"Religious freedom applies to all"
December 3, 2014 3:07 PM   Subscribe

The Satanic Temple is a controversial religious organization whose main purpose is not to worship Satan, but to bring awareness to the varieties of religious freedom in the United States.

The spokesperson and co-founder of the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, was interviewed in 2013 about his motivation for creating the organization. When asked if the Satanic Temple is primarily a satanic or a satirical group, he responded
That is a common question. I say why can’t it be both? We are coming from a solid philosophy that we absolutely believe in and adhere to. This is Satanism, and to us it couldn’t be called anything other than Satanism. However, our metaphor of Satan is a literary construct inspired by authors such as Anatole France and Milton—a rebel angel defiant of autocratic structure and concerned with the material world. Satanism as a rejection of superstitious supernaturalism. This Satan, of course, bears no resemblance to the embodiment of all cruelty, suffering, and negativity believed in by some apocalyptic segments of Judeo-Christian culture. The word Satan has no inherent value. If one acts with compassion in the name of Satan, one has still acted with compassion. Our very presence as civic-minded socially responsible Satanists serves to satirize the ludicrous superstitious fears that the word Satan tends to evoke.
Recently, the Satanic Temple sent Satanic coloring books to the Orange County School District in Florida requesting distribution to children after a Christian organization was allowed to hand out Bibles.

The Satanic Temple also claims to be a strong believer in reproductive freedom for women. They are taking advantage of the recent Hobby Lobby ruling on religious freedom to seek a religious exemption for those who believe that women should not be forced to listen to information with no scientific basis prior to receiving an abortion.

The Satanic Temple's FAQ states in response to the question "Is this a hoax?":
So inured is the general public to the idea that there is only one monolithic voice of “the” religious agenda that any attempt at a counter-balance — or assertion of a minority voice — is often viewed as necessarily a mere targeted provocation against those who enjoy an unquestioned tacit assertion of sole squatters rights in the religio-political dialogue.
posted by Librarypt (46 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
 
Fourteen-year-old me would've cracked open this skull and eaten it right up, as everyone knows that brains give you special powers unavailable from any other source.
posted by item at 3:27 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The coloring book (PDF)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:35 PM on December 3, 2014 [13 favorites]


I unapologetically love the work these guys are doing. I'm too much of a collectivist to join, but I still support their culture-busting (joined with Americans For the Separation of Church and State, I might add).
posted by muddgirl at 3:41 PM on December 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


This is so agreeable and benign and professional looking.

Whatever. I can't fault their message at all, but this isn't the Satanism I grew up with. If anybody needs me I'll be out back, burning fat and bones for Adramelech.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:42 PM on December 3, 2014 [17 favorites]


These are also the guys behind the truly transcendent statue of children looking up lovingly at Baphomet that they're trying to get put next to a monument to the Ten Commandments in Oklahoma City.
posted by Copronymus at 3:43 PM on December 3, 2014 [19 favorites]


These are also the guys behind the truly transcendent statue of children looking up lovingly at Baphomet that they're trying to get put next to a monument to the Ten Commandments in Oklahoma City.

About those commandments....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:47 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I every now and then catch something they're doing -- the colouring book, the statue, the claim that getting an ultrasound before an abortion is against your religious beliefs -- and just think they're really great.
posted by jeather at 3:47 PM on December 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


I believe in Lucien Grieves.
Do you have another opinion?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:49 PM on December 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can certainly say their coloring book beats the methodist coloring book
posted by lumpenprole at 3:54 PM on December 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


The best ever Satanic Temple will in time both outpace and outlive you. Hail Satan.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:16 PM on December 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


HAIL SATAN! TONIGHT!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:18 PM on December 3, 2014 [8 favorites]


Nice. On the surface it's like the "Satanism" of Anton LaVey, that revolved around that adversarial character, except LaVey ("First High Priest of the Church of Satan") didn't give a damn about anyone at all, like he would support the notion of Satanic coloring books and protesting religious intrusion into abortion, but he was so decidedly self-sequestering and libertarian and Rand-ian that it was just a total 14-year-old's clusterfuck dream.

These folks sound different if only because they are active and doing things that make me smile and seem like they make the world a better place rather than hissing at it and running from it -- but I'll have to read moar.
posted by aydeejones at 5:31 PM on December 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


↻(*`ー´)ψ
posted by various at 5:34 PM on December 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


I would print this coloring book out for my child. The "messages" were incredibly benign. Now this is a Satan I can actually bring up at a parent-teacher conference.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:38 PM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Love it! Love everything about this. Satan. Taking the piss. Doing good against religious people doing bad. A tick in every box.
posted by greenhornet at 6:30 PM on December 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I love the Baphomet statue so much and want one in my town. The best we got was a beer can Festivus pole and a really cheap looking Flying Spaghetti Monster last year at the Florida Capitol building.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:41 PM on December 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is what trolling should be.
posted by happyroach at 6:44 PM on December 3, 2014 [15 favorites]


It's as if one of my late-night, stoner, "Wouldn't it be neat/cool/funny if..." conversations actually turned out to be neat/cool/funny the next day and was executed really well.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:46 PM on December 3, 2014 [3 favorites]




As an Oklahoman, let me just say Long Live Baphomet!
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 7:52 PM on December 3, 2014


I very much appreciate the efforts of the Satanic Temple to get equal treatment in government settings where one or few religious viewpoints have enjoyed privileged access. Their work makes clear the importance of government neutrality toward religions, especially for those people who are used to their own religion (or one like it) being seen as the cultural norm.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:54 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


And to think, three generations ago my great-grandfather changed his name to anglicize it so it wouldn't sound so Polish, because of the prejudice America demonstrated toward Catholicism and people from Catholic countries until after Kennedy was elected

I love this whole thing so much
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:59 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am so glad for this FPP. I have been thinking of doing an FPP on Grieves for a while, but this one is great.

