by Patheos

Yesterday, The Satanic Temple put up an anti-corporal punishment billboard in Springtown, Texas that said “Never be hit in school again. Exercise your religious rights.” (A mockup of the ad is below.)

It was a reminder for students that they don’t need to be physically abused in public schools through the act of corporal punishment, something that is still legal in 19 states (including Texas).

It didn’t take long before vandals attacked the sign. I don’t know whether the criminals were in favor of physical abuse or just against Satanists, but that billboard is now out of commission. You can see it on top in the image below.

Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves told me he has reason to believe the vandals made at least two attempts to take down the sign, ultimately succeeding. He added:

Springtown is terribly offended at the idea of not beating their children.

The billboard will be going back up very soon.

Update: Greaves told me in an email:

You've got to appreciate the irony of someone breaking the law because they think their beliefs make them morally superior.

Lucien Greaves' full response to the Friendly Atheist was as follows:

"Early last night, we received an email from a Springtown local reporting that in under 24 hours of our anti-corporal punishment billboard going up, it had already apparently been tampered with. This came among other emails from locals or former locals reporting their own tortured experiences with corporal punishments in the Springtown schools, along with lesser known reports of administrator misconduct in the school district."

"Climbing up to the billboard is no easy task, and for one to do it twice, this indicates a certain confidence that intervention isn't to be feared. A Facebook group called "Springtown Community" gives a flavor of the attitude of the locals: beating children isn't offensive to them, the idea of The Satanic Temple questioning their enthusiasm for child-beatings is an outrage."

"The fact that assistant principal Kirt Shaw -- who's proclivities for beating the behinds of teen girls moved superintendent Mike Kelley to change the rules retroactively to Shaw's benefit, rescinding a same-sex only corporal punishment administration rule -- still works for the school doesn't offend the locals. That some interlopers would dare to direct them to the empirical data regarding corporal punishment's harm does."

"However, it's not entirely unclear why our billboard is unwelcome. In a small community which still holds 11 Christian Churches, none of which have stepped forward to oppose Springtown's ugly policy of punitive beatings for school children, it has taken an outside Satanist group to try and bring their community up to civilized, human standards. It's embarrassing, and they very well should be embarrassed. The billboard is a reminder of a brutal, archaic practice."

"The billboard, of course, will be repaired, and no number of vandalisms against it can make the problem go away. Springtown's school board needs to repeal it's corporal punishment policy. Only then does the problem truly go away."