Lucien Greaves responds to the Church of Satan, and it’s a lame response

So it appears that Douglas Misicko (might as well drop the formality of calling him Lucien Greaves) has responded to the article put out by the Church of Satan pertaining certain facts regarding the Satanic Temple and its formation. This will be a point by point response to the article in question. As with the last post I will leave a link to the article at the end of the post. I will also leave a link to the Church of Satan’s article again at the end of the post as well as a show of good faith. Like last time, I must stress that this is going to be a long ass post, as is necessary to cover all of the main points, in fact, you’ll find that it’s even longer than the last post, so buckle up if you want to read this one.

Anyhow, without any foreplay, let’s do this.

Yesterday, the Church of Satan released a so-called “fact sheet” related to The Satanic Temple. While I typically don’t reply to the insults and laughable claims of exclusive authenticity put forward by the CoS, this fact-sheet is so egregiously cherry-picked, willfully misinformed, and outright false, that it demands correction. Most of the “facts” on the fact sheet seem to suggest that the author believes that because The Satanic Temple (TST) began with lower ambitions, and that because TST wasn’t originally conceived to be a centrally governed international religious organization, it somehow still isn’t, and the original concept must still be the “real” TST.

You seem like a capable mind reader, being able guess the author’s true intentions. Of course, not really, but don’t let that spoil you. But your ambitions were different, and I would argue they could well be described as “lower” than your current ambitions. What is a generic secular protest movement against George W Bush compared to a campaign to build an entire “religious” movement around a form of Satanism that doesn’t like the actual Satanism in order to take America by storm? That said, I’m not entirely sure where you get the idea that accusations are cherry-picked, willfully misinformed or outright false. The corroboration for these claims is out there and they’ve put it in the article.

In fact, we’ve been quite open in interviews regarding the origins of TST, and neither me nor TST’s other co-founder had the audacity to imagine in the beginning that TST could be what it is today. We wanted an active and relevant Satanism, one that would do exactly the things that TST are doing presently. We didn’t need an organization to tell us how to think, how to properly be “true” Satanists, or as a mere social club in which we could construct ourselves into the highest ranks of a false hierarchy. We wanted an organization that served a mission statement and pursued organizational goals. Of course, we didn’t have one, and the idea of constructing one from the ground up seemed a lofty delusion, but we had plenty of ideas of what such an organization would do.

As we will go on to explore later on in the article, the part about you wanting any kind of Satanism simply isn’t true. You’re using Satanism as a costume for your own ends, but you don’t even give a shit about the Satanic Bible enough to make it a core part of your teachings, much less insist that people who ascended the ranks of your organization know anything about it.

Also, you give people fancy titles like High Priest or Reverend in your organization, per Brian Werner’s testimony. You are in no position to complain about the evils of hierarchy. And, constructing missions statements from the ground up is a lofty delusion now? There’s a politician out there who almost become Prime Minister in the Netherlands on the back of a one page manifesto. What’s your excuse?

Without membership and without any desire to recruit or convert, we imagined that we would demonstrate Satanic activism ourselves, putting small-scale campaigns to film, and that those films (or that film) would inspire others to fly the banner of The Satanic Temple and take up similar Satanic causes. The idea was that — with various competing concepts in Modern Satanism — TST would be a unifying umbrella without a central authority, that would be defined by its activism for secularism and against Satan Panic witch-hunts, for pluralism and against theocratic encroachments into the public square. We imagined TST would be more like Anonymous in its decentralized activities than anything resembling the international religious movement it’s become. But while TST changed, our deeply-held beliefs and identification as Satanists — which predated TST — never did.

That’s a funny of saying you went out of your way to make a satirical documentary for what was intended to be a fake religion, a fictitious Satanic cult modeled after theistic Satanist ideals rather than the dolled up atheism you call your current theology. You still seem to see your organization as focusing on political activism with political goals, and honestly, that you compare yourself to Anonymous is, for me at least, not to your credit (read: Anonymous is a joke).

And at this point he starts talking about the specific points raised in the article.

The “fact sheet” begins by saying “The Satanic Temple is a self described ‘Yes Men’ styled satire/activist group that uses satanic-themed imagery and language to get media and public attention.” Already, the piece flatly lies to its readers. The “Yes Men” parallel refers to an interview I did in Vice when I talked about the style of activism, but I was also very clear that we’re very much a religious organization with sincere beliefs, nor is the “use” of “satanic-themed imagery and language” a mere ploy “to get media and public attention.” As I said in the interview, “I believe that where reason fails to persuade, satire and mockery prevail. Whereas many religious groups seem to eschew humor, we embrace it.”

Well it’s not flatly lying to the readers, actually. You’re a culture jamming movement. You troll people or institutions that promote Christianity in a public capacity, and you as you admitted, openly admit to embracing satire as a means of activism. That’s why you’re comparable to the Yes Men. Because the two of you are, in spirit at least, doing the same thing.

The fact sheet then goes on to claim that we don’t have any deeply-held beliefs. This is a perplexing statement, clearly and provably untrue, that leads one to wonder if the author couldn’t be moved to check our website or various legal suits (argued, as they are, as a defense of our clearly stated deeply-held beliefs).

It’s one thing to throw what you think your beliefs are out there for all to see, but that on its own doesn’t mean much. Your actions are important to the world than your arguments ever could be, which isn’t to say that you’ve never actually acted on your beliefs. You know what, that’s one credit I’ll give to you here. Fair play.

Then we get into “the facts”:

 

  1. In 2013, Spectacle Films ran ads looking to cast characters for a mockumentary about a fake religion, that film was to be titled “The Satanic Temple” — the casting director was listed as “Lucien Greaves.” [newsbusters.org | doubtfulnews.com | miamiherald.typepad.com | ritualabuse.us]

 

The first public appearance TST ever made was in a rally in support of Florida Governor Rick Scott as he signed a bill allowing for prayer in school. The cheering evangelists, we knew, would think twice if Satanists applauded their increased “liberty.” This, of course, was when we wanted to inspire Satanists to take on causes that would help preserve and expand their personal liberties, but we had no membership. While there was a casting call to try and populate the rally, the “fact sheet” flatly lies when it states that ads were ran “for a mockumentary about a fake religion.” Satanism was never treated as or regarded to be a “fake religion” by TST.

You had no membership but somehow had enough people to hold a mock rally “supporting” Rick Scott. Yeah, I’ll believe that. But seriously, when you say “Satanism was never treated as or regarded to be a “fake religion” by TST”, you’re being disingenuous. The fake religion isn’t Satanism. It’s the fictitious sect *of* Satanism that’s fake, or was at first. Or maybe the sect being fake was just an elaborate hoax as well. Satanism is not you people, you have to understand that.

By the way, this still doesn’t convince me that you’re not out to troll evangelical Christians, just saying. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, other than the fact that you’re being dishonest about it.

  1. Launched in 2013, The Satanic Temple’s (TST) website claimed to believe in and worship a literal Satan. The TST trademark filing contains documents that have these claims as well. [web.archive.org | bizapedia.com]

False. Under the original limited conception of TST, the activism was primary, not narrowly-defined concepts of what Satanism is imagined to be universally for all people. To that end, we didn’t put a fine point upon our beliefs, but in one segment of the website we spoke of our non-supernaturalism in theological terms. “God” is consigned to the supernatural, thus removed from the real world and outside of our area of belief and/or interest. Satan is emblematic of critical discourse and scientific exploration. By the logic of the CoS’s own “fact sheet” we could also conclude that Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible, which they take a fundamentalist pride in upholding as the one true definition of Satanism, is a decidedly theistic text for the abuse it heaps upon the character of “God.”

To quote the section of your website the article was talking about:

The Satanic Temple believes that God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that he cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm. Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy. Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical. In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.

So God creating Satan to rule over the universe as his proxy with the compassion and wisdom of an angel is just a metaphor for critical discourse and scientific discourse, rather than basically a rehashing of Gnostic and Yazidi beliefs that exists to play into the role of a fictitious theistic sect? This sounds like an utterly post-hoc rationalization of a statement you put out 4 years ago as part of the act.

Also, by your logic, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, three of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism, are theists as well, on the grounds that they talk about the character of God as an utterly malignant and tyrannical personality. Is this really the point you intend to make? Anyone with an anti-theist sentiment is really a theist simply by dint of talking about God in a negative light, all because you don’t like that the Church of Satan put out a statement from your website that is decidedly theistic in character?

  1. TST Co-founder Malcolm Jarry (not his real name) has stated that TST was originally conceived as a backlash to US President Bush-era “religious protections.” [nytimes.com]

Well, why not? In the George W. Bush era it became quite apparent that other religions needed to challenge Christian exceptionalism. It is unclear what this “fact” is attempting to establish. Again, an organization should serve an organizational purpose

So, just to be clear, you’re essentially admitting that’s what it is. You aren’t refuting anything here, in fact you’ve ceded this point to the Church of Satan. You basically admitted here that your original purpose was political activism.

  1. Now credited as co-founder and spokesperson, “Lucien Greaves” is in fact a character that has been played by several people, including an unnamed actor, Shane Bugbee and currently by Doug Mesner (not his real name). Shane Bugbee was paid by Spectacle Films for his work with TST. There is a yet unnamed 3rd TST co-founder. [shanebugbee.com]

False. There is not a word of truth to this entire statement. Nobody has “played” Lucien Greaves. Lucien Greaves is a pseudonym I used, and still use, as it was hoped I could retain some protective layer of anonymity when challenging religious zealots who threaten harm and death upon me. Incidentally, “Anton LaVey,” too, was a pseudonym. There is no 3rd co-founder, Shane Bugbee never “played the role” of Lucien Greaves, nor was he ever paid for doing so. The only evidence of this that the “fact sheet” provides is a personal blog, leading one to wonder if the CoS will begin citing Satanic Panic “ritual abuse” paranoiacs in their desperation to discredit us. (They get there at point 9.)

This would be believable if you presented any concrete proof of that statement. Now it is true that the primary evidence for this claim is a personal blog, but where’s your proof exactly? Have you any proof that Shane is lying? Also, it is quite something that you compare just citing Shane’s personal blog to citing an SRA believer. It shows how low you value Shane’s word. And here I thought you were friends.

