Satanists are perceived with fear and suspicion, wherever they go. The fact that the United States has recognized Satanism as a religion; does not deter obvious bias against Satanists.
While Satanists get covert attention when they are in public places; an American Airline crew member took things to the next level by threatening to de-plane a passenger dressed in a Satanist shirt; if she didn't change it.
According to a report in Buzzfeed News, the incident happened on the 30th of October, on a flight from Florida to Nevada. A crew member asked Swati Runi Goyal, a 49-year-old passenger to follow him. As they were heading for the front of the plane, Swati assumed that she was being upgraded to first class. However, she was in for a shock when the crew member told her that she would be kicked out of the plane if she didn't change her shirt.
Swati had a 'Hail Satan' shirt on at the time of the incident. According to the Buzzfeed report, Swati Goyal is a member of the Church of Satan and not a Satan worshipper. This is an atheist organization that believes that the church and the state are two separate entities and should not be mixed.
While talking to the reporter from BuzzFeed News, Goyal said, 'it's an ironic shirt. People usually laugh at it, or they give me thumbs up because they understand the meaning behind it.'
However, the crew member of the flight was not amused. The concerned crew member told Goyal that the shirt was offensive. Goyal, with her husband beside her, flatly refused to get off the plane.
The take-off was delayed by the crew. Digging their heels in, they forced the woman to change into something they perceived as appropriate. Once she covered herself with a jacket her husband gave her, the crew allowed them to get back to their seats. To make matters worse, she was not served a drink like the rest of the passengers and the crew refused to make eye contact.
Things took a downward turn after that. Swati emphasized that she was just an ordinary person. She was not a Goth. And she didn't have piercings. She further pressed the point by stating that her shirt didn't have a beheaded goat on it. She felt that since she was wearing hiking pants and vegan sneakers, she looked more nerdish than a Satanist!
Frankly, I don't understand why Goyal had to go on the defensive. Even if she was a Goth, what was the big deal? I have often worn a metal shirt on the plane and have never face censor.
To continue the story, Swati penned down a complaint to American Airlines. At first, the airline was slow to apologize. They explained that their policies do not allow their passengers to be exposed to messages or situations that they find offensive while they are on the plane.
The apology came after Goyal tweeted about the incident. 'Discrimination has no place at American Airlines,' said the spokesman. They promised to investigate the incident and get back to her.
Yes, Goyal did get a refund on the two tickets. But, to my mind, people need to make an effort to understand what we stand for, before passing judgment.