephen Bradford Long 09:28 Yeah. And as if social progress isn't slow and grueling sometimes, right? I mean, it doesn't.
Doug Misicko 09:34 We're, we're we're fighting for rights that are established rights that we do, in fact path and we have these people telling us that we should know better than to think that we have ever had these rights at all, and that we should accept that we actually don't have them. And to me, that's just that's insane. It's disgusting. It's pathetic, it's servile, it could be nothing. You know, There's there's nothing to be gained from it other than their their petty pathetic sense that that TST shouldn't be the the advocates for it shouldn't even matter who it is, you know, at this, at the point where you're talking fundamental entrenched rights that are being taken away from us, you know, you should realize that there's something greater at play here than any of the individual players. And if it's not obvious in a case like this, it's not obvious in any case, and there's nothing you can do for the, for that type. But, but we press on, but in Boston, it's particularly egregious how the court is handling this, because we had sought to depose the mayor herself, who, as I said, was a council person, when we had offered to give the invocation, the council person who specifically wrote us the denial letter claiming that they had a non discriminatory invitation only policy, the one who apparently had really kind of communicated what the policy was the unwritten policy to the rest of the council. And she was also the same council person who, when TST had offered to give an invocation at all panicked in decided that they should immediately stopped paying the people who are giving the invocations, because not only did they have a policy, it turns out of inviting their friends. And, you know, they they didn't they never say friends, but they say close personal associates, they say, you know, essentially, whomever the city council person wants to invite to give the invocation in that person doesn't even have to be attached to a larger religious organization, or credible spokesperson or religion at all.
Stephen Bradford Long 11:57 ... just about to ask that actually, if there was like a primary religion being represented. Like I understand that Boston has a really powerful Catholic community there. Is it like primarily Catholic or is it just, you know, whoever happens to be the friend of someone in city council?
Doug Misicko 12:18 It's it's apparently whomever has a friend in city council. Okay. And at the time, before, before we came around and and asked to give an invocation, and they were getting paid. They were getting paid to be selected, stand up and give a prayer before the city council, they were getting public funds, saying there's so many lines crossed there, we still don't know how much they were getting paid. But it doesn't fucking matter. You should know if you're a public official, that you don't just set up, no bid paying, paying positions with public funds to give out to your friends.
Stephen Bradford Long 12:58 Like are they? What what? Like, what would they get up and say, just out of curiosity, was it just a generic Christian was
On seeking publicity with lawsuit
Doug Misicko 13:07 interesting to me, too, when we were when we were dealing with this in Arizona, when we had offered to give an invocation in Phoenix, you know, we were looking into the invocations and the prayers that were given, and they actually had a time limit, you know, you had like a minute and a half to say what you were gonna say and then then get off the stage. Boston's even Boston's different even there, they don't seem to have a time limit at all. And one of the videos we saw was a full on outright sermon, you know, you got to come to God, and I'm bringing the blessings. Oh, wow. The One True God on this, on this body, the council and all that kind of thing. And it was very much proselytizing and very much fire and brimstone. And it was, frankly amazing to me that I did that Boston in general isn't in a state of outrage about this, you know, boss sins, generally a liberal place and for them to turn the city council meetings into a full on fucking sermon seem just insane to me. And it was also insane to me that there wasn't general outrage about the fact that the City Council were paying their friends to give prayers before the meetings. And also further amazing to me was that when we brought this to the to the light, and put out a press release about it and everything, like hardly anybody picked it up, you know, in fact, only I think the Friendly Atheist on only sky was the only other article I can think of that that references at all. In to Me, it's just, it's just insane. But the way we're being treated in court is more insane than that. We had tried to depose Michelle Wu on November 2, who is Michelle was, you know, she was the one who was Part of the city council and now is made now its Mayor got it. Okay. In November 2 was Election Day for her mayoral campaign. And, you know, the the legal counsel for Boston, decided that this was surely harassment that we were doing this and that we wanted publicity for what was going on here, in that it was totally inappropriate for us to try to schedule a deposition on November 2, and you know, where I'm coming from, it doesn't fucking matter in it. And to be clear, like, how do we know, like, election day might be the best day for her to do it? You know, you're essentially jobless, then you're waiting to know, why can't you'd be deposed anybody else, and a job, you know, they can have meetings that day, they're gonna be expected to reschedule the meetings on their job and come in for the deposition. And I don't think public officials should be treated differently. Like the judge disagreed, and invoked, the idea that Michelle Wu is a high ranking government official, and putting a protective order on her for November 2. And, you know, in typical legal process, you know, you you would demand that another date be scheduled instead, you know, she got a protective order in the judge really leaned into this idea that we were seeking publicity. And to me, that is entirely inappropriate for a judge to even question because, yes, we want to bring publicity to this, we want people to understand what the government is doing in their name, we definitely are putting out press releases, we want people to understand what's going on here. And there is nothing wrong with that. And a judge should know that, you know, a judge can't say, well, you're seeking publicity. And the judge further leaned into this, you can see, you know, I posted some snippets from the motions in the rulings on my Patreon piece that I put on, that's on, you know, on my Patreon, and recently tweeted out it as a pinned tweet. And when people listen to this, I'm sure it'll still be there.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:22 And I'll link it as well in the show notes, so people can find it in the show notes as well.
