The Satanic Temple

Coordinates: 42°31′53″N 70°53′29″W / 42.5313609°N 70.8913727°W / 42.5313609; -70.8913727
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The Satanic Temple
TypeNew religious movement (Satanism)[1]
OrientationActivism, civil rights, protest, social justice, lobbying[1][2]
SpokespersonLucien Greaves[2]
RegionAustralia, Europe, North America
HeadquartersSalem, Massachusetts, 42°31′53″N 70°53′29″W / 42.5313609°N 70.8913727°W / 42.5313609; -70.8913727
Members700,000+ [3]
Tax statusU.S. IRS 501(c)(3)
Official Edit this at Wikidata

The Satanic Temple (TST) is a non-theistic religious organization and new religious movement,[1] founded in 2013 and headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts. It has been described as founded to "fight a perceived intrusion of Christian values on American politics",[4][9] but has congregations in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, and the United Kingdom as well.[10][11] Co-founded by Lucien Greaves, the organization's spokesperson, and Malcolm Jarry,[12][13] the group does not view Satan as either a supernatural being,[1] nor a symbol of evil;[14] but in the literary sense as a symbol representing "the eternal rebel" against arbitrary authority and social norms,[15][16] or as a metaphor to promote pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity.[13]

The organization sees its mission as encouraging "benevolence and empathy [among all people]",[17] using Satanic imagery to promote civil rights, egalitarianism, religious skepticism, social justice, inviolability of the body/the right to abortion,[18] secularism, and the separation of church and state;[1][2] and religious satire, theatrical ploys, humor, and legal action in their public campaigns to "generate attention and prompt people to reevaluate fears and perceptions",[19] and to "highlight religious hypocrisy and encroachment on religious freedom."[23] The organization participates in political actions such as lobbying efforts,[24][25] with a focus on exposing Christian privilege when it interferes with personal religious freedom.[2] It considers marriage a religious sacrament that should be governed under the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom which should prevail over state laws.[26] The group also views restrictions on abortion, including mandatory waiting periods, as an infringement on the rights of Satanists to practice their religion.

TST adherents generally refer to their religion as "Satanism" or "Modern Satanism",[27] while others refer to TST's religion as "Compassionate Satanism" or "Seven Tenet Satanism".[28][29]


Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, at SASHAcon, March 2016

Cofounders Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry met in 2012,[7][13] and The Satanic Temple was active by January 2013.[30] In an interview with The New York Times, Malcolm Jarry stated that the idea of starting a Satanic faith-based organization was first conceived to meet "all the Bush administration's criteria for receiving funds, but was repugnant to them". The idea was motivated by the former president George W. Bush's formation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.[13]

Another author (Joseph Laycock) writes that it was Governor Rick Scott of Florida who inspired Jarry to organize a rally of Satanists (hiring actors to play students satanists). In March 2012, Scott had signed a bill that passed the Florida state legislature allowing public school students to read inspirational messages at assemblies and sporting events—a way to circumvent a Supreme Court’s ruling against mandatory prayer in school. In January 2013, Jarry's pretend Satanists rallied to praise Scott for his new law[31] which would allow satanic students “to share their love of Satan” in public schools.[32] After this event, the Boston Marathon was bombed by Islamic terrorists and the Westboro Baptist Church came to Boston to picket the funerals of the victims. Jarry and Greaves, who lived in Boston, decided to retaliate by going to Meridan, Mississippi, where the mother of the Westboro’s founder, Fred Phelps, was buried, to perform a “pink mass” over her grave. During the July 2013 “mass”, gay couples made out over the grave and the Temple announced that this satanic ritual would turn Phelp’s mother gay in the afterlife. The positive publicity the event received reportedly made the Satanic Temple nationally known. [32]


The Satanic Temple opened its official headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts, in 2016. The former Victorian funeral home is painted charcoal and doubles as the Salem Art Gallery.[33]

The space has since come under threat on multiple occasions. Chelsea resident Daniel Lucey set fire to the Salem facility's porch on June 10, 2022. Local fire rescue personnel had the flames under control shortly after arriving on the scene. The building was occupied at the time, but everyone was evacuated and no injuries occurred; damage was limited, though the porch and several windows had to be replaced.[34] The Salem Police Department reported a bomb threat to the headquarters on March 2, 2023, stating they were taking the threat seriously and following public safety management mandates.[35]

