It’s always nice to see the media pay attention to groups that are causing headaches for the Religious Right. Mark Oppenheimer of the New York Times had a piece over the weekend about The Satanic Temple, offering a few more details about the group know mostly known for its scary name and its ability to parrot religious claims in a way conservatives never intended:
Their religion, or anti-religion, has about 20 chapters and 20,000 Facebook followers, they say. With no full-time staff, the Satanic Temple has in three years achieved the kind of social media exposure usually reserved for pets in distress.
The Satanic Temple’s founders do not believe in tax exemptions for religious organizations, so have not asked for one; they also refuse to say what the Satanic Temple’s budget is. The organization has seven fundamental tenets, which the founders say are a work in progress, subject to change.
“It could be eight tomorrow, it could be six,” [co-founder Malcolm] Jarry said. The tenets include humanistic statements like “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s will alone” and “Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.”
The Satanic Temple leaders get the benefit of claiming to be a real religion. So while atheists sometimes have to strain to explain why we should be treated like other faiths in the legal system, that’s not in doubt with Satanists. And, as we’re seeing in Oklahoma and Missouri, Lucien Greaves‘ team is happy to take pages out of the Christian playbook and use it against them.
If conservative Christians want to stop the Satanists, it may ultimately require giving up some of their own privilege.