Doug Misicko 17:28 Right. The judge has gone on to characterize what we are doing as solely for publicity, you know, it's not enough to say that it's wrong without seeking it.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:40 Yeah. It's a troll, in other words.
Doug Misicko 17:42 Yeah, right. Right, this idea that we really don't have any true belief in what we're doing. But if we're seeking publicity on any part of this, and the sole motive here is publicity, which is not for a judge to examine and determine anyways, with no other information on hand. You know, the judge is making these rulings in advance of there actually being a trial, in put this, put this protective order on Michelle Wu, and it did say that the protective order was for this deposition on November 2, but then went on to talk about all these impermissible antics of ours, and this seeking publicity in this in this idea that, you know, because she's a high ranking government official, that we need to prove that she has a personal involvement. And I mean, we already have she, she definitely does. And she was the one to, you know, write the denial and all that. But then, Boston's attorneys had asserted that there were 47 other people who could give the same answer answers as Michelle Wu that we hadn't bothered to try to depose. And the judge nonsensically put that forward as an argument saying, like, well, you know, there's all these lower ranking government officials who could answer to this, you know, why not them? And, you know, why wouldn't any of them say why don't you talk to any of the 46 others you know, what, when? When was that a valid excuse? Somebody else could answer your question. So you can't choose the person who you know fucking well can answer your questions.
Stephen Bradford Long 19:16 Right. So it's all just very arbitrary like like throwing up every arbitrary barrier possible to to make this not progress.
Boston Judgesetting up impossible hurdles
Doug Misicko 19:26 Well, in the judge also made the nonsensical claim that because this is an establishment claim, an establishment clause claim that the policy itself is in dispute, not the subjective interpretations and treatments of the individual council members so we can bring up for review the policy, but not the subjective intent of any of the counselors or mayor Whoo. In this makes zero sense, especially when you don't even have a written policy, but you have them differing specifically and openly to the subjective interests of the council members, right. So what we're seeing is a judge just setting up impossible hurdles for us to try to get past to describe the obvious here that we're being discriminated against. If you just draw back and look at what's going on, we're clearly being discriminated against, we have outside religious speakers coming in, and speaking before public meetings at a public forum, and they were for a time getting public funds to do it. And we don't have any access to that. And we're being told that somehow, you know, through all these contortions of the law in our, in our inability to prosecute this, that, you know, this discrimination isn't taking place, or we're somehow unable to prove it, because we're being hamstrung every step of the way. And, you know, we gave, we had our deposition with a representative from the city of Boston. And as I was explaining earlier, she sat there with a shitting and grin on her face the whole time, telling us again and again, that the only person who could possibly answer our questions was Michelle Woo. And we knew that when she was sitting there doing this, and when she had that smug fucking look on her face, that she felt that the protective order for November 2 was going to stand up in perpetuity, and that we never get to talk to Michelle Whoo. So we filed with the court saying that, you know, we would we would like to depose Michelle Wu and and in have this idea in be able to appeal this, this protective order, for which the judge came back all pissed off, saying that we had misread the order that it was only for, for November 2, that there was nothing to appeal, because, because we had misread the order, and even went so far to accuse us of incompetence, for having even suggested that Michelle Wu was was shielded from from depositions in perpetuity. So then, of course, we subpoenaed Michelle Wu. And we said, All right, you know, now now we've had this deposition with the representative Boston told us again and again, that there were relevant questions that only she could answer, to which the judge came back and, you know, again, threatened sanctions and said that we just could not impose Michelle Wu that we hadn't established that we had any need to do so. And that, you know, we could always try to Motion to reconsider the protective order against her, which we had learned just in the last ruling was moot to begin with, because it was only for November 2, in saying that, you know, we just couldn't we couldn't do this. And, essentially, that the there's this judge has no, no willingness to allow this case to move forward.
Stephen Bradford Long 23:15 And is that where it ended?