Headquarters of the Satanic Temple

Tax-exempt status[edit]

On April 25, 2019, the Temple announced it had received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, being classified as a "church or a convention or association of churches."[36] The Satanic Temple had previously been reluctant to pursue tax-exempt status until the Johnson Amendment was weakened by an executive order "Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty" signed by President Trump in May 2017, which TST viewed as unfairly giving higher status to religious individuals.[37]

Announcing the new tax status co-founder Lucien Greaves stated: "In light of theocratic assaults upon the Separation of Church and State in the legislative effort to establish a codified place of privilege for one religious viewpoint, we feel that accepting religious tax exemption — rather than renouncing in protest — can help us to better assert our claims to equal access and exemption while laying to rest any suspicion that we don’t meet the qualifications of a true religious organization. Satanism is here to stay."[38]

International followers[edit]

TST was structured based on the assumption of operating within United States. TST has had challenges acclimating to the diverse needs of international followers, chapters, and congregations. The organization was unwilling to assist members in establishing chapters where the risk of religiously motivated violence was considered too high (such as Peru and Uganda) out of concerns for their well-being.[39] The difficulties associated with incorporating international members into the organization has led to at least one religious schism, which gave birth to another religious Satanic organization called the Global Order of Satan.[40]

Mission and observances[edit]

According to the organization's website the mission of the Satanic Temple is to:

...encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits. The Satanic Temple has publicly confronted hate groups, fought for the abolition of corporal punishment in public schools, applied for equal representation when religious installations are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women's reproductive autonomy, exposed harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners in mental health care, organized clubs alongside other religious after-school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations, and engaged in other advocacy in accordance with our tenets.[41]


The Satanic Temple has seven fundamental tenets:[42]

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.


The Satanic Temple promotes five holidays.[43]

Date Event
February 15 Lupercalia
April 30 Hexennacht
July 25 Unveiling Day
October 31 Halloween
December 25 Sol Invictus

Campaigns and initiatives[edit]

Sober Faction[edit]

The Satanic Temple Sober Faction is a peer support group that offers a Satanic approach to recovery from addiction. Sober Faction meetings assist those who are suffering from addiction in finding sobriety without including or invoking religion in the recovery process.

The Sober Faction’s method is guided by TST’s Seven Tenets and utilizes the Seven Rituals, which were crafted specifically for the Sober Faction's recovery program. The ritual process promotes self-empowerment while giving structure to each individual’s recovery journey.

The group recognizes and respects that there are multiple perspectives and multiple approaches to recovery. The group explicitly says that meetings are not a professional form of therapy, and that anyone struggling with addiction should also seek help from a medical professional.[44]

Grey Faction[edit]

The Grey Faction is a project of The Satanic Temple with the goal of exposing malpractice and pseudoscience associated with Satanic ritual abuse conspiracy theories. The Grey Faction protests medical conferences, initiates legal action, and petitions medical boards. The faction has protested conferences held by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, which advocates for the discredited practice of recovered-memory therapy.[45][46][47] The group has also petitioned for investigation into the killing by Gigi Jordan of her child, which was connected to the discredited practice of facilitated communication.[48][49]

Prayer in schools[edit]

The organization first gained media attention in January 2013 after a group of Satanists assembled at the Florida State Capitol to show their approval over a bill Governor Rick Scott signed into law the prior year, Senate Bill 98, which allowed student-led prayer at school assemblies.[12] The group further stated that as the bill did not specify a religion, the prayers could be led by a student from any religion—including Satanism. The TST members announced they "were coming out to say how happy we were because now our Satanic children could pray to Satan in school."[30][13][7]

Pink Mass[edit]