  1. In a 2013 Vice interview “Doug Mesner” says that TST is satire and states that it is “like a darker Yes Men.”  [vice.com]

 

It’s amazing that the author of the “fact sheet” managed to bypass or fail to understand the entire surrounding text of the interview. It was as follows:

 

VICE: Is the Satanic Temple a satanic, or a satirical group?

 

Doug: 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[emphasis added]. 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.

 

Reminds me of a darker version of the Yes Men.

 

Yes. Just as the Yes Men use very catching theatrical ploys to draw attention to a progressive agenda, we play upon people’s irrational fears in a way that hopefully causes them to reevaluate what they think they know, redefine arbitrary labels, and judge people for their concrete actions. I believe that where reason fails to persuade, satire and mockery prevail. Whereas many religious groups seem to eschew humor, we embrace it.

In the first part of the segment of the interview you quoted, you do indeed attempt to pass yourself off as a sincere form of Satanism. But as soon as Shane had you pegged as a Yes Men style group, you essentially admitted that, yes, you are employing the same satire as them and for political activism.

  1. In a 2014 Village Voice article “Malcolm Jerry” is outed as the filmmaker Cevin Soling, owner of Spectacle Films.  [villagevoice.com].

 

There’s no point in this “fact” other than a low attempt at “doxxing.”

Except it’s not. Putting an article out that was already released 3 years ago with the name there is a strange form of revealing someone’s private information yourself (that’s what doxing is by the way, which he also doesn’t seem to know how to spell properly) if you ask me. More to the point he doesn’t seem to be refuting this point at all. Why doesn’t he just show how Malcolm Jarry isn’t actually Cevin Soling and that Shane Bugbee and the Church of Satan are lying instead of just attack the morality of the information being put in the article and going no further from there?

  1. Spectacle Films has documented most major TST public events. [duckduckgo.com]

 

False. This isn’t true, nor does the citation support the claim. The idea for an activist film that would inspire grassroots identification with a non-centralized TST was abandoned very early in our history, after the Rick Scott rally, when we soon began organizing real adherents to our philosophy who wished to work directly with us in building the formidable institution we’ve become.

To your credit, Joel Ethan could have just put links to specific articles rather than just a link to search engine. But if you click the link you’d find that claim isn’t strictly true. Spectacle Films was there for your adopt-a-highway campaign, as well as the Pink Mass where you held a gay wedding over the grave site of Fred Phelp’s mother, not to mention the Rick Scott rally. These were pretty high profile events for your group.

  1. 10 years before TST, “Doug Mesner” produced illustrations for an edition of Might Is Right, published by Shane Bugbee (who was a Church of Satan member at the time) with an introduction by Anton LaVey, founder of the CoS, and afterword by Peter H. Gilmore, current High Priest of the CoS. Originally published in 1890, Might Is Right is cited and paraphrased in LaVey’s 1969 book The Satanic Bible, which is universally accepted by religious scholars as the founding document of the religion Satanism. In the following years “Mesner” would often appear on Radio Free Satan, an internet radio show closely connected to the CoS. [archive.org | shanebugbee.com | cimminneeholt.com]

It is really unclear why this “fact” is included, as it seems to contradict everything that the “fact sheet” itself attempts to establish, which prior to this point in the “fact sheet” seemed to be the notion that TST and myself have no real attachment to Satanism. What we see here is acknowledgment that long before TST I did, in fact, familiarize myself with a wide variety of Satanist identifiers. Was this just thrown in as a way to merely not ignore it, and in an effort to pretend that the author confronted any dissonance it may provoke?

To me it suggests that you did have an interest in Satanism at a certain point, but it is evident to me that, at a later point, you rejected Satanic philosophy because of its decided non-egalitarian outlook, which was influenced by Ragnar Redbeard. What they are acknowledging is not what you are, but what you used to be.

  1. The original TST website listed Neil Bricke as the founder. This was apparently a smear campaign that was removed a few months later, as Neil Bricke is actually the founder of SMART, who has had a longstanding public feud with “Doug Mesner,” an alias used since the mid 1990’s by Douglas Misicko. [ritualabuse.us | returntothepit.com | ritualabuse.us | web.archive.org]

Neil Brick claims to believe that he was a brain-washed Illuminati supersoldier who was abused by Satanists/the CIA/Freemasons only to completely “repress” the memories of those episodes and recall them later. This is the “fact sheet’s” source, and the CoS now seems to object to the very idea of this anti-Satanist’s alleged mistreatment.

How the hell is this a refutation of their claim? I get it. Neil Brick is an unreliable source. In fact, I talked about two articles you wrote in the last post I did to show how crazy Neil Brick and his SMART organization is, which I did to your credit to show that you are correct. But how the whole does that make this particular claim incorrect? You didn’t address the veracity of the evidence in any way other than by saying he has terrible opinions. Imagine if someone like me rejected the claims in one of your sources solely on the grounds that it’s a left-wing rag like The Independent. You’d probably call me out for it, no? It seems to me that you can’t actually refute the claim being brought because you know it’s actually true. I mean you could have just said you did it as a joke or something to that effect and it wouldn’t be so bad.

  1. “The Satanic Temple” is a registered Trademark of United Federation of Churches LLC, which is listed as registered to Douglas Misicko, 519 Somerville Ave., No 288, Somerville, MA 02143-3238. Reason Alliance LTD is a religious non-profit also registered to Douglas Misicko at the same address. [bizapedia.com | bizapedia.com/ma/united-federation-of-churches-llc.html | irsexempt.com | taxexemptworld.com]

It seems that some people, never entering into the real world battle for the protection of individual rights, advocating for Satanists, are not aware of the dangers of having one’s name and address published. Or, they merely try to “dox” those whom they feel are upstaging them.

Again, you aren’t being doxed in this instance. The links posted in their article consist only of information that is publicly available on the Internet. Joel Ethan didn’t steal your personal information out from under you or anything like that. If the Church of Satan did do that, I would actually be taking your side on this issue. But they didn’t. And again, you haven’t refuted a damn thing. All you’ve done is attack the claim on the grounds that you think it’s a morally bad claim. Almost as if you can’t actually show how the evidence being put forward is false.

  1. Reason Alliance LTD paid bills for, and provided 501c3 documentation in support of, TST’s After School Satan Club in Seattle, however their own website claims they do not believe religious organizations should be tax exempt. [judicialwatch.org | judicialwatch.org | freebeacon.com | afterschoolsatan.com]

This point seems to indicate that the author of the “fact sheet” is unaware of how organizations operate and the difference between a standard 501c3 and a religious tax exemption. In fact, we are an LLC with a 501c3 where donors can contribute. Some activities, such as running an after-school club, sometimes require the endorsement of a 501c3. Here again, the “fact sheet” uses bad citation, this time from an evangelical right wing watchdog group whose articles about TST’s After School Satan Club and its alleged “fast-tracking” by the IRS were debunked by both Snopes.com and Forbes. The Forbes article also describes the utility of the Reason Alliance, if the CoS is still confused regarding how active organizations operate.

Judicial Watch literally had the documentation for tax-exempt status on its website. The evidence was right in front of you. But once again you try to say that it’s a “bad source”, this time because it’s apparently a right-wing political group. You don’t seem to understand that, in this case, the “evangelical right wing” watchdog group is a correct on the basis that they have the evidence. And you can’t even refute that you didn’t. You just dismiss Judicial Watch because of their political affiliations, but not before rationalizing your decision to apply for tax-exempt status, meanwhile, as CoS points out, you literally stated on the After School Satan website that you don’t believe organizations like yours should be tax-exempt. You believe yourselves to be a religious movement, and you believe that religious organizations should not be tax-exempt. Therefore, filing for tax exemption is hypocritical. It’s that simple.

  1. Original TST “High Priest” Brian Werner states in his 2014 resignation video that TST is a political organization that has nothing to do with Satanism. Werner claims the actual people behind TST have no interest in or connection with Satanism, a claim echoed by Bugbee. [youtube.com | shanebugbee.com]

False. Werner objected to the specific type of politicization he saw in TST, but he never denied that I’m Satanist. He also objected that there were some in TST who have no care at all about what the Satanic Bible by LaVey says (as it’s not in our canon), but Werner doesn’t believe the CoS to be a credible Satanic organization either. The CoS’s general worthlessness is also echoed by Bugbee who had his membership revoked by the CoS in 2006.

Doug, are you dense? The fact that you appointed people to the status of chapter heads (apparently without a vote by the way) who had no interest in the philosophy of The Satanic Bible, coupled with the fact you just admitted that The Satanic Bible is not in your canon is precisely what is meant when CoS says you have nothing to do with Satanism. Why would you let people ascend the organizational ranks who aren’t Satanists nor have any knowledge of Satanism, or admit people who aren’t even Satanists, unless you have fuck all to do with Satanism. The fact that Brian Werner and Shane Bugbee neither associate with nor support the Church of Satan does not change this fact. It’s almost whataboutery.

  1. TST spokespeople are on record saying you do not have to be a Satanist to join TST, you simply need to support their political efforts. [brokeassstuart.com]

False. It says, right there in the citation provided, that our After School Satan Club received numerous applications from would-be teachers for our clubs who were not self-identified Satanists, but deeply invested in helping us combat the encroachment of evangelicals into public schools.

That is the opposite of the claim being false. Not to mention, it says, right fucking there, from their own mouths “you don’t even need to be a Satanist to join The Satanic Temple”. The only way for the claim to be false, strictly speaking, is if it never actually says that anywhere in the blog post, and that’s just not true.

  1. The Oklahoma 10 Commandments monument case was won by ACLU representing two Christians opposed to the monument. TST and its Baphomet monument were not involved with the case, however they claimed victory publicly, an intentionally confusing narrative picked up by many media outlets. This tactic has become MO for the TST. [acluok.org]

This is a bizarre statement. We never claimed a victory of our own in court when the 10 Commandments came down, but we did celebrate a victory for the 1st Amendment. In fact, we coordinated our plans for a lawsuit and our messaging to the public during the OK 10 Commandments dispute with the ACLU. We’ll never know to what degree the State Supreme Court considered that any ruling for the 10 Commandments needed to be equally applied to our bid to erect Baphomet, but many reasonably feel it was certainly a consideration. It’s difficult to understand how this “narrative” confuses the CoS.