Complaint to Department of Justice
Doug Misicko 23:16 No, we actually filed with the Department of Justice to get the judge recused in the Department of Justice responded, before they could have possibly done any investigation with just a form letter saying that they weren't going to investigate this. Right. Okay. So I really feel like we need to fight this battle in the public eye as much as we can. And, you know, we've tried with with the pray for pay. But on a press release, I reached out to some journalists, I tried to get people to write about it, that they wouldn't, you know, in now, we're putting together videos from the depositions and trying to just outline for people how insane this is. I mean, the, the judge has already said so many insane things about this, about her understanding of what an establishment clause claim even means, you know, the judge has already stated that she feels that the policy itself, the unwritten policy that we can't really have any evidence of, because we can't get anybody to talk about it. And it's not in writing is not is not a violation of the establishment clause, because individual counselors inviting religious speakers to speak to the religion that they want to endorse is not an endorsement of religion somehow, because it's similar to legislative prayers in which an individual legislator will give their own prayer that echoes or mirrors the religion of their choice. So all of this is just these convoluted ways of trying to call discrimination by another name. That gives them some availability to say, oh, it's not They actually discriminatory, you know? Oh, if you were if you have a Satanist on the city council, they can they can invite a Satanist, which doesn't change the fact that, you know, you have a government body, some entity here, that's just allowed to discriminate. It doesn't matter if you're saying like, well, you can get to that position one day and discriminate also, like the discrimination isn't supposed to be happening now. And it's not supposed to be happening with the understanding that, well, if you get into that position, you can discriminate against people later. Therefore, it's nondiscriminatory. Fucking stupid to realize that that's fucking stupid. And the only reason they get away with it is because we have people who are so gullible, that they're amenable to these arguments, like anytime you see one of these fuckheads on social media saying, Hey, I'm a Satanist. But the Satanic Temple has it all wrong, and they don't understand the law, you got to recognize that you're just dealing with a fuckhead, who's willing to throw away everybody's rights, just to spite us and be willing to abandon core principles of democracy, just because they have some kind of spite against a particular group.
Stephen Bradford Long 26:23 You know, there's something that's so interesting to me about this particular case, which is that it's in Boston, Boston is like a northeast city, it's generally progressive it from what I understand it does have like a strong Trad Catholic presence, but I understand it to be generally fairly progressive. And so there's something about this that kind of breaks the narrative, you know, this isn't this isn't Oklahoma, this isn't, you know, some city in Texas or Scottsdale, or whatever the case may be. This is a big progressive city. And I wonder, and I wonder if that changes how people respond to this story, where it's like, it's not it isn't a it? Is it? Just trying to figure trying to think like, what is the motivation behind these actions on the part of the city council? Is it? Is it because they have a religious it because they have a religious conviction as as Christians or something, or or is it something else?
Doug Misicko 27:38 And I think there's two things going on here. The Boston is so blase about this, in their activities are so flagrant, because the city has a long tradition of being corrupt. Okay. They, they have a long tradition of greased palms, and just just government corruption overall. And another part of that is the public's refusal to deal with it. And I think, I mean, I just have to be very blunt about this. And in this era of polarization, we get people... I lose people all the time, just because they can't...
Stephen Bradford Long 28:17 They can stop listening, they can rage quit, it's fine. No one cares.
Boston Democrats are corrupt
Doug Misicko 28:21 Right. Right. But the fact is, is that, you know, it's a liberal state, and they will let the Democrats get away with murder.
Stephen Bradford Long 28:29 It's true. Yes, it's true. It's true here.
Doug Misicko 28:33 It's true in Boston, and therefore, the Democrats in Boston are corrupt as fuck, and they get away with it. And in the case of, of, of the Austin City Council right now, you know, their comfort level, the reason they can walk into these depositions, and with a smile on their face, tell us, you know, you have to ask Michelle who fully knowing that we won't be able to talk to her, it's because they're comfortable in their relationship with the judge. Right? And they know, the judge is on their side. That's how they're comfortable defaulting twice. They didn't give a fuck, you know, they took their fucking vacation, they came back and said, alright, we'll file later. You know, it was, it was a casual pass.
29:20 It was casual discrimination, and just a feeling of that they have absolutely nothing to lose. They're completely secure.
Doug Misicko 29:29 Right? You have a segment of the left that likes to cry about systemic corruption. And they don't seem to know what that means. Because they don't do anything to try to reform the system. They always go after individuals, and then they act like oh, if we just get this person in the proper public office, then somehow it's all magically going to be fixed when to tell you the truth. It doesn't matter what the identity of somebody is. If they fall into a corrupt system, it's all too easy to just fall into corruption. Have we got a mayor in everybody gushed over the fact that it's the first Asian woman mayor in there still enthralled by that. And they still feel like she couldn't possibly do any wrong or engage in the type of corruption in their use to because she has that qualification going for her. Well, you know, she fell right into the system in the system needs to be reformed, and we can't lose sight of that. And, you know, we're being treated unfairly. But we're being treated unfairly by Democrats, the judge is a Biden appointee. And if he can't deal with that, then, you know, you came to the wrong place for the fight, because it doesn't matter to us who you are, you know, equality is equality, and this is what it is. And, you know, I don't buy into that whole thing, where it's like, well, we got bigger fish to fry right now. No, these are, these are the big fish, we have to have to fry. You know, regardless of who's in office, or who's or who's eroding our equal rights. It just, it just doesn't matter. Yeah. And that's, I feel like, that's where we're at right now. But I feel like that's why, you know, whereas we might have had a lot of local reporters interested in this, if it were any other party, if Oh, yeah, if it were a different courtroom, if it were a different different mayor, or whomever else, you know, they're, they're not as interested in it right now. And that's the real damage of polarization. You know, it makes people accept the worst on on their side of the dispute. You know, all of a sudden, the corruption that's being engaged in by both sides is ignored, for the benefit of both sides, you know, by their individual camps, you know, the Republicans will cry about the Democrats and Democrats will cry about the Republicans. But at the point where things have reached the fever pitch that they're at right now, they're disinclined to make the same complaints they're making against the one side against their own side. So it's like we're at a race to the bottom, you know, to make sure that, that the corruption on on either side remains unexplored.