In July 2013, The Satanic Temple held a "Pink Mass" over the grave of Catherine Johnston, the mother of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps.[50] The mass was held after the Westboro Baptist Church announced their intention to picket the funerals of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.[51] suggested they had based the idea of the mass on similar activities held by factions of the Latter Day Saint movement, where they would perform proxy baptisms.[50] The Pink Mass was officiated by Greaves and consisted of two gay men kissing over Johnston's grave while Greaves touched the tombstone with his genitals and chanted an incantation intended to change the deceased's sexual orientation.[52][53] A misdemeanor charge was issued against Greaves and he was told that if he returned to Lauderdale County, Mississippi, (where Johnston's grave is located), he would be arrested.[53] Shortly before Phelps's death on March 19, 2014, The Satanic Temple expressed interest in holding a similar ceremony for the church founder.[54][55] The blessing of same-sex marriages is allowed in The Satanic Temple.[56]

Black Mass[edit]

In May 2014, the Temple scheduled a Black Mass to be held on the Harvard University campus, sponsored by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club; the event was forced to relocate off campus due to significant opposition by Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and school administrators.[57][58][59]

Baphomet statue[edit]

A monumental bronze sculpture depicting Baphomet, the goat-headed, angel-winged occult idol, was crowdfunded in 2014 and unveiled the following year. The statue has figured prominently in challenges regarding the display of the Ten Commandments at the State Capitols of both Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Protect Children Project[edit]

Launched by The Satanic Temple in the spring of 2014, the Protect Children Project aims to offer "First Amendment protection to support children who may be at risk for being subjected to mental or physical abuse in school by teachers and administrators through the use of solitary confinement, restraints, and corporal punishment."[60] The Protect Children Project's website asked participants to print out pre-written letters to send to their respective school boards on a day designated as "Protect Children Day" as a form of protest.[61][62] In March 2017, The Satanic Temple launched an anti-spanking campaign against corporal punishment in schools, as part of the Protect Children Project. They unveiled billboards in Texas which read "Never be hit in school again. Exercise your religious rights."[63]

Planned Parenthood counter-protests[edit]

On August 22, 2015, the Detroit chapter of The Satanic Temple held a counter-protest outside of a Ferndale Planned Parenthood location in response to anti-abortionist groups that were planning to protest Planned Parenthood on that same date.[64] As part of the protest the Temple held a guerrilla theatre performance that included two men dressed as clergy pouring milk on kneeling actresses.[65] This was not the first protest of this type that the Temple had held in support of the organization, as they had previously held a 2013 protest where they brought children to the Texas State Capitol who chanted "Fuck You" and "Hail Satan", while holding signs reading "Stay Out Of My Mommy's Vagina".[66]

On April 23, 2016, members of the Detroit chapter of the Temple counter protested the Citizens for a Pro-Life Society's protest of Planned Parenthood. Temple members dressed in bondage fetish clothing, wearing baby masks and diapers while engaging in flagellation. The Temple said that the reason for the protest was to "expose the anti-choice protest as an act of fetal idolatry, highlighting the fetishization and abstraction of the 'baby.'"[67]

Muslim refugee activism[edit]

In November 2015, the Temple received media attention for offering to take in Muslims or refugees that were afraid of experiencing backlash over the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.[68][7]

Demonization of Junipero Serra[edit]

The Temple's Los Angeles Chapter has also protested the canonization of Junípero Serra by Pope Francis and in October 2015 they held a ceremony where they "demonized" the Christian missionary,[69] stating that Serra helped enslave thousands of Native Americans and that he "also led The Spanish Inquisition in his territories, trying residents of the Missions for the crimes of sorcery, witchcraft and devil worship."[70]

Pentagram ritual[edit]

On June 6, 2016, the Temple performed a pentagram ritual[71] around the California city of Lancaster in Los Angeles County, to support California State Senate candidate Steve Hill, who hoped to be the first Satanic Temple member elected to public office.[72]

After School Satan[edit]

The Satanic Temple sponsors After School Satan, an after-school program where students engage with rationalist pursuits, scientific games, nature activities, and community service. The program offers an alternative to after-school Christian missionary programs such as the Good News Club.[73][74] Organized by individual local groups since 2016, four After School Satan clubs were active at the end of 2023.[75]

Los Angeles Satanic Mass[edit]