Except you did. You claimed the removal of the monument was a victory for you, even though all you did was generate media publicity. Unless you did any fighting in that case, you won nothing, and the ACLU has won nothing for you. It’s one thing to say you coordinated you plans for a lawsuit, but you know what would be even better? Showing that you actually went through the troubling of suing someone. But of course you can’t.

The “fact sheet” then summarizes by saying that I claim “no shared lineage with the Church of Satan, though he was publicly associated with many Church of Satan members and projects in the decade before The Satanic Temple launched.” This, too, is flatly and provably false. Even in the Vice piece that the “fact sheet” cherry-picks from I speak of LaVey as a starting point from which we evolved Satanism into a relevant and productive religious movement. I have spoken about this at length in many interviews, including a recent one with Haute Macabre (http://hautemacabre.com/2017/06/never-let-your-activism-be-artless-an-interview-with-lucien-greaves-of-the-satanic-temple/).

It would be myopic to repeat to myself on this point, so I’ll just say that you can say all you like that you started from LaVey’s philosophy, but in reality you abandoned every aspect of it that did not align with your political goals. It is obvious to anyone who is familiar with the philosophy of Satanism, and in fact you admit that you consider LaVey’s original philosophy incompatible with your perspective. Also, in the interview you posted, you try to claim that Satanism is about equality. Only your belief system is. LaVey, by contrast, believed equality was a myth. One need only look at his Pentagonal Revisionism program to learn that. In fact, he believed that death is the closest that humans can get to any real equality, and even then he thought some people made better corpses than others.

We then see an unconvincing attempt to justify this petty and undignified public temper tantrum with the claim that “it’s important for an understanding of what is and what is not Satanism to be maintained. “The Satanic Panic” in the 1980s-90s is evidence of a willful distortion of this religion as the concept of a conspiracy of murderous ‘satanists’ was promoted primarily by evangelical Christians and taken-up by the media worldwide. Law enforcement debunked the claims of the evangelists but not before many people had become victims of false accusations of ritual child abuse, sacrifice, and kidnapping.”

Apparently, this “understanding” can only be gained by dogged insistence that only the website of the CoS defines Satanism. This is particularly infuriating as TST, unlike the CoS, has been actively fighting against the Satanic Panic which still exists, nor is it “promoted primarily by evangelical Christians.” One need only look at our Grey Faction campaign to recognize that actively fighting back against anti-Satanist propagandists is one of the primary functions of TST.

I will admit that the Church of Satan is notoriously dogmatic and obtuse on the issue of what Satanism is, believing that because they started Satanism they are the only people who can decide what Satanism is. But still, at least they, or rather Anton LaVey, gave us the basic tenets of Satanism that any Satanist, whether pro-CoS are not, atheist or theist, can agree upon as a matter of principle, for they are the backbone of everything we value. Your contributions to rationalism and skepticism will not change the fact that what you believe simply isn’t Satanic, you are just using Satanism as a costume for your activism. And you citing this in an attempt to get one over on the Church of Satan is pathetic, particularly given your taste for refuting their claims through moralfagging rather than presenting indisputable proof of them being false.

Also, I think you misread the “promoted primarily by evangelical Christians” part. They are saying that this is, at least historically speaking, the main source of the idea of SRA conspiracy theories, though I personally would include a media prone to sensationalism as another primary source.

As irritating as all this willful misrepresentation is, it also calls into question the CoS author’s understanding of the CoS’s own history. Some readers may find this article illuminating: http://www.maryellenmark.com/text/magazines/rolling%20stone/920S-000-004.html

The article you quoted is a reminder of the complexities of LaVey’s own personal belief system. But, I think the argument could also be made that he might be metaphorical. He could be speaking of magical things, and he appears to take coincidences with some level of seriousness or enthusiasm, but, at least after 1975, he was pretty much an atheist.

On the whole, Douglas’ response was a response I find to be lacking in substance. It fails to address the evidence right in front of him, and he seems incapable of being straight about what seems to be evident about the past. The late rationalizations, moralfagging about publicly available information, and pearl-clutching over sources made this a frankly pathetic read in which I found myself losing patience for Douglas Misicko.

I brought up this point last time, but as a mild tangent I think it’s worth repeating as a closer: the fact that Tucker Carlson didn’t take the time to actually look at this shit before he talked to Misicko in either of the interviews he did with him makes me think he’s really not as clever as he’s made out to be. He, or whoever writes his notes, is surely capable of finding these pieces of information about Douglas, and he might well have used some of them to put him in a corner when he would be forced to give the game away. But he didn’t, and for that I will be eternally disappointed.


Lucien Greaves’ response to the Church of Satan: https://luciengreaves.com/correcting-the-church-of-satan-fact-sheet/

The Church of Satan’s fact sheet: http://www.churchofsatan.com/the-satanic-temple-fact-sheet.php

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A history of Satanic Temple shenanigans

Oh boy, have I got a treat for you. The Church of Satan released an article on their Twitter, a fact sheet about The Satanic Temple, written by Reverend Joel Ethan, outlining evidence for The Satanic Temple being a parody activist group, in their words, “a self described “Yes Men” styled satire/activist group that uses satanic-themed imagery and language to get media and public attention”. For those who perhaps don’t know what Ethan is talking about, the Yes Men are an activist group that impersonates high profile individuals, particularly the heads or spokespeople from major corporations, and creates fake, satirical websites to impersonate the web pages of individuals and/or corporations they dislike in order to raise awareness about various social issues that they’re concerned with.

What I intend to do with this post is explore the points raised by the Church of Satan in-depth, to explain the important details and why they add up. There’s fourteen points in the article so I will probably have to truncate my analysis for each of them. Either way this is going be another very long post, and I will leave the link to the article by Joel Ethan at the end of this post. By clicking that link, you can access all of Ethan’s sources for yourself and draw your own conclusion.

First, Ethan states that The Satanic Temple began as a film project, specifically as a fictitious Satanic cult set to appear in a mockumentary movie entitled, funny enough, The Satanic Temple, centering around “the nicest Satanic cult in the world”. There was apparently hoax involved surrounding The Satanic Temple’s alleged support for Florida Governer Rick Scott, which the Miami Herald revealed was essentially a publicity stunt, the true purpose of which has never been revealed by the group’s founder, Lucien Greaves, who himself was also the casting director for the movie. What’s interesting about this is that if you were to perform a search of The Satanic Temple’s Rick Scott rally on the Internet, you’ll find that this mock rally was reported by many mainstream news outlets as a bunch of Satanists seemingly expressing genuine support for Rick Scott’s “religious freedom” policies, when it was a stunt.

During this time, it appears the organization was also billed as having a belief in a literal Satan, to quote from their webpage from years ago:

The Satanic Temple believes that God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that he cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm. Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy. Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical. In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.

Hail Satan!

You read this doctrine any way you want, but to my mind this does not necessarily suggest that Lucien Greaves intended the organization to be a theistic Satanist group. Remember that they started out as a satirical religion for a mockumentary. It’s reasonable to assume then that this statement of belief is not, in fact, a genuine statement of doctrine, but a part of the act. Curiously enough, however, among the documents contained within The Satanic Temple’s trademark filing, one of them makes, alongside this statement, the following statement:

The Satanist harbors reasonable agnosticism in all things, holding fast only to that which is demonstrably true. The cultural narratives through which we contextualize our lives must be malleable to conformity with our best scientific understandings of the material world… Those understandings, in turn, must never be so rigidly codified as to themselves be inflexible to advancements yet unknown. Thus, Satanism is an evolving religion, unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times. Belief must reconstruct itself to fact, not the other way around. This is the Luciferian impulse to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, even (and especially) when to do so irretrievably dissipates blissful and comforting delusions of old. That which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise.

Sound familiar? It sounds a lot more like The Satanic Temple we know today than the belief in a literal Satan serving as Man’s conduit, on behalf of God no less, to the point of seeming like a contradiction, perhaps even a more sincere statement of belief that the former statement about God. In fact the first half of that statement can be found on the IndieGogo page for their Adopt-a-Highway campaign (which incidentally seems to have failed to reach its goal of $15,000).

Then there’s Malcolm Jarry, the co-founder. You might remember him from the post I wrote about him where I took him to task over the concept of “Jewish Satanism”. In a New York Times article dated to July 2015, Jarry states openly that the original idea for the movement was as a secular activist response to George W. Bush’s creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, a US government office created to support religious organizations. He envisioned The Satanic Temple not as a genuine expression of Satanic philosophy, albeit one at odds with the Church of Satan’s ideas to an extent, but as a protest movement against George W Bush’s religious conservatism, well before discussion about religious freedom was as big as it was in the 2010’s. He and Lucien had been planning for something like this for apparently a long time, presumably waiting for the opportunity to get started.

But there’s another interesting aspect to this story as well. It seems that the artist and former high priest of the Church of Satan Shane Bugbee appears to have exposed Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry back in 2014. Writing for VICE Magazine (ordinarily not my favorite source for journalism, let’s just say), Bugbee revealed that a man named Doug Mesner approached him at his home asking for a copy of a republished edition of Might Makes Right by Ragnar Redbeard, the very same book that he would later go on to denounce over its apparently racist content and from there complained about Anton LaVey’s views about social stratification, meritocracy and egalitarianism. How’s that for an irony? He later produced illustrations for the book and, in 2002, Shane Bugbee did a radio show with Doug where they discussed that very same book. Doug is also recounted by Bugbee as having been introduced to many intellectuals at Harvard University, some of whom he apparently later exposed as frauds. He also recounts of how he, apparently, would insult and harass alleged survivors of ritual abuse. Bugbee also revealed in a separate blog post that he was asked to take the role of someone named Lucien Greaves, implying that Lucien Greaves was, at the time, not a person so much as a persona or a character utilized by The Satanic Temple for their purposes, the role of whom was eventually taken on by Doug Mesner himself. As for Malcolm Jarry, according to Bugbee he is actually a man named Cevin Soling, who also happens to be the owner of, Spectacle Films, the studio that was working on The Satanic Temple mockumentary and have also documented their adopt-a-highway campaign. Interestingly enough, simple searching for Cevin Soling will show you that the same man who owns Spectacle Studios is also an alternative rock musician and an advocate for the abolition of public schools, which he thinks are brainwashing American children, and got interviewed by Stephen Colbert about his film The War on Kids. He also identifies Cevin as one of two rich kids financing The Satanic Temple, the other being a man named David Guinan, who is apparently director at a company called Arise Media.