32:15 You know, it's like, it becomes like team sports, where no matter what your team does, if it wins, it's good. And so we have this this deeply ingrained, I think it's just human instinct, where we have this deeply ingrained thing in the human mind, where it's team sports, and if my team, you know, succeeds, no matter the cost, or no matter how or why, then that's good. And if the other team fails, then that's good. And we had a certain point, you're not standing for anything. Exactly. We're not standing for anything. And and just because the Republicans are a death, Colt does not mean that the Democrats are suddenly sanctified, right? Like, just because the Republicans are a are a fucking death cult that are, you know, truly terrifying. And if people want to hear more about that, they can listen to our previous conversation, where we talked about Roe v. Wade, where, you know, you were you were talking about how you expect blasphemy laws to be on the horizon. So but But that fact does not mean that suddenly Democrats or liberals or leftists, or what have you, are suddenly not human, are suddenly not prone to human foibles? And, and human corruption and human distortions of thought? And...
Doug Misicko 33:43 Right, yeah, don't don't get me wrong. I do fully believe that the GOP poses an existential threat to the United States, right now, in that, you know, I feel that Trump was a continuation of George W. Bush, and the next Republican president is going to be a continuation of Trump if it's not Trump, and we have to do everything we can to prevent that. But that should not stop us from from litigating for our equal rights. It should not we were fighting to preserve when we fight the Republicans, by just abandoning those two, any democratic concerns. It's just that's insane at that point, like Why Why fight the Republicans at all, you know, in a rational world, we wouldn't be so polarized and we'd have a rational second party in the Republicans. And we could be hammering on the government institutions we have that are so reliant on lobbyists, support in moneyed interests and other things like that. At this point, that's all but forgotten, because we're fighting to preserve basic rights of free speech and civil rights and other such things. But, you know, abandoned In our principals, just because I don't know, we think that's where our team is at that's that's the show is that we're not not aligned with a team for any productive purpose to begin with.
35:11 Do you ever get derided for, quote unquote, sticking to your principles for being? Because I do, you know, I will, I will, you know, if I'm if I find myself in some political debate, and it's an unpopular position in some way, I will always, you know, eventually just come down to well, this, this is based on this principle, this principle being the principle of free speech. The First Amendment is based on a principle it is based on a philosophical and cultural principle. And I believe that that pre existing principle that free speech is based on or that that the First Amendment is based on is pretty fucking good. So I'm going to defend it. And I there's always this turn in the conversation that happens when I bring up the topic of principles, which is oh, well, if if all you I don't even know what the objection is, but there seems to be this weird objection to principled action. And I don't get it. And I'm curious if you get the same response when you bring up when you bring up the topic of like, prior principles that are motivating your actions?
Doug Misicko 36:32 Well, yeah, no, we get that all the time.
36:34 And because it's driving me crazy, I'm starting to feel like I'm going insane, like, what? What is going on? Because I, I've had these conversations multiple times.
Doug Misicko 36:44 That's the story of tst. Up to this point, right, is, we've been assaulted, I think, from the very beginning, on the grounds that we hold the principles. And it's just because I feel like we have such unprincipled movements taking place that kind of go with whichever way the wind has shifted, to make proclamations of convenience that are narrowly applied to specific situations. And when you're running an organization, you just can't do that. So you can't say that, you know, you're going to set up some kind of framework by which you subjectively evaluate every situation and decide what's best for optics at any given moment. Because it just becomes insensible in meaningless after a while, you know, it just becomes people's personal playgrounds for grandstanding or whatever. And there's no way that we could put a system in place that would do that, where I would feel comfortable ever stepping away from the position I'm in, or know that if I suddenly die, or whatever, that people can rely on TST to be what it is, because we've taken a principled stand on anything. I think we owe it to, you know, people have a more sophisticated mindset to know that we're going to hold the certain principles and that we have some predictable stance when it comes to certain things. And that we're not going to be pressured by people in the moment saying that, you know, optics demands or whatever else that we take a different position that totally violates, you know, the the very tenants that we hold to, and we've been asked to do that again and again, you know, and it's been demanded of us that we do that again and again. And people have disparaged us to no end, for holding to our principles again, and again. But in all honesty, I think that when all is said and done, and all this shakes out in things, when we come back to a more reasonable time, hopefully, we will have stood the test of time because of that, you know, whereas other organizations I've seen, are trying to accommodate, lose lose situation demands. Yeah, you know, in real time as they come up not holding two distinct values or principles, but revising them just based on how wildly people bitch, and, you know, eventually they fall apart. You know, so I feel like as painful as it's been, for us to stick to it and say, No, we're not doing this, you know, we're not, we're not trying to, we're not going to go out and try to co opt other people's protests, you know, in our name, just because you think it would be good optics and take the gamble of, you know, us being denigrated for being there and making everybody else look bad. You know, that kind of thing, when we're going to play plays straight the way the way we've always done and I think, I think that that will give us our longevity, but you know, it also always gives people fuel to complain, but they're going to look for things and find things in one way or the other and So long as we remain coherent, I think we're better off.