On January 14, 2017, a week before the Trump presidential inauguration, the Temple hosted what it billed as the largest Satanic gathering in history, hoping to double the attendance of the 2015 gathering in Detroit for the Baphomet unveiling. Film crews from VICE and NatGeo were on hand to document the event. The mass included three parts: Invocation Ritual, Destruction Ritual and a Bloodletting Ritual.[76] Local Los Angeles media was also on hand to cover the event, calling the event "a bloody good time".[77]

Holiday displays[edit]

Chapters throughout the United States have erected various displays to appear adjacent to Christian Nativity scenes on public grounds.[78] A display in the Florida State Capitol rotunda in 2014 featured an angel falling from the sky into a pit of flames,[79] which was vandalized and then modified as a result.[80] That same year a display at the Michigan State Capitol featured the message "The Greatest Gift is Knowledge" and a depiction of a snake wrapped around a black Leviathan cross.[81][82] Sponsored by the Detroit chapter, this "Snaketivity" display returned to Lansing capitol grounds in 2015,[83][84] and again in 2016.[85][86]

The Chicago chapter updated "Snaketivity" as a sculpture for display in the Illinois State Capitol rotunda in 2018: with a serpent coiled around a woman's hand presenting an apple, and the message "Knowledge is the Greatest Gift" inscribed on the supporting pedestal;[87][88] the same sculpture returned in 2019.[89][90] The West Michigan chapter installed a Yule goat outside their state's capitol on the 2019 winter solstice.[91][92]

Following a pandemic hiatus on holiday displays in their State Capitol, the Illinois congregation announced a new sculpture for the rotunda in celebration of Sol Invictus 2021: Baphomet as a newborn baby.[93] Local Catholic bishop Thomas Paprocki declined an invitation to attend the installation of the statue, which took place December 20.[94][95] Illinois congregants returned to the rotunda in 2022 with a crochet display of apples and the serpent of Genesis, paired with a book by Copernicus that had been banned by the Vatican for centuries.[96]

New displays were organized by local congregations in 2023, with a decorated tree at the National Railroad Museum in Wisconsin,[97] as well as a mirror-covered, red-cloaked Baphomet statue at the Iowa State Capitol.[98][99] After the Iowa display was vandalized, organizers salvaged some remaining altar elements.[100][101][102] A former Republic Congressional candidate, from Mississippi, was charged with a felony and with "violating individual rates" under Iowa's hate crime law.[103][104]

Scottsdale, Arizona invocation challenge[edit]

Scottsdale City Council denied a 2016 request from The Satanic Temple's Arizona chapter to give an invocation at the Council meeting; denial was based on the grounds that only groups with 'substantial connections to the community' are allowed (the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale was selected instead). The Satanic Temple maintains there was never any "local community" question during the application process.[105] The Arizona chapter's co-founder Michelle Shortt filed suit against the city, saying they had "no written policy regarding prayer and only reversed its decision after backlash from the community and city officials."[106] The City Council unanimously approved additional funds to litigate a January 2020 federal court trial in Phoenix.[107][108] The Satanic Temple has appealed the judge's ruling.[109]

Baphometic Bowl of Wisdom[edit]

The sculpture, Baphometic Bowl of Wisdom, a Satanic monument intended to pay homage to veterans, was approved for installation on public grounds. Planned to be placed in a memorial park in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, next to an established religious statue of a soldier kneeling at a cross the monument faced opposition from local residents and external Christian groups. [110] Subsequently, the city retracted its permission for the installation just days before the scheduled event, leading to the removal of both the proposed statue and the existing religious sculpture. [111]

Religious abortion ritual[edit]

Following a failed abortion lawsuit in June 2020,[112] the Satanic Temple announced a religious abortion ritual on August 5, 2020, which allowed members living in RFRA states to be exempt from "enduring medically unnecessary and unscientific abortion regulations when seeking to terminate their pregnancy".[113] In September 2021, as part of its opposition to the Texas Heartbeat Act, the Satanic Temple wrote the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, saying that it had a faith-based right to access medical abortion drugs, including misoprostol and mifepristone.[114] Temple lawyers protest a specific Texas abortion law, recently sustained by the US Supreme Court, arguing that the Temple's status as a non-theistic religious organization should ensure access to abortion as a faith-based right.[115][116]