Going back to Mesner, it’s in the same VICE article authored by Shane Bugbee that Doug Mesner outright admitted to starting The Satanic Temple as a dark religious take on the Yes Men, as well as a “poison pill” in the debate over the proximity between church and state in America.

So far I’m getting a picture of how back in the early days of The Satanic Temple, and perhaps even well before its foundation, that this was not intended as a serious religious movement at all, but rather as a satirical political activist movement with clear political goals in mind. I must say, if only Tucker Carlson had actually done that amount of research into Lucien Greaves and The Satanic Temple before the two terrible interviews he did with Lucien Greaves, then maybe he would have actually got one over on Lucien Greaves instead of practically whining about how Satanism as a whole is not a real religion because he’s a Christian but hey; I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. Jarry also proves to be an interesting character. If Shane Bugbee is correct and Malcolm Jarry is indeed Cevin Soling, then from the outset this seems like a man who is strongly invested in social activism, and one of his main themes seems to be children and public education, and apparently gay marriage and abortion if the Times of Israel is anything to go by. So a very politically-minded, noticeably liberal and left-leaning political themes, which if you’ve ever looked into The Satanic Temple seems to be one of the main themes of the organization. What’s also fascinating is that, around 2013, you’ll notice that Doug is fairly chill about the fact that he’s not very serious about this and it’s actually just a satirical group, whereas in later years in almost looks like he and his cohorts are taking this project more seriously. So is it a case of do they believe their own hype now, or is this still part of an act, just that instead of being simply satirical they intend it as a much more serious political movement?

Now, the next thing brought up is the bizarre fact that the website for The Satanic Temple seemed originally to list the founder not as Doug Mesner/Lucien Greaves, but instead a man named Neil Brick, the head of an organization called SMART, which claims to publish information about stories of ritual abuse. Apparently Doug Mesner and Neil Brick had a falling out over the subject of ritual abuse. I’m guessing Doug put Neil’s name there as prank gesture? By the way, Neil Brick’s SMART organization seems to get into some interesting shit, at least according to Doug in his article on a website he runs called The Process Is. Just read this section from an article he wrote about them. This is from when he visited a SMART conference in 2009.

The S.M.A.R.T conferences are an opportunity for the victims of the satanic conspiracy to exchange their horrific tales, offer support to one another and, most importantly “just be believed”.   Victims are encouraged to bring an accompanying “support person”, as much of the material covered in the 2-day series of talks is considered to be “triggering” (that is to say, it may cause flashbacks in the similarly traumatized).

Does that sound familiar? Because to me it sounds like an SJW or far-left conference about misogyny and rape. It sounds like Hillary Clinton and scores of modern feminists ranting about how people who tell you they were raped should just be automatically believed even in the absence of credible evidence. It sounds like the Alex Jones-inspired equivalent of a Tumblr convention. And here I was beginning to doubt horseshoe theory. Not to mention, What. the fuck. is this shit?

“We could all decide [Satanic Ritual Abuse] isn’t really true”, LaBrier announced, provoking no real discernible response from the crowd.  She admits that she could pass off her “recovered memories” as “hallucinations”.  But then, “the events [of the past] are not important to me anymore”.  Their only significance is in “what they mean to me in my evolution as a human being.”  Indeed, she will conform reality to her beliefs rather than the other way round.  As she recalls warning possible skeptics at a talk she delivered to an Indiana University class, “Don’t you ever question my reality!

You know I think I can see the problem Doug might have had with such a gaggle of conspiracy theories. Particularly when, according an article he posted on the Daily Kos, he saw people rant about “using musical tones and quantum physics to open up portals into the spiritual realms”. Yeah, can’t imagine why Doug might think this guy’s nuts.

Moving on a step, the article next claims that The Satanic Temple is a registered trademark of the United Federation of Churches LLC, registered to Douglas Misicko, apparently the true identity of Doug Mesner (which would make Doug Mesner yet another pseudonym), to whom Reason Alliance, a non-profit corporation that supports pretty much the same ideas as The Satanic Temple. In fact it looks to me like Reason Alliance might just be another extension of The Satanic Temple. This also seems to relate to the After School Satan project. While The Satanic Temple publicly claims that they believe that religious organizations should not be tax-exempt, they, via Reason Alliance, applied for tax-exempt status and successfully obtained it. Now that I know this, it strikes me how hypocritical that Doug Menser and Malcolm Jarry are, going out of their way to apply for tax-exempt status while simultaneously saying they don’t believe religious organizations should be tax-exempt. Almost as if, like so many cliche American left-liberals, they don’t practice what they preach. Unless what they preach itself is only an act. Or maybe applying for the tax-exempt status itself was a prank, a way of impersonating a religious organization whilst simultaneously preaching against religion. Now maybe that’s giving Doug Mesner too much credit.

You may remember Brian Werner, former high priest of The Satanic Temple as well as the lead vocalist of a long-standing death metal band named Vital Remains. He resigned from the organization back in 2014, and he had quite a few complaints about them, which he explained in his video. He views the organization as hypocritical because while it ostensibly resents hierarchical order, in contrast to Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan who, at least in its early years, embraced meritocratic hierarchy, he gave Werner the title of High Priest for his perceived merit within the organization and had no qualms with handing out titles like “reverend” to various individuals. I suppose this is all part of the act as well, surely? He also complained that the leader, Doug Mesner, was appointing chapter heads without a vote from anyone, one of them told him that he had never read The Satanic Bible or heard of Aleister Crowley, Michael Aquino or the Al Jilwah, a Yazidi holy text I recognize as a book held in high regard by some theistic Satanists. He stated that this person, along with several other individuals he recognizes as clowns unworthy of the Satanic mantle, only got into the organization because they were appointed by someone behind the scenes. He also expresses resentment and despondence over how, apparently, he and Doug were loyal friends during his membership of the Satanic Temple, they were seemingly like brothers, and how after the statue had been completed and Werner wanted to talk to Doug about what was going on, he didn’t try to address those concerns with him and instead had a lawyer do the talking for him. After this, he complains that while almost every Satanic movement agrees fundamentally, on some level, with the original tenets of The Satanic Bible; individual sovereignty, reverence of individual will and power, the strong shall rule the weak and the clever shall rule the strong, refusal to turn the other cheek when one is smited, opposition to psychic vampires, and control of one’s own destiny. These are the tenets he recognizes as being pretty much universal to all strands of Satanism, and like any true Satanist I agree with them as well, but he recognizes that The Satanic Temple doesn’t embody these ideals. Like I mentioned earlier, Doug shuns these ideals, because they are not compatible with his egalitarian leftist outlook.

What’s more, two spokespeople from The Satanic Temple were interviewed by one Lauryn Petrie on a blog called Broke Ass Stuart, and this is what they had to say about membership.

No. There’re two types of membership. Anybody can go to the national site at https://thesatanictemple.com/ with a simple email address you scan sign up for the newsletter and become a member. And then there’re Chapter members, and that requires some responsibilities to be involved on some level. Every Chapter does that a little differently. No has to pay anything unless you want a card and a certificate. That costs $25, but by no means do you have to do that. If there’s a local chapter where you are, to join you do have to be accepted, but there’s no initiation or anything. You don’t even have to be a Satanist, you can just be a strong ally who believes in the political and secular actions without being super stoked about all the aesthetic aspects.

So according to them, you don’t have to be a Satanist, not even by Doug Menser’s idea of what Satanism is, in order to join The Satanic Temple. All you have to do is support their political causes. I think if Brain Werner had seen this, he would see this as further evidence of his conclusion that The Satanic Temple aren’t actually a Satanic organization.

Finally, you know all that business with the Ten Commandments monument, back when I actually kind of supported The Satanic Temple’s efforts to eroding the influence of Christianity? Well Ethan, in his final point, points out that The Satanic Temple’s campaign to erect a Baphomet statue alongside the Ten Commandments were immaterial, and that they had nothing to do with the case. Instead, the ACLU, representing Christians who viewed the monuments presence as a means of political grandstanding over what, for them, is a sacred part of their religious faith. But after the ACLU won, The Satanic Temple publicly claimed victory for this whole thing, and people believed them. Why? Easy. Because The Satanic Temple generated publicity, they “started a conversation”, you might say, by doing precisely fuck all other than troll their political opponents. I say fuck all, because once you look at what the ACLU had to say, this wasn’t actually about The Satanic Temple’s grievances at all. They just shared the same views on the subject and took the credit.

And that’s all the points that Joel Ethan brought up. What’s funny is that really none of this is new information. It was out there, and the parody act that they did in 2012-13 was apparently known for quite some time, but apparently it didn’t occur to many people, certainly not to me at the time, and certainly not to the mainstream media – can’t say I blame them in retrospect, such facts would run counter to a narrative that was tied to a lot of publicity, controversy and therefore ratings. The Church of Satan seems to just be re-posting these facts, apparently simply to inform us all that this is the case. I can’t say I know if that’s true, I don’t know what their true motivations are for reposting the old information besides their obvious rivalry with The Satanic Temple. I have to say though, I am convinced more than ever that The Satanic Temple are atheists pretending to be Satanists, using Satanism as a costume for their own political goals, and I feel disappointed with myself for not knowing some of this information much sooner.

I am finished with this organization, not that I was ever a member. With all due respect to anyone reading, if anyone still believes that these people are real Satanists, when in fact they weren’t even genuine from the beginning, I can’t help you. I am more opposed to them than ever now, for I have come to realize that these people are outright charlatans and deceivers. They don’t care about Satanism, they don’t practice Satanism philosophically nor do they practice what they preach, they have never been Satanists, and worst of all they lie in order to advance their own goals. Ironically, all to fight lies and perceived tyranny.


The Church of Satan’s Fact Sheet on The Satanic Temple, via Reverend Joel Ethan: http://www.churchofsatan.com/the-satanic-temple-fact-sheet.php

What Jeremy Crow shows us about YouTube’s crusade against offense

I think I’ve said in the past that YouTube is headed in a noticeably censorious direction, getting rid of content they deem offensive to either themselves or prospective advertisers, based on very arbitrary conceptions of hateful content. And recently, it appears that I was proven right, again. Jeremy Crow, a prominent Luciferian occultists and one of the founders of the Assembly of Light Bearers (formerly Greater Church of Lucifer), has announced that a number of his videos have been shadow-banned by YouTube.