TST supporting Church Militant
Stephen Bradford Long 40:05 I think a really good example of, of sticking to principles I had, when Mac is IO was on TSDS legal counsel and he was on I forget when it was a few months ago might have been at the end of last year. I don't even remember anymore. But he he talked some about the I don't even know what the technical legal term is a brief about church militant defending church militants, right to free speech. Could you dry? Could you talk some about that? Because I think that that is actually a very good example of being consistent in our principles, and where a lot of people on Twitter saw this as as evidence that TST is, is crypto fascist and enabling.
40:59 Alright, you'll see those dumb shits throw that in there all the time. Oh, yeah. All the time. I want to preface this by saying like, I can't stand those assholes at church militant. Oh, this isn't about them their rules? Yes, I published an article that said that I was a registered sex offender or something like that. And and we reached out to them immediately and said, Don't know where the fuck you got this. But you know, you better you got you have to retract this right away. Yeah. And he sent them the note in CC to a lawyer on it. So they, without even saying like, Oh, we were misinformed, or saying where this came from? They just said, okay, sorry, we'll correct that. And that was it. And I think that's how Church Militant plays it and fuck them. And they've tried to protest everything we've done as we've done it, and they even showed up at our unveiling event, because I think they're based in Michigan, we did that in Detroit. Like, there is no love between Church Militant in me or, or the Satanic Temple in general, just the same. They were gonna do a rally in the city of Baltimore, tried to apply prior restraint on them and said that they couldn't speak. And now to be clear, like it, you know, the Church Militant rally was going to absolutely be of a right wing Catholic nature. And I think they even had the asshole Steve Bannon speaking at it, and, you know, van and I hope, I think he's going to prison. But I hope he has a long horrific time there. Yeah, he No, he won't, you know, I'm sure he'll, you'll get the country club treatment. But if there was ever a piece of shit really deserving of a real horrific experience in prison, it's a piece of shit. Right? Yeah. So you know, but it's not about that you can't allow pieces of shit like that, to justify the government taking it upon themselves to issue prior restraint and say that suddenly your ability to associate is moot and null and void. Yep. You know, I'm very much against that you are giving the government then a power that they should never have. So with no love for church militant? You know, we filed in an amicus brief, a friend of the courts brief saying that, you know, we we didn't think it was appropriate for them to have this power to, to, to prevent this, this rally from happening. And and that was taken into consideration with the court. And that's what it was, you know, and, and the funny part was, is that, at the rally TST members showed up to the protest, and yep, you know, the, and the church, militant people were, were outraged at their presence and everything else. And, you know, I have no problem, like the TSP, people should be their protest. That's free speech.
Stephen Bradford Long 43:59 That's free speech and action. This is...
Doug Misicko 44:01 We should also, we should also be filing the brief saying that, you know, the city of Baltimore has no fucking right, as a government entity to prevent this rally from taking place. And I know this, I apparently this is confusing, even to adults who don't understand how you can take both positions simultaneously. But to me, they are not in conflict whatsoever in any way at all. And, you know, if you're having a difficult time understanding that, then you then you know, you're going to have a difficult time understanding a lot of things that we do, yeah, and the way that we go about them. But that's, that's the reality. And that's where I'm coming from, you know, protest against groups that are speaking is totally legitimate when you fully disagree with their viewpoint or think that it's destructive in some way. But that is not the same as saying that the government has any right to intervene.
44:58 I don't know I'm trying to come up With a metaphor for this, and I, and I'm struggling, but when I had...
Doug Misicko 45:05 I mean, there's there's, it's a real shame what's happened to the ACLU? Oh, no, you absolutely have to explain this to everybody until they got overtaken by people saying that no, they actually don't have any responsibility to uphold the free speech rights of people who actually engage in the most offensive types of speech. And it's...
Stephen Bradford Long 45:29 Well, fire is now taken on that role.
Doug Misicko 45:32 Yeah, it completely goes against everything the ACLU stood for. And I don't know what's going on with the ACLU. Now, I'm sure they still have a lot of decent people who hold to the values that, you know, the national organization is begun to abdicate more and more. But I feel like in this environment, everybody has been feeling less and less inclined to speak up about it in the ways that the ACLU used to.