In 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, ending federal abortion rights and allowing individual states to regulate their own abortion laws.[117] Following this, the Satanic Temple commented on Twitter that the organization was "the leading beacon of light in the battle for abortion access", and that "a religious exemption [from the Satanic Temple] will be the only available challenge to many restrictions to access".[118]

In response, Jezebel magazine critiqued the organization's position that a religious exemption would guarantee its members freedom to seek abortions even in states where they were no longer legal, criticizing its position as overly-simplistic, unproven, and put pregnant people attempting to use the Satanic Temple's religious exemption to have an abortion in legal jeopardy.[119] Other organizations focused on reproductive rights, such as the Texas Equal Access (TEA) Fund, also commented on the Satanic Temple's position,[119] with both the TEA Fund and the Yellowhammer Fund – an abortion fund serving the states of Alabama and Mississippi – having previously spoken out against the Satanic Temple's position.[120][121] Though the Satanic Temple offers a dedicated email address for members who encounter legal problems when seeking an abortion using its religious exemption form, former TST reproductive rights spokesperson, Jex Blackmore, stated that there was "no guarantee" that the Temple would cover a member's legal fees or provide legal support. In response, the Temple's lawyer, Matthew Kezhaya, stated that part of the abortion ritual outlined by the Satanic Temple as the reason for its members' religious exemption required "consulting with your local minister", a step Jezebel noted was not mentioned on the Temple's website or either of its abortion ritual guides, and that in the case of "foreseeable legal complications", the Temple refers its members to Kezhaya "for further evaluation and discussion."[119]

Abortion medical services[edit]

In February, 2023 TST announced it would open a medical clinic in New Mexico offering medication abortion. Operating under the name TST Health, the "Samuel Alito's Mom's Satanic Abortion Clinic" will offer free medical consultations and prescribe abortion medication, delivered by mail.[122][123][124][125] Guided by a Satanic Temple minister, patients participate in the abortion ritual, reciting tenets about bodily autonomy and the importance of science.[126]


On February 12, 2022, the Satanic Temple held their first SatanCon convention inside Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. Outside the hotel, hundreds of Christians protested the convention holding crucifixes, crosses, and signs denouncing Satan.[127]

The Satanic Temple announced the celebration of its 10th anniversary at SatanCon 2023, held April 28–30, 2023, in downtown Boston, Massachusetts.[128]

Bladensburg Peace Cross Ceremony[edit]

Following the Supreme Court's ruling that the Bladensburg Cross does not conflict with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, because it honors veterans of all faiths, the Satanic Temple welcomed the opportunity to specifically honor Satanic veterans.

Referring to the monument as the Bladensburg Satanic Peace Cross, TST held its first memorial ceremony on 10 July 2021. The Satanic Temple hopes Bladensburg will become known internationally as a Satanic tourist destination and encourages their members to pilgrimage to Bladensburg to pay tribute to their fallen veterans.[129]


Individuals dedicated to the tenets of The Satanic Temple can join on the organization's website.[130] Members can apply to join local congregations, though local requirements may differ: "If there's a local [congregation] 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."[131]

Membership is subject to termination for "failure to uphold the spirit of The Satanic Temple and its tenets."[130] A member who used a TST event to call for violence against (then-president) Donald Trump was expelled.[132]


Local groups of organized TST members may form congregations. Some congregations are endorsed by TST to "participate in campaigns, social events, and other activities relevant to their local regions, as well as in concert with national TST campaigns".[133] TST encourages members to form congregations where none exist or join pre-established ones, but does not actively establish them itself.[134] Congregations are currently established across the continental United States, Canada, and Australia.[135]

Congregations were initially known as chapters; the first chapter was established in 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. That chapter went on hiatus in 2018, the same year chapters in Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, California, and the UK seceded from the Satanic Temple over internal disputes with national leadership.[136]

Comparison to LaVeyan Satanism[edit]