As Crow himself explains:

About a month ago several of my videos were “shadow banned” by YouTube/Google. If you aren’t aware, this is something that has affected an insane number of YouTubers. This form of censorship doesn’t outright remove the video from the platform, but greatly diminishes it’s possible viewership and eliminates any potential revenue earned from it. A shadow banned video will never show up in search results, the trending page or related video suggestions. Often it won’t even serve up the video to people subscribed to the channel! The primary ways you can find a shadow banned video is by having the direct link or by browsing the uploaded videos on a specific channel. In addition, these videos are excluded from the advertising revenue share. In other words, you’re going to get way less views and will earn no money off the video.

So why is Crow being targeted for shadow-banning by YouTube? Well, looking at the examples of shadow-banned videos given on his Steemit article (which will be linked at the bottom of this post), you may have noticed that all of them except one deal with the subjects of Luciferianism and Satanism. He explains that YouTube’s criteria for what is deemed non-advertiser-friendly includes political content (though strangely enough The Young Turks or CNN don’t seem all that affected), profanity, unpopular religions and apparently having a disheveled/unattractive appearance.

Now I actually touched on this subject last year, when writing about the changes to YouTube’s content policies at the time, and I gave out a list quoted from YouTube’s policy guidelines on what is deemed non-advertiser friendly.

Content that is considered “not advertiser-friendly” includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor
  • Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
  • Inappropriate language, including vulgar harassment, swearing and vulgar language
  • Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use, and abuse of such items
  • Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.

It might not be a stretch of the imagination to suggest that Jeremy Crow’s discussions of Satanism, Luciferianism and the occult would be filed under controversial subjects, but even so, I find it baffling to me how Jeremy Crows videos would be considered offensive. Last time I checked, the only people who might be offended are Christians, Jews or Muslims, and even then I don’t recall them having seen fit to mass report Satanist or Luciferian YouTube content. And setting aside the issues of “hate speech”, I’m not entirely sure what the threat is to YouTube’s bottom line. I notice in the article that Crow doesn’t mention a statement from YouTube on the issue, which if you’re shadow-banned you probably wouldn’t get anyway since you’re being banned without you knowing it. What this suggests to me is that YouTube flagged Luciferian videos for arbitrary reasons, without explanation.

Two things are certain in my eyes. Firstly, this is to me further proof of the utterly nonsensical and farcical nature of the parameters of hate speech. I have seen a number of YouTubers report videos being demonetized for absurd reasons, including a someone who uploaded a review of Sonic Adventure 2 it got demonetized for “controversial subject matter”. And a couple of months ago, YouTube introduced the limited state feature, which bans certain videos from receiving likes, shares, comments or revenue not necessarily for violating YouTube’s content policy, but for “offensive” content. It is done self-evidently to suppress wrongthink, but its supporters claim that it is supposed to be done to suppress extremist and radicalizing content. I have gone through lists of videos put under the limited state, in fact I have also seen a Twitter account that logs videos put under the limited state. You’ll find videos that can accurately be described as white nationalist or fascist propaganda, or videos that posit arguments for those systems, but you know what you won’t find on those lists? ISIS propaganda videos. And hey, if YouTube wanted to suppress videos advocating for totalitarian and violent political systems, you’d figure there’d be videos advocating for communism on these lists. But apparently not. The parameters for extremism are one-sided, driven by the ideological bias held by Google, which was documented in detail by former Google engineer James Damore in his essay. And when it isn’t, it’s just downright idiotic all round.

Second, if Jeremy Crow’s videos discussing Luciferianism and Satanism were shadowbanned, then it leaves me wondering just how many other occultists, particularly Left Hand Path occultists, have been shadowbanned. What about Michael W. Ford or E A Koetting, both of them prominent occultists in Left Hand Path systems who talk about largely similar subject matter to Jeremy Crow? Or Styxhexenhammer666, another occultist, albeit for more well known and popular because of his political commentary than for his occult videos? For all I know, Jeremy Crow may indeed be the only case of a Luciferian occultist getting shadow-banned, but if they’ve shadow-banned him, then why not others?


Link to Jeremy Crow’s Steemit article: https://steemit.com/occult/@jeremycrow/jeremy-crow-s-luciferian-videos-banned-by-youtube

My thoughts on the new Spiritual Satanism

There’s a new development here in the sphere of us WordPress Satanists, that is Satanists are currently active and are part of a blogosphere here on WordPress. My friend Summer Thunder has started a new group for what he refers to as Spiritual Satanism.

When you research the term Spiritual Satanism on the Internet, the term is typically described interchangeably with theistic Satanism, if not simply seen as another name for theistic Satanism. However, the term also has its associations with a group known as Joy of Satan.

I used to be very active on Yahoo Answers when I was a teenager, and often times when I talked about religion and Satanism I would come across people from Joy of Satan, usually shills who posted the same wall of bullshit about how Satanism was actually sun worship and how Satan was the creator deity Enki among various other nonsense. They are a neo-Nazi cult that seems to have started years ago with a woman named Andrea Herrington (aka Maxine Dietrich). Although they have the trappings of theistic Satanism, much of their philosophy is at odds with Satanism and certainly contradicts the basic ethos behind Satanism. In Satanism, the individual is the object of focus and Satan is a device, a symbol, a guiding idea to which the individual may relate, and the individual is the master. In Joy of Satan however, there is a certain emphasis on the “glory” of your race. Specifically, the race of the “Gentiles”, typically meaning either white or Aryan (although I have heard there are a few non-white members of the group), as well as the perceived “evil” of the Jews, which is also bound up with their militant opposition to Judaism and Christianity, and the individual’s relationship with Satan (who is erroneously interchanged with the deity Enki).

But there is another Satanist out there who uses the term Spiritual Satanism to describe her beliefs. Her name is Venus Satanas, a self-described witch who has written essays on the subject of Satanism from an independent perspective. For her, the term Spiritual Satanism entails a form of Satanism that is completely self-directed, centering on your relationship between you and the concept of Satan, in terms of a spiritual form or doctrine free of the constraints of religious dogma and the boundaries of group-based ideology (as personified by organizations such as the Church of Satan). You bow not to the ruler of heaven, nor supplicate Satan as the lord of hell. Satan is a being, or a force, the individual aligns with on his/her own terms. She refers to Satan as a god in some of her postings, so I am inclined to think she is a theistic Satanist who plays by her own rules. To be a Spiritual Satanist, for Venus Satanas, is essentially to be an independent Satanist, not affiliated with any organizations that would limit the thinking of the individual Satanist, but it is from something of a spiritualistic perspective. In this sense, it is her way of reconciling spiritualism with Satanism, and for that I suppose it’s no surprise other Satanists would single her out as merely a “self-styled” Satanist.

Now, I for one welcome any attempts from Satanists to appropriate the term Spiritual Satanism in any capacity that is outside the Joy of Satan. I would be interested in the term Spiritual Satanism having its own sort of identity separate from theistic Satanism, though I suspect it will be treated as a subset of theistic Satanism. At any rate, I think it’s good if Satanists take the term as their own as they wanted to do so and distinguish themselves from Joy of Satan.

Summer Thunder has a Facebook group for any Satanists who either want to be Spiritual Satanists, already consider themselves Spiritual Satanists (hopefully not the JoS types I mentioned earlier), or are simply fascinated by the concept. The group is a UK-focused group called Spiritual Satanists of the UK, and anyone who’s interested can join if they want.

A sect unto myself

In May and June this year, I released five posts concerning the subject of Satanism, some of which might have touched on its sister philosophy Luciferianism to a lesser extent, in response to a personal schism. I wanted to take the time to explore the original essence of Satanism and its chief archetype(s), as well as the modern zeitgeist of Satanism, releasing detailed and often quite hefty posts on the subject, all in an attempt to rediscover and redefine my place here. After some thought, I think I’ve got an answer to that from which everything else about my spiritual system and path can continue.

The title of this post is lifted from a phrase attributed to Thomas Jefferson, more specifically his letter to a man named Ezra Stiles in which he told him “I am a sect by myself, as far as I know” to explain how he affiliates himself religiously. Although Thomas Jefferson was a rationalist and skeptical of religion, he personally sympathized with the philosophy of the Christianity and the teachings of Jesus. He viewed Christianity, in the familiarly religious or theistic sense, as a perversion of what he must’ve thought was the original teachings of Jesus. He describes the result of this perversion as “the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words”. In this sense he could have been termed a Christian rationalist or something to that effect. Although I suspect he observed some form of dogma, his way of thinking wasn’t bound by the limits of dogma, or at least not obviously so. In fact he was so unbound by Christian religious dogma, that he went so far as to write his own edition of the Bible, which is divested of superstition, supernatural phenomenon and mysticism, save for some exceptions, leaving only a vision of the teachings of Jesus influenced by a naturalist and rationalist worldview. In a way, he made his own doctrine, or more or less his own adaptation of a belief system he either considered himself a part of or sympathized with

I think I see in myself a similar approach. When I wrote the five posts about Satanism on May and June, there was a particular goal I had in mind: to assert the core essence of Satanism, to defend this essence from the threat of philosophical subversion by, ironically, those who claim to espouse Satanic philosophy – namely the likes of the Satanic Temple. After I wrote the fifth post, concerning my own issues, I got two responses from fellow Satanists that I believe gave me some interesting answers. I got reminded of the possible dangers of dogmatism that I might encounter in my pursuit of a Satanic essence , particularly because, while I don’t consider myself a complete LaVeyan Satanist, my conception of the essence of Satanism was and is strongly aligned with the teachings of Anton LaVey. Now the reason for this is pretty much because the evidence regarding the origins of Satanic philosophy points towards Anton LaVey, with no evidence of any actual self-identified formal Satanism prior to 1966, but strict adherence to LaVey can be a dogmatism in its own right. The Church of Satan was an organization that was guided solely by LaVey’s will, or whim, until his death, and now it remains as a shadow of its former self.  It holds true to at least some of LaVey’s original philosophy, even after having given up some of its essential characteristics years ago, but at the cost of embracing a kind of strict fundamentalism which insists that if you are a Satanist and you aren’t a LaVeyan Satanist or a Church of Satan member, you aren’t a Satanist plain and simple.