46:01 Yeah, no, definitely. And when I was talking to Jonathan Roush several weeks ago, on the show, the metaphor of kind of rules of the road, you know, of following stoplights, and following signs, and all of that, and driving on the correct side of the road and so on. Those are like the the foundational rules of free speech. And without those rules, those are not, that is not a defending those rules is not an it is not like a an ethical of an an an ethical endorsement of maybe like the drug cartel. That is, you know, trafficking humans and drugs along that highway. Instead, it is a neutral principle where you aren't necessarily condoning what's going on on the road, or what's being carried along the road. But instead, you are maintaining the road for the sake of civilization, you're maintaining the road for the sick, so that commerce, so that communication, so that even policing, so that this, you know, vast intricate balance of human commerce and engagement can continue and thrive. When those when those rules and the and those roads start to fall apart, then everything that goes on on top of those roads, also falls apart. And so that's, that's like the metaphor that that I am working with right now, in terms of free speech, to defend someone's free speech is not to defend the beliefs of that person. Right. And I don't think that people realize how common government infringement upon people's free speech actually are like several months ago, I had on Adam Goldstein from fire. He's a lawyer, with the foundation for our what is it? Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, now Foundation for Individual Rights and expression where they're now kind of taking on the mantle of what the ACLU has dropped, which is actually defending people's legal rights. But you know, when I was talking to him, he was like, Yeah, I mean, on college on State campuses that get funding from the state, the amount of infringement upon students free speech, in ways that are just blatantly wrong and unconstitutional and illegal. And it's usually arbitrary shit, it's usually an administrator not wanting to be criticized, it's usually and it's almost always a case of power. It's always a matter of a of a power, not liking someone's speech, and therefore suppressing it, and it happens all the fucking time. But we have to maintain those, those kind of bedrock foundations in order for our society to function well, and we confuse we emotionally confused to different levels of analysis, when like people accuse tsp of supporting Church Militant, when TST released that amicus brief about church militants, free speech. It's this emotional confusion between two different levels of analysis. One level of analysis is about simply maintaining the foundations upon which our society works. Whereas the other level of analysis, the higher level of analysis maybe is, those is tsp members can go and protest upon that bedrock foundation of free speech. Am I making any sense I like I'm, I'm trying to articulate it.
Doug Misicko 49:58 I feel like there was a simpler said tuition were even the most dense could possibly understand this. There was the I forget the name of that worth plus asshole who was glorified by the right because she wouldn't she wouldn't sign a marriage certificate for a gay couple.
Stephen Bradford Long 50:19 Kim Davis?
Doug Misicko 50:21 Yeah, well, it was Mike Huckabee who ended up having some kind of rally in her defense at some point, right. And at that rally, they played the song, I have the Tiger by some shitty band, and piney mountain, like the 70s or whatever. And then the band was demanding something around like $20,000 for the use of that that song. And everybody was applauding this as like, Yeah, take that fucking Mike Huckabee. And I felt like I was the only person thinking like, who was saying, wait a minute, you know? Like, does the band really deserve? $20,000? Because this played overhead, like, is it really going to cut into their profits? Are people going to watch video of this rally in order to hear the song to the to the degree that it would have lost some $20,000 of royalties? Because this song happened to be playing at the rally is that the argument being made here, and now, you know, everybody was cheering for that? These guys trying to submit an invoice for $20,000. Now we have found, you know, if we do events, or if we're speaking publicly, some asshole from the religious right, or, you know, or anti satanist or, or anti TST, or whatever is going to come and they're going to be playing copy written music, mainstream music, you know, they're going to be blasting it in hopes of ruining our chance of free broadcasting any, any bit of war. Right? It's common practice now.
52:04 Tt sets the precedent, in other words, so So right, right shouldn't tear something that sets a precedent for our own, you know, eventual undoing.
Doug Misicko 52:14 Right? You just can't have that knee jerk response of Oh, yeah. Fuck Mike Huckabee, you have to think about the broader implications of any of this. And that is why I, you know, we had a lawyer who eventually was hired by Alex Jones. And people consider this to be some kind of collusion between us and Alex Jones and the right or whatever, which is also an absurd conspiracy theory. But also, for as much as I am on the record for all of my 10 years, in TST, wanting to beat the shit out of Alex Jones. Yep, I do not mind that this lawyer would defend Alex Jones in court. Yeah, I honestly don't, I don't get it. I do Alex Jones to have good legal representation in court. Because I don't want an ignorant, irresponsible fuckhead, like Alex Jones, to erode our rights anymore, because people are trying acting irresponsibly, just to spite him.