Basically, everything about Satanism as they are practicing it hits me right in all my happy places: funny, righteous, irreverent, principled, anti-authoritarian, Dischordian.

That's right: the Satanic Temple gives me warm fuzzies.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:04 PM on December 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


Hail Seitan!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:06 PM on December 3, 2014


Wow, the guy behind the Satanic Temple has also been blowing open that whole Satanic Ritual Abuse / Recovered Memory craziness. This man is doing God's Work.
posted by idiopath at 8:09 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


This man is doing God's Work.

The Adversary might disagree with that. (But then, from some points of view everything is God's work (That God ... always hogging the credit.).)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:26 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Satanic Temple explicitly rejects theism and the supernatural (they don't even believe in Satan), but I couldn't pass up a chance for an ironic turn of phrase.
posted by idiopath at 8:29 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just became a member.
posted by the bricabrac man at 8:45 PM on December 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Agreed but I still want my 50 doves and an ox.
posted by clavdivs at 8:57 PM on December 3, 2014


This is the sort of Satanism I can really get behind. None of the Ayn Rand crossed with paganism crap. Just being the Devil's Advocate everywhere.
posted by Hactar at 9:19 PM on December 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Relevant (awesome) Cracked.com piece : 6 Compelling Reasons to Consider Switching to Satan
posted by evil otto at 9:36 PM on December 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


We're in the process of dealing with a "Good News Club" in our kid's elementary school. At a recent meeting of like minds we discussed the Satanic Temple's involvement in Florida. So, so, so great. Hope someday they're ubiquitous.
posted by rouftop at 10:49 PM on December 3, 2014


From the article linked by muddgirl, referring to the Florida state house display:
At that point, Florida might like to argue that the temple’s quest is really just a ruse, a ploy to bring attention to the absurdity of state-sponsored religion. But the state will be barred by Supreme Court precedent from making such an argument—thanks, once again, to a conservative ruling. In the recent Hobby Lobby case, the court considered the claims of Christians who said they believed that IUDs cause abortions, even though they emphatically do not. The court’s five conservatives refused to even consider the plaintiffs’ sincerity, simply taking it on faith that their protestations were genuine.
If I had friends who made me the godfather of one of their kids, I think I would first get them their own church, and then their own LLC. Seems like the best way to get the maximum number of rights these days is to be both a corporation and a religion.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:04 PM on December 3, 2014 [9 favorites]


These guys warm my black little heart.
posted by malocchio at 8:00 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've never wanted to be a Satanist as much as I do now. Imagine if all religions promoted intelligent, thoughtful discourse and actively fought stupid superstition.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


What a wonderful world it would be.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:27 PM on December 4, 2014


I find it exceedingly ironic that the Church of Satan can make headway and inroads where atheists have failed.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Letters to a Satanist, a blog by Lucien Greaves.

I find it exceedingly ironic that the Church of Satan can make headway and inroads where atheists have failed.

The Satanic Temple is actually unrelated to the Church of Satan, which has tried very hard to distance itself from all other varieties of Satanism.
posted by Librarypt at 3:39 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I find it exceedingly ironic that the Church of Satan can make headway and inroads where atheists have failed.

As noted in the Florida article, atheist organizations have won similar equal access for displays. The FFRF has done so in Madison and the Seattle Atheists put on what is my favorite non-Christian holiday capitol grounds display:
In this holiday season let us remember that kindness, charity and goodwill transcend belief, creed or religion. Happy Holidays, Seattle Atheists
(image)

What I find interesting is that the Orange County schools, where the atheists eventually won a tolerated-minority status in the literature distribution program, found the Satanists to be minority too far.
Chairman Bill Sublette stated earlier this month that things have "gotten out of hand."
posted by audi alteram partem at 3:49 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


As noted in the Florida article, atheist organizations have won similar equal access for displays.

That happened here in Santa Monica with the traditional nativity displays, but then some Christians sued (and lost) and the city decided it was easier to scrap the displays entirely rather than deal with different groups applying for the spots. In other words, a win.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:49 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I find it exceedingly ironic that the Church of Satan can make headway and inroads where atheists have failed.

Say what you will about the tenets of Satanism, at least it's an ethos!
posted by evil otto at 12:29 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Satanic Temple is actually unrelated to the Church of Satan,...

Good catch. I meant the Satanic Temple.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:06 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Even the Satanists are getting into the "Original Baptist Church of God, or Reformed Baptist Church of God" thing.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2014


These maleficarum must be using their dark magic to influence the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on December 22, 2014


I'll take the Satanic Temple over the Knights of Columbus any day.
posted by homunculus at 1:47 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Update: the display has been vandalized.
posted by idiopath at 4:37 PM on December 23, 2014


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