Anyways, the solutions offered by my fellow Satanists tend to represent much the opposite: a dynamic, intelligent approach to morality for whenever one is concerned with morals, a flexible, evolutionary approach to principles and dogma – with a keen eye for the original ideals and principles of course. With some optimism and an eye for self-actualization included along for the ride. That to me seems not just healthy, but a good pathway towards an ideal individualism. In a way, is this not the purest, atomic essence of Satanism? The pursuit of individualism?

To that end, to truly embody the original, unadulterated Satanic philosophy, and meet the challenges, inquiries and schisms I have considered and will probably continue to meet in the future, the answer is to be the sect unto myself. To practice a Satanism guided not just by the ideals that LaVey would have championed, by everything else I value, my other spiritual and moral goals.

In practice, as a clarification to those who may have been wondering, the belief system I follow is essentially Satanism, but I intend on taking a Luciferian approach to it, couched in a humanistic framework, influenced also by a number of other ideas – historical tradition, Greek philosophy, rationalism, aspects of Western paganism, Taoism, aspects of other Eastern traditions (ie Hinduism, Buddhism etc), perhaps chaos magick, pepperings of Setianism, some influence of Randian Objectivism, and some personal ethical inclinations I guess. Part of me’s even tempted to look into Thelemite ideas, even though I personally dismissed it in previous years for being basically an RHP philosophy. Here, practice of Satanism through pure individualism, and finding things that work, can assure the survival of my Satanism for years to come, hopefully leaving me much stronger in the face of schism. Hopefully I won’t be as much of an overthinker by then.

Orc – William Blake

Oh, and just a few notes before I conclude:

  • I’ll still have some posts dealing with Luciferianism, particularly at least one aspect of personal divergence and a post where I finally deal with the subject of deific masks.
  • I have learned that theistic Satanists have taken to claiming the term “Spiritual Satanist” in reference to their own beliefs systems, possibly in an attempt to divorce it from its previous attachment to Joy of Satan. Perhaps I may write about my own thoughts on this eventually.

My place in the Satanic zeitgeist

And now, Part 4 of the big project I have about Satanism, this one concerning my own recent sense of tension about Satanism in recent months. This will not be too much like the last four posts as it’s more of a personal piece rather than an attempt on my part to unpack a subject intellectually. I will be elaborating on my tensions, dilemmas, issues and questions, or just general thoughts on the subject, through various subjects and dichotomies, so that I can get it out to my Satanic or Luciferian buddies for further discussion.

 

Egoism vs egotism vs altruism

If I’m being entirely honest, this has been influenced by high-profile events of last year, the reaction surrounding them, and how I feel they reflect on society as it is now. I remember when the Pulse nightclub massacre took place in Orlando, Flordia, wherein 50 people were murdered at said nightclub by a self-loathing Muslim who hated gay people and hated himself because he was gay. In the aftermath, I saw an interview with Guardian columnist Owen Jones which ended with him leaving the set and pouting like a child because they kept talking about any subject other than the fact that the victims happened to be gay and he “as a gay man” wanted to talk about it so badly. Basically, he took a 50 people getting murdered and made it all about himself and the fact that he himself is gay. That to me was inexcusable. Not only did he seem intent on obfuscating the true impetus behind the massacre, but he did it out of an identitarian sense of narcissism. For some reason I never got round to talking about that particular issue until today, but haven’t forgotten about it.

For all my egoism, at least within the context of my spiritual philosophy, I have grown tired of some individuals who care for nothing but themselves. Especially in the political sphere of things. There’s too many people who care only about themselves with regards to their vision of the country or the world, and they don’t care what anyone thinks because if they disagree with them they can ignore their concerns and impose their will on them anyway, even if they don’t like it and even if it’s only the people doing the imposing who believe it to be a good thing. Likewise, I have recently expressed sorrow over doing some things in my life solely for my own advancement, that is for the benefit of advancing to high position in a career and perhaps receiving a high enough salary from it.

And then there is something to be said of the issue of principle. Even though, as a Satanist, I might be expected to put any sense of principle to the side in favor of self-interest, and I have talked to other Satanists on this subject before over the years, but I find I am more likely to consider an outcome based on the success of a principle. For instance, I would rather be poor and free than live in a rich country in which we have no real liberty. I am sure that to some other Satanists, this is questionable. In a rich country I at least have the chance to pursue a better quality of life if I keep my mouth shut, so to speak, but in a poor country I might have less options and less money. But I would rather that if it meant I would live in a free country because I would prefer that the principle of liberty is alive. And not just for myself either: I don’t live in a free society unless the people in general share that liberty. Otherwise, there is only one person who has (or the few who have) license or permission to do what he/she wants (or they want), but there is not liberty for the all people. Is that truly freedom? Michael W. Ford, for instance, says that every deed is selfish, but I find myself questioning that at times. If I tend to put principle over other matters in certain instances, to what extent can that truly be called purely selfish? Or what about love? Emotional love I mean not simply sexual attraction. How much of love can truly be labelled a purely selfish thing?

 

Morality/ethics

Morality is a funny thing. I’ve always had it at the back of my mind at least, never totally gone without concern for it. In fact, I will probably write a post eventually on the subject of a conception of personal morality that I deliberate on and will plan to apply to myself consistently for the foreseeable future. But in general, the idea of any sense of moral understanding is never something I have had no interest in. In my day I have been shown examples of behavior that, by my own standards, I can’t describe as anything other than ethically or morally wrong. But then, the notion of objective morality is tricky. I don’t think I can argue that my moral principles are the absolute. For me I have had a question on my mind? What if we understood morals and ethics as something that we can base on the world around us, but that changes with our understanding of that world, and therefore it is possible consider perceiving morality similar to understanding the laws of nature, our understanding of which changes over time as we gain knowledge of the universe? Does it still make for subjective morality, or does it make for the possibility of at least barely objective morality? What I assume, though, is that it is clearly not valueless solely because it isn’t a physical thing. At which point, in any case, the real question then is the value of morality.

That said, I hate the label moralist often because it is always attached to people who wish to turn their moral compass into a code of law for all men and women to follow regardless of their own personal compass. Not to mention, the attachment to such stifling moral principles as the kind of religious values of Christianity, or at least the kind of Christianity provided conservatively religious Christians. If all moralist meant was someone who placed value on moral or ethical principles, who knows maybe I would be called that. But it’s got more baggage than that. I hate the progressive view of morality too. They think it’s either utterly malleable to the whims of some grand, immaculate, millenarian conception of social progress – that is, something is morally correct because “IT’S THE CURRENT YEAR GUYS!!” – or it’s based on almost the same religiosity and sensitivity as the kind provided by the Mary Whitehouses of both yore and modernity.

 

Self-preservation vs self-transformation

This is a fairly recent question, but it touches upon a key difference between Satanism and Luciferianism. Satanism is the philosophy that places emphasis on self-preservation, while Luciferianism talks about self-transformation. I have thought about it at some point, and I don’t think I have fully answered it, but there is still the question: what is ultimately more important to me? As much I have often felt that there is probably something core and essential to my personal being, and as insistent as I often tended to be only a few years ago, how much of me is really the same throughout the entirety of my life? Perhaps I haven’t discarded what is essential to me, at least as I see it, but there can be no denying that I have evolved throughout my life. I value self-preservation in the sense of preserving the characteristics that I consider integral to my personal sense of identity, but at the same time, is it not true that the self is a thing that grows and grows, constantly, ideally towards a better form? At which point, isn’t the better ideal to pursue the growth, evolution and transformation of the self into the best form that it could possibly attain?

Another main difference between Satanism and Luciferianism is that Luciferianism advocates the pursuit of a higher self. Michael W. Ford’s literature on the subject speaks of the Daemon, which is equated with the concept of the higher self. I’ve often associated the term ego with self because of the fact that the word ego literally means self. But is that all to the self though? Perhaps Lilith Aquino of the Temple of Set I think illustrates this point adequately in The Pagan Library (if that is really Lilith Aquino):

Glorification of the ego is not enough; it is the COMPLETE psyche, the entire Self or soul, which must be recognized, appreciated, and actualized.

 

God, and the gods

Although I am an apathetic agnostic and I don’t have much investment in the God vs No God debate, I do sometimes think about the concept of God, or the possible lack of one, from time to time. I still have yet to answer the question of deities vs deific masks and need to read more. That said, I think deific masks may be the likely view I take on rather than literal theism due to my issues with the idea of literal theism. In the end, I would value myself and my fellow Man above the rule of a literal God. Most literal deities probably want your worship more than anything else anyway. And with God, like I said some time before, I don’t care if God is real because I will probably not worship a literal God.

Although the Left Hand Path tends to be all about self-deification, I’m often at a point where I don’t like to take godhood too literally. I think I’ve often said that when LHP traditions say you ought be your own God it simply means you ought to be the master of your own life. Is a way of interpreting this, then, not self-mastery, spiritual autonomy? I suppose demi-godhood is simply the metaphor.

 

Hedonism vs eudaimonism

Hedonism is the doctrine that the primary value in life regarding happiness is the pursuit of pleasure, and the goal of life to maximize pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This can involve emphasis on the avoidance of negative or unpleasant experiences. Eudaimonism, by contrast, views the cultivation of happiness as dependent on self-realization and the practicing and cultivation of virtue. This can involve the development of personal strengths or emphasizing meaning and purpose as valuable to life. Both of them put the happiness and well-being of the individual at the core of their set of priorities, but differ in their conception of what happiness means for the individual.

The reason I mention this is because I have been doing some thinking on them. I feel I have seen a problem with at least certain aspects of hedonism regarding today’s social justice types. If hedonism at its root is the maximization of pleasure and the avoidance of pain and negative experiences, then what else do we call this attitude wherein the primary desire of life is to live in a world where they need not hear of anything bad? Where no inkling of negativity may penetrate the minds of today’s youth? Where the desire not to be divested of a comfortable life outweighs all other values? At the very least it could certainly be described as hedonism gone mad. I worry that such an attitude my result in my generation remaining as a generation of lotophagi – those who eat of the lotus of blissful ignorance, rather than the apple of the knowledge of good and evil that would otherwise spawn true freedom and virtue. Not only that, but I have been thinking that it is the desire for self-development and meaning that, for me, outweighs temporal pleasure, just that I think the enjoyment of temporal pleasure can be a positive thing. Perhaps that’s the issue of balance, that can answered by eudaimonism and epicurianism. Still, part of me thinks that a sense of value creates happiness in people that pleasure in the hedonistic sense can’t provide.