Stephen Bradford Long 53:16 I think that there's an inevitable response to all of this, which is okay, so I get it in principle, but how do we square this philosophical principle of free speech with the inevitable harm that comes that Pete and the inevitable hurt that people experience and in response in reaction to hurtful speech? And I know how I respond to that, but how do you respond to that, like, yeah,
Upholding the status quo
Doug Misicko 53:51 I respond to that by saying, like, I think right now, the status quo of free speech that we're trying to uphold, you know, and it's not free speech, absolutism, you know, we will I do, leave that room, or, you know, prosecuting defamation, which I think is necessary, you know, taking the task, those who direct the call out with threats of violence, that that, you know, can can really reasonably have a real world impact on somebody, uh, you just can't, you just can't leave that up to somebody subject subjective analysis to say, Well, somewhere down the line, somebody's maligned enough where somebody feels, you know, there has to be an objective measure of somebody. Right? Well, there needs to be an objective measure of what's harmful, right. And there needs to be a real, there needs to be a high bar on that. So you don't give somebody the room to wiggle room to just say, Well, you know, I can conceive of a world in which you know, this leads to somebody hurting somebody else, you know, you need to have a high standard for that. But, you know, my response to what do you do when this inevitably does hurt people is just to say that, you know, there may not be a perfect solution to that this is might just be a situation where it's the least worst solution on hand. And, you know, further restrictions, I think, go in the direction of autocracy and our are worse than being in a situation in which we have, you know, a more open marketplace of ideas, which, you know, I'll admit the marketplace of ideas is become a, an imperfect analogy, more so now with the social media environment and the algorithms that determine which what we see in the, in that forum. But just the same, you know, I just haven't found a solution on, you know, repealing people's free speech rights that I think is better overall.
55:57 Yeah, you know, I, I agree with all of that. I feel like sometimes, and this might just be me projecting. So I might be completely miss reading the room here. But I feel like sometimes when I voice my defense of free speech, and the principles of free speech, and I sometimes feel like whenever this comes up, the assumption is that I have never truly suffered as a result of the of the words of someone else. And that if I sufficiently understood the depths of suffering, that that people experience as a consequence of words that maybe the maybe I wouldn't be as idealistic and principled, and I just kind of find that offensive, because here's the thing, I grew up gay in the conservative church were I was almost I was suicidal, I almost killed myself, because I internalized words that were said to me, I internalized theologies that were said to me, and a lot of my life's work has been dedicated to trying to ensure that other young LGBTQ people don't have to live through that, that they don't have to live through that repressive religious regime. And I did really horrible self injury, physical self injury to myself as as a direct result of words that were said to me, that I internalized about my sexuality, my arms are just a complete lattice work, you know, 20 years later, 15 years later, because of this experience. And even with that, I am still an ardent defender of free speech, because I know that to encroach on freedom of speech is to encroach upon my rights as a minority to speak my mind and all liberties that I have. All freedoms that I have, are predicated on that. Maybe not all, but a good fucking number of them. And so this, this idea that I'm somehow pro speech, because I haven't been adequately wounded, by the effect of words, is just crazy. And I want to create a world where, where those ideas no longer exist, I want to create a world where those harmful homophobic ideas, they no longer exist. And gay young people don't have to experience what I experienced. However, the way to do that is not by legislating them out of existence. And I and I just find this whole notion of if I haven't suffered, I, I haven't suffered adequately enough to understand why speech should be legislated against why speech should be shut down by the state. And for anyone listening to this, who says, who's saying that no one is saying that that never happens. Yes, it does. It happens quite often. And, you know, the case that Lucien just outlined, outlined in Boston is just one of many examples of where it happens. But in answer to the question, How do you square you know, the hurt that people experience with this principle of free speech? The answer is as that's the cost of speech, and it's a tough one, a terrible cost.
Doug Misicko 59:40 What people don't realize if you think you you understand what we're talking about with the Boston case, and that's obviously discrimination. But then you feel lost on this part of the dialogue. You have to realize we're talking about the same fucking thing in their minds it there's nothing different about Got it. Like, there's nothing different about saying, Yeah, but it's Church Militant. It's no different than the Boston City Council being like, Yeah, but But it's Satanists, but it's Satan. exactly who it doesn't matter. It doesn't focus on, it's not up to them to say so into, you know, even though Church Militant, you know, erroneously reported that I was a sex offender. And in probably did that willfully and intentionally, I still do not see it as appropriate for the government to issue prior restraint. If they had had their rally, they had gotten up and said, you know, that if they had talked about me, and said that I'm an exploitative, predatory pedophile or something like that, you know, I wouldn't feel that I had been corrected, and that they shouldn't, and that Baltimore should have engaged in prior restraint to keep them from speaking, I would litigate after the fact. And I would say, you know, and I would try to bring the full weight of the law against them. But you just can't allow them to stop somebody, before they've before they've even delivered their words. You can't, you can't make those assumptions. You can't, you can't go down that path. And and we shouldn't we shouldn't allow that in any case. And I hope that, you know, drawing that connection between this Boston case, and the amicus brief, on behalf of that rally, you know, begins to make sense to people and begins to make them see what it means to stand on principle.
1:01:35 Yeah, exactly. I mean, offense is all offense is deeply subjective. And I find myself struggling to communicate this sometimes, like I was once a conservative Christian, I can tell people that the disgust and offense that I felt and that other fellow Christians felt towards things like feminism and homosexuality, and quote unquote, sexual deviancy and atheism is, is a very much on par with the disgust that I now feel, and the you know, how revolting I now think Church Militant is, and I objectively think that they are, this isn't an argument for relativism, it's rather to say that the force of the feeling of disgust or insult is not in and of itself sufficient. Right? It and I sometimes feel like us, us lefties, we we become so insulated within our kind of progressive, maybe atheistic or secular notions of what's right and wrong, that, that we just have this failure of empathy. Where I
Doug Misicko 1:02:50 think a lot of people have a failure to understand principle and that, that can be seen when, you know, they, they also say to me that I don't understand what the damage can be in free speech and how this harms people who are marginalized, because I'll hear this from people who know full fucking well, but I've dealt with death threats this entire time. Yeah, that there have been people who've acted out violence burned down or you know, lit our headquarters on fire, that we've had to deal with all kinds of things that I have to that I have to live a life on the run essentially, and do everything I can to maintain my privacy for fear that somebody come to my house or whatever. And yet, they still don't recognize because they've got it in their mindset being a white sis male magically exonerates me from from any difficulties that might be that might be had here in the fact that they don't recognize a marginalized and maligned, discriminated against minority group when they see one. But they need those pointed out for them in advance before their attitude kicks in that that demands equality for all. Because, you know, Satanists might be new on the scene when it comes to fighting for civil rights. But you should be able to recognize that we are in fact, a maligned, marginalized minority group when you see it in the fact that they can't, or Anita pointed out for them shows that, you know, very little ability to stand on principle with anything.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:04:38 Yeah, we'll Well, I'm sure as soon as the Boston as soon as there's any development in Boston or do you think it's done? Do you think it's over with Boston? With the Boston City Council?
Doug Misicko 1:04:50 It's, it's not not done for us. I mean, the judge has made it clear that the judge is not going to humor any of our any Have our arguments. But you know, we're going to do the best we can to, to make as big of a public display of this. I mean, for some reason, they're anti publicity. And we're going to try to bring as much publicity to this as we can.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:05:13 Absolutely. Yeah. Well, we'll it'll be really interesting to see how this goes forward. And I'm sure we'll we'll have you on again to talk about it.
Doug Misicko 1:05:23 I don't I don't have high hopes. But I honestly think that this, you know, we're on the frontline, and we're at. And we're nearing the end of the war, you know, and we have to do everything we can. And at this point, I feel like we have to rely on an outraged public response to bring any sense of shame to the courts. Yeah. And I don't have high hopes for that. But we either try,
1:05:48 we have to try. I mean, I don't have high hopes for it, because it isn't this, you know, it isn't a far right Supreme Court. It isn't the right story right now for you know, our fellow progressives to get angry over it's it's like democratic corruption. And that's just not that's just not in vogue right now. On the left, it used to be there were so you know, it used to be very in vogue, you know, like lefties be very angry about established, there's a lot
Social media annoyances
Doug Misicko 1:06:17 of confusion, because, yeah, on the one hand, you know, there's a lot of like, fuck, the whole system is corrupt. And then mysteriously, when we get ruled against, it's like, well, you guys don't understand the law, you know, right. When When did you become such a good citizen, that you just accept a ruling handed down to you, that tells you you don't have equal rights? Right, and then you then you blame the person who tried to litigate to begin with, it's the amount of the amount of stupid I see on social media on any given day is more than the amount of stupid I feel like I used to witness in any given year,
1:06:55 you know, our mutual friend, Carrie, Poppy, she talked me into getting feed blockers for all social media. And it is like, it is the best fucking thing ever. So when I log on to Twitter, there's just a blank screen, I can still I can still see notifications, I can still you know, go and check on specific people. So you know, I go and check on you. And you know, other other say, 20 people and I have my lists on Twitter that I curate and I can follow, but the main feed is just blissfully empty. And so all all of that screaming I don't hear I don't hear any of the you know, insane, deranged, howling over whatever stupid bullshit is going on that day. I don't see any of the trends. It's beautiful. Highly recommend. It is the best. Yeah,
Doug Misicko 1:07:49 I have to check that out.
1:07:50 Yeah, I can. I can send it to you. It's great. Yeah, I'll send it to you after the conversation. All right. Well, I think that's a good note to end on. As always, I feel like we can go much longer but I I need to turn in soon. But this has been fabulous. And yeah, I'm sure we'll have you on again and we will continue this conversation. Well, anytime as you know. Absolutely. All right. Well, that is it for this show. The music is by eleventy seven the theme song is wild. You can find it on Apple Music Spotify, or wherever you listen to music This show is written produced and edited by me Steve and Bradford long and it is supported by my firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash Steven Bradford long there is also a link in the show notes if you would like to support me, and as always Hail Satan. And thanks for listening