 

Revenge

An eye for an eye, lex talionis, if a man hits you on the cheek smash him on the other. For a while, this has been a troubling thing for me. It’s based on the idea of “do unto others as they have done onto you”. But I have been running into a constant theme when discussing arguments: is it right to do something to others that you think they have done to yourself or others, when you are opposed to the very idea of that thing being done to you as a principle. Like doxing. The argument against doxing is based on the premise that individuals should have the right to privacy, and not have to worry about being harassed or threatened by people who gain their information. If you are doxed or someone you care about doxed, isn’t it then wrong to dox them? If you think it’s wrong to bully people as a general rule, is it right to bully someone who bullied you? If you got raped, and you are obviously against rape, what then?

 

Those are all the dilemmas I have for now that are pressing and relevant at the moment. Hope I can get some comments from my LHP buddies. Peace out.

The Church of Satan vs The Satanic Temple

Welcome to Part 2 of my series of introspective posts about Satanism, and the wider Satanic zeitgeist. In this post, we will have a look at the two Satanic organizations with the largest profile that I can think of –  the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple – and observe the differences between the two groups and the split that it represents in the wider zeitgeist of what is considered to be modern Satanism.

The famous (or perhaps infamous) Satanic Temple depiction of Satan as a Baphometic figure

First, I think some essential background surrounding the two organizations is in order.

The Church of Satan was established in 1966 by Anton LaVey as something of an alternative to both Christianity and the hippie movement of the 1960’s, promoting radical individualism, egoism, rational self-interest and hedonism, using the figure of Satan as the embodiment of Man as a carnal being and as he ought to be, with some dark spirituality and occultism thrown in to some degree (though LaVeyan Satanism typically sees it as a pageantry, and the Church of Satan nowadays doesn’t emphasize these aspects, but we’ll get into that a little later). At first it was organization teeming with the potential of what might be called Satanic magick, which aspirants rising up the hierarchy through their own works, and there was sometimes even talk of some vaguely spiritual ideas surrounding Satan and magick, but it has since evolved into a more secular and outright purely atheistic organization.

The Satanic Temple was founded in 2014 by Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry as an activist organization, using the icon of Satan as a window dressing for what is essentially secular liberal (or social liberalism) activism. They are known for encouraging (or arguably trolling) the US government and Christian groups into accepting the rollback of religious presence and activity in certain areas, perhaps most famously with their campaign to erect a statue of Satan on Oklahoma Capitol Hill in order to protest the presence of the Ten Commandments monument, which has since been removed (though apparently a bill has recently been passed allowing the monument to return).

There are a number of differences between the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple. Perhaps the most notable is their focus. The Church of Satan is not focused on political activity or lobbying, and currently has no desire to change the world around them in that vein. The Satanic Temple, on the other hand, is well known for its political activism and has staged many events aimed at promoting separation of church state and numerous other political causes generally aligned with the “left-liberal” side of the political spectrum. Besides the Satan statue, they’ve raised money for the adopting of highways, launched an after-school program designed to counter the kind offered by Christians, held protests in support of Planned Parenthood, held a “pink mass” over the grave of the mother of Fred Phelps to make the Westboro Baptist Church think they were turning her soul gay (stay tuned for my thoughts on that shit), erected Satanic “nativity scenes” to counter the Christian tradition of the Jesus nativity piece, held a black mass at Harvard Church and held various ritual ceremonies to protest Christianity. The recently commissioned a public Satanic monument in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, over the presence of a Christian religious monument. The Church of Satan, however detached from LaVey’s original spirit it seems to be in modern times, stems from LaVey’s original philosophy, which stresses focus on self-empowerment, embraces an egoistic view in the mold of Ayn Rand, and prizes radical individualism over egalitarianism. The Satanic Temple, in contrast, asserts its primary goal as encouraging “benevolence and empathy” among all people. They keep the LaVeyan understanding of Satan as an embodiment of Man’s nature, implying they share LaVey’s philosophy of Man as a carnal and selfish being, but they also embrace what seems to be an altruist tack via the rather wishy washy conception of benevolence to all things (again, we’ll get into that in greater detail later on).

Now despite what I have said and will say against the organization, there is still much that can be said to the organization’s credit. I would still praise their Satan statue campaign targeting the Oklahoma Ten Commandments monument, solely on the grounds that a religious monument’s presence in a house of secular law might present a conflict of interest. After all, does this place represent secular law or the laws of “God”?  I also approve of their general stance against child corporal punishment in public schools, and kind of support their After School Satan program because it involves nothing more than the insertion of an alternative set of ideas in a free and open market of ideas, though I don’t necessarily approve of their ad campaign. I also understand that they have a “Grey Faction“, which is devoted to debunking Satanic Ritual Abuse theories and anything of the like, I approve of their sentiment that religion can be divorced from the irrational thinking and pure superstition that is characteristic of the familiar organized religions and associated generally with faith (a sentiment which, if you think about, was also found in the Church of Satan back in the day and I suspect is also shared by organizations such as The Sect of the Horned God), and their founder Lucien Greaves is at least somewhat aligned with the classical liberal political tradition, as evidenced by his condemnation of other Satanists who tried to disrupt an event that Milo Yiannopoulos was holding because they didn’t like him spreading “hate speech”.

However, this is where my praise of The Satanic Temple ends, and my many criticisms begin.

Honestly, their most recent campaign (the Belle Plaine monument) seems to remind me that they might not solely be motivated by separation of church and state, or at least I don’t think they have the same view of what that means. In an article of Star Tribune, a local Minnesota paper, Lucien Greaves (who is referred to as Doug Mesner) says this about the group’s intentions.

It’s a sad state of affairs when any one religious group feels persecuted because they don’t have exclusive privilege on the public grounds,”

What the heck does this mean, exactly? Is he trying to say that non-Christian religions are persecuted because of the lack of non-Christian monument? Does he want religious privilege? It seems kind of vague, but it come across as saying that the biggest priority here is a perceived religious privilege. This is a veteran monument we’re talking about here. I am pretty certain that the use of a cross, while it might be connected to Christian faith, may also be used to convey a more universally understood meaning pertaining to death. A cross, associated with funerary monuments, is instantly understood in popular imagination as being associated with death/passing away, though perhaps that is because Western culture is still undeniably influenced by Christianity in some way. Whereas with the Satan statue issue I sympathized with them because they objected to the presence of religious symbolism in a place of secular law, this issue seems to be them up in arms about the presence of Christian symbolism at a memorial park. I really don’t see the issue and I don’t care what religious symbolism is there. If I think about it, their way of opposing integration of church and state seems to amount to protesting the presence of Christian symbolism and acting like they don’t have the freedom to establish their own religious presence. Like with their counter-nativity scenes. I approve of The Satanic Temple creating their own nativity scenes, because it is just them putting their own cultural artifacts out into the public, but the motive here seems to be all about diversity of religious representation or railing against the mere idea of a Christian nativity being displayed in public. And these people actually went out of their way to protest a football game, dressed like goth rejects, all because a Christian led a pre-game prayer and they took it as evidence that one group has exclusive privilege, for which I do not see any proof. It’s almost like how SJWs look at how white people being the majority demographic in a given Western nation and somehow construe this as granting an intrinsic social privilege to that demographic, of course without offering any evidence beyond “white people in government and big corporations”.

Also, there’s something about their idea of the “pink mass” that bothers me. Besides the fact that they were basically dancing on the grave of Fred Phelps’ mother because they don’t like Fred Phelps’ thoughts on homosexuality (and neither do I, for the record), the premise of the mass is basically to, at least figuratively, turn the soul of a deceased person gay. My problem with this premise is that The Satanic Temple seem like the kind of people who would be against conversion therapy for turning homosexuals into heterosexuals, but because Fred Phelps was a vocal opponent of homosexuality that makes turning his mother’s soul gay a good thing? That seems like such a petty and pathetic thing to do over a man’s “hate speech”, as it would be termed by the media. Almost as petty is when they considered performing a similar ceremony for Fred Phelps himself after he died in 2014. It’s a bit like that notoriously bad Bill Nye Saves the World cartoon that depicts straight white men as a vanilla ice cream who proposes conversion therapy for his gay/bi friends and who needs to be turned gay through seduction so he can have a bisexual orgy with them.

Come to think of it, I can’t say I’m surprised that the same kind of media that praises Bill Nye’s stupid cartoon sketch as “slamming Christians” and “explaining the absurdity of conversion therapy” (by saying that it’s OK to push a kind of conversion therapy on straight white men) praises The Satanic Temple as bringing Satanism into the mainstream by showing their progressive credentials, shattering Christian intolerance by displaying public intolerance towards the mere presence of Christian symbols at any one time or place.

To be perfectly frank, I am annoyed with the fact that Satanists in general are being compared to Christians because of The Satanic Temple. “The truth is that Satanists are actually…saintlike” claims Comicverse for instance. Bullshit. Satanists are in truth more like cats than saints. I don’t strive to be a saint, not least by the standards of sainthood and morality put forth by both traditional Christian morality and the progressive ideology that so pervades modern media. Lest we forget that the Catholic idea of Sainthood allows for malevolent individuals like Mother Teresa (an ally of dictators and lover of the suffering of the poor) and Juniperro Serra (who seems to have converted the native population of California to Catholicism by force) to be canonized as Saints and treated as benevolent figures. Not to mention, if your idea of “saintlike” involves performing spiritual conversion therapy on people for merely having a bigoted opinion, you need to re-evaluate your moral compass. How would you like it if I dragged you to a clinic that provided actual conversion therapy, or had you mailed to Iran in hopes that you’d undergo forced gender assignment, because you think people who don’t like buttsex are evil? Are you going to say then that I am a saint for doing so, or for having the kind of mindset that would think this is OK? Salon (ever the most cogent outlet and totally not ideological driven at all these days 😉 ) actually ran an article back in 2015 claiming that Satanists are truer to the words of Jesus Christ, a sentiment echoed by many TST-obsequious articles on Patheos, at which point I must draw a line. I am nothing like Jesus Christ, and nor are most Satanists I know, nor do we try to be. I am not about loving thy enemies, I don’t want love for all things and all people without a shred of hatred in my heart, I don’t want religious pluralism to be replaced with hardcore traditionalism (Jesus, after all, advocated for Jewish conservatism as opposed to moderated and Romainzed forms of Judaism, and opposed the Roman Empire which, although it demanded the worship of an emperor, tolerated any religion that welcome a sacrificial rite to the Roman emperor), I don’t want universal benevolence in the name of the kingdom of the sky, and I don’t want your socialism-lite Christianity either. But crucially, I and most Satanists aren’t as violent and crazy as Jesus was according to the Bible. If you think that I and many Satanists have anything in common with Jesus, let alone your Bernie Sanders-esque conception of him, I’m sorry, but you are deluded I will treat you as such.

It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the Church of Satan has expressed disapproval of The Satanic Temple’s activities. Their current leader, Peter Gilmore, went on record to denounce The Satanic Temple as “a parody of Satanism rather than a representation of some actual philosophical or religious organization”. Whatever else can be said of Gilmore and the modern Church of Satan, and not much of it is positive from what I have seen in the Satanic blogosphere, I honestly don’t blame him for expressing that sentiment, given what The Satanic Temple seems to be these days. I mean, what exactly is so Satanic, for instance, about stressing universal compassion and benevolence and particularly going out of your way to basically bodyguard random Muslims because you think they’ll be stigmatized, while the religion of Islam is so against Satanism that its practitioners would be punished with death if a society were run in accordance with Islamic doctrine. But, in fairness, am I so surprised that Gilmore got flak for this sentiment given the isolationist nature of his organization and the fact that he want so far as to claim that the Satan statue was “pedophilic” in nature? I would say no. I would say that Gilmore didn’t do the organization any favors, and in the eyes of many Satanists he served to deepen the image of both himself and his organization as cranky, cantankerous (in itself far from unrespectable in my opinion), isolationistic, intolerant and out of touch, which to me is kind of a shame because, while it is true that the Church of Satan has been dismissive of other Satanic organizations as as not really Satanic (or even just filled with bad Satanists), I do understand and respect the fact that part of Gilmore’s objection to the Satan monument is that he doesn’t like proselytism. He views Satanism as something that should come naturally to a person who reads about it and decides that he/she sees him/herself embodying that philosophy, and the literary archetype of Satan to some degree, and sees The Satanic Temple as doing the opposite – proselytizing their outlook through public political activism.

We actually get a curious snapshot of the division between the ideals of The Satanic Temple and The Church of Satan in the wake of, of all things, the election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States of America. According to Rooster, The Satanic Temple witnessed a sudden increase in membership within almost two days of the election. The Satanic Temple views this as an opportunity to push their organization as a vanguard of political resistance against a “theocratic” regime under the Republican Party. The Church of Satan (which apparently also saw its share of increased online interest), by contrast, is noted as being less opposed to the idea of a Trump presidency, with Church of Satan reverend Raul Anthony noted as a Trump supporter. Their article, I must mention, was about as obsequious to popular progressive narrative on the subject as many Western media outlets on the subject of both The Satanic Temple and Donald Trump, painting the Trump viewpoint as essentially theocratic, even though Trump himself seems to be less religious than the textbook religious Republican to the point that he does not oppose gay marriage and seems to be, if anything, pro-gay. And their characterization of the Church of Satan as endorsing “Trumpian” beliefs is about as uncharitable as it is borderline character assassination. What exactly does a Nietzsche or Redbeard-inspired might makes right style view have to do with the “America First” ideology, which appraised objectively amounts to essentially a populist, nationalist, perhaps paleoconservative outlook? What does exactly Trump’s rhetoric on “law and order” have to do with “If a man smite thee on the cheek, smash him on the other”? And if they are related, doesn’t that make him (gasp) a secret Satanist? Wouldn’t that rather undermine the whole “Trump is a Christian ideologue” narrative, especially given that Christianity is supposed to be a Bernie Sanders religion according to these American media outlets? And “greater men should rule over lesser men”? Quite a peculiar thing to say about someone who spent his campaign on a decidedly populist, anti-establishment tack.  Though I must say, the quote from Raul himself doesn’t paint his side of the story in a good position. He is quoted as saying “you have to hate”, which I think is a misrepresentation. Yes, love is not the only thing in this world that you need, I agree with that, but you don’t *have* to hate anyone who doesn’t deserve it. Satanism simply says on this matter that you should be free to hate who you feel is deserving of hate – people who mistreat you, people have wronged you or your loved ones, people who do not give you your due as you toil in this world etc.

And speaking of Donald Trump, we come to my biggest problem with The Satanic Temple as of late: their alliance with feminism and progressive identity politics. I’ve covered this before on my blog, but the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration was marked by protests and riots in Washington DC, and I found out that The Satanic Temple had been seen attending the anti-Inauguration protests, claiming that they want to stop Donald Trump from “destroying all of your rights”. Immediately following this was the Women’s March, a giant incoherent virtual signal organized people with no unifying cause other than “fuck Donald Trump”, but happened to be led by anti-liberal ideologues like Linda Sarsour and Gloria Steinem, and perhaps most notorious for a crazy ass Ashley Judd’s slam poetry, one of the speakers having a criminal record and the elevating of the hijab as the symbol of women’s liberation, while the women of Saudi Arabia live with it as a symbol of religious oppression as is mandated by Islamic doctrine. And yet I find that, again, the Satanic Temple decided to join the Women’s March in solidarity with their nebulous cause. Not only that, but they also promoted a “civic engagement party” being hosted by three two-bit progressive bloggers, most of whom work for the Huffington Post (which I also covered in a previous post). In addition, when I look at the Satanic Temple’s website, it seems they have co-opted feminism not just for the purpose of supporting “reproductive rights” (which, judging from their support of Planned Parenthood, seems to amount to the belief that having abortion clinics sponsored by the tax payer and propped up by the state is a fundamental human right). And guess who is on the vanguard of “Satanic feminism”? None other than The Satanic Temple’s Jex Blackmore, the very same woman who took the folk horror movie, The Witch, and tried to co-opt it as part of some kind of progressive revolutionary agenda.

What is my problem with this, exactly? Well, in the case of The Witch, it basically amounts to them attempting to co-opt a piece of entertainment media as part of their own ideological movement, the same thing that progressives have been doing to video games and comic books in recent years. As for the rest, it is them deciding to embrace progressive ideology and embracing a philosophical/political identity that is proving to be increasingly divorced from actual Satanism. I will say it unequivocally, I think feminism has nothing to do with Satanism, nor should it. Feminism, at least in its current form, is an identitarian movement that regards women, and gender itself, as a social class, wherein all its members have shared interests (like how Marx viewed every member of the working class as having the same collective interests, or how white nationalists and supremacists view white people as all being part of one big family), wherein the ideologues who lead it claim that feminism represents women, and their interests, and an attack on feminism is an attack on women. I find that this is inherently anti-individualistic, and thus I find it is anti-Satanic. Progressivism in general is infested with much the same identity politics, except that it’s not just feminism. They have their own brand of identity politics wherein various groups of non-white people are treated as constantly vulnerable political classes that need to be shielded from a white supremacy that they themselves project onto a society that, when examined objectively, is not a white supremacist society. This too is anti-individualistic, thus is opposed to part of the core of Satanic philosophy. For the Satanist the individual, and the interest of the individual, matters more than any notion of a shared racial or sexual identity, and the individual is treated as an individual, with his/her own desires, interests and goals, rather than as a social class, let alone based on arbitrary characteristics. But apparently, despite being an organization ostensibly interested in promoting Satanism, The Satanic Temple views progressive identity politics and social justice as an acceptable component of its activism.

This puts modern Satanism in a lamentable predicament: Satanism as we know it began in the 1960’s as a rebellious alternative to the burgeoning flower power counterculture of the time, establishes itself as a movement opposed to both religion and political correctness in its time, placing individualism and egoism above of these values, only in to, in the 2010’s, have a public image that is not being dictated by a progressive organization that ostensibly seeks to reinvent Satanism and bring it to the mainstream, by divorcing Satanism from its original ideals, to the point that is seems like it is using Satanism as a means of militant atheist political activism. And the Church of Satan, despite Gilmore’s arguments, will not do much to remedy this situation, because they keep to themselves too much, resting on their past glory instead. In addition to this, the Church of Satan been shown to be kind of a money-grubbing organization. In order to join you have to pay the organization a $200 membership fee, for you receive a crimson card signifying your membership. That in itself would be ridiculous enough were it not for the fact that, according to my friend Satanicviews’ investigation of their finances, the money you give to the Church of Satan goes not to the organization and its cause but instead into the pockets of Peter Gilmore and his wife. And if you do decide to join the Church of Satan, your membership will take 16 weeks to process, and once you are a member you will be required by the organization to observe the doctrine/dogma of the organization itself, without fail, on pain of expulsion, which kind of violates the spirit of Satanism as embracing individualism over the dogmatism of organized religion. So, unfortunately, you are basically paying $200 to join an organization where you have to agree with Peter Gilmore’s version of LaVeyan Satanism and not diss other members of the Church of Satan or be cast out. And remember, if you’re not a member, CoS members will consider you to not be an actual Satanist, because their ideological prerogative demands it.

We are, thus, presented with a modern face of Satanism that is characterized by a stark factionalism between two established organized entities: one of them markedly conservative with regards to Satanic philosophy, despite itself being removed from LaVey’s original vision, plagued by elitism, isolationism, dogmatism and (I’ll say it) greed, and the other a bunch of progressive activists who use Satanism, or rather a form of Satanism divorced from its original ideas, to spread “equality for everyone” and fight for separation of church and state by pissing and whining about the merest breath of the American Jesus freak in public society, while embracing pepperings of the kind of identity politics and cultural infiltration that is currently killing the Democratic Party in America and the progressive movement in general, all so they can stick it the perceived Christian patriarchal order of things, which, when examined objectively, starts to become a shakier premise. This to me cannot be described as anything other than a farce. A weird psychedelic Satanic ashram led by the metalhead doppelganger of Osho would be a better public face of Satanism than this.

But hey, as bad as it is, at least there isn’t a giant Satanic Panic on top of all of this, like there was in the 1980’s. And at least if you don’t want to be in either organization, there is much less dependence on religious community in Satanism than there is in, say, Christianity or Islam.