Lucien Greaves has described the Temple as being a progressive and updated version of LaVey's Satanism.[137] The Temple views itself as separate and distinct from its forerunner, representing "a natural evolution in Satanic thought". Greaves has written and posted a fairly long refutation of LaVey's doctrines in an essay "CHURCH OF SATAN VS. SATANIC TEMPLE",[138] and said that the elements of Social Darwinism and Nietzscheanism within LaVeyan Satanism are incongruent with game theory, reciprocal altruism, and cognitive science.[139] He has also criticized the LaVeyan Church of Satan for its lack of political lobbying and what he sees as their exclusivity, referring to them as autocratic and hierarchical, and saying that the Church fetishizes authoritarianism.[25][140]

Conversely, the Church of Satan has claimed that Anton LaVey "codified" Satanism "as a religion and philosophy" with the Church of Satan in 1966, so that we have "five decades of a clearly defined belief system called Satanism expounded by a worldwide organization", namely the Church of Satan.[141] The Satanic Temple, on the other hand, are only "masquerading as Satanists"[142][143] and do not represent Satanism.[144]

Joseph P. Laycock attributes the origin of the Temple and the difference between the two groups to the "culture war" between traditionalists/conservatives and liberal/secularists "fueled by demographic changes".[145] At least in the United States where the temple is based, the number of adults identifying as Christian is shrinking (63% as of 2021 down from 78% in 2007) and those identifying with no religion is growing (29% in 2021, up from 16% in 2007),[146] Christians have become alarmed. At least some observers have suggested that the increasing political activism of American conservatives in the 1990s and 21st century on issues such as abortion, teaching of the theory of evolution, gun politics, separation of church and state, privacy, recreational drug use, homosexuality, censorship, is an attempt to "compensate" for their loss of cultural power "by using the power of the state".[Note 1] In the meantime the growing number of secular/Religiously Unaffiliated have also become politically aroused. In addition,the sizeable number of people who were told as adolescents that the "rock music or the game Dungeons and Dragons" they enjoyed were satanic, are now grown and have a very different idea than earlier generations as to the relative merits of Satanism versus Christians—or at least politically active conservative Christians.[145] Laycock argues that the shift in interest among Satanists toward political activism, between the founding of the Church of Satan and the establishment of the Satanic Temple, can be explained in part by their desire to counter the influence of conservative Christians.[145]


Christian religious organizations have criticized many actions by the Satanic Temple.[147] Critics accuse the Temple of being unserious: merely a prank, public satire, or elaborate trolling attempt. Greaves clarified in a 2013 interview that the Temple could be both satanic and satirical,[25] and maintains that freedom of speech prevails regardless of political opinion regarding such criticism.[148] Blackmore dismissed claims that the Temple was simply "trying to cause trouble for no reason except to just be shocking", instead she defended the Temple "adding to the dialogue that's already there and asking for rights -- just like anyone else."[149]

Extremists have made death threats against multiple leaders of The Satanic Temple.[149][150]

TST has also garnered positive attention, with the Tenets being called egalitarian, "truer to the words of Jesus than most Christians," expressing the primacy of compassion and empathy, and conducive towards equanimity.[151] The tenets have also been described as superior to the Ten Commandments, offering "a more moral, and more optimistic stance, emphasizing positive, pro-social values."[152]

The organization was the focus of the 2020 academic monograph Speak of the Devil: How the Satanic Temple Is Changing the Way We Talk About Religion.[153]

Schisms and secession[edit]

The Satanic Temple has prompted the development of other Satanic religious organizations, some amicably and others through religious schism.[154][155][156]

The Global Order of Satan was founded in 2018[157] following the departure of the TST-UK and London chapters, which had voted no confidence in TST. This schism was motivated by TST removing two consecutive UK chapter heads: the first for engaging in unapproved campaigns, and the second for "personality clashes".[40][158]

The group HelLA formed in 2018 following a rift based on ethical concerns; the Los Angeles chapter objected to TST's acceptance of pro-bono legal work from the free-speech lawyer Marc Randazza, as well as "the complete lack of racial diversity" among TST leadership.[159] The ex-chapter head also cited a disagreement with Lucien Greaves' absolutist philosophy on free speech.[160]

Several "approved administrators" of the TST-Washington chapter left the Temple and took control of the chapter's social media pages in March 2020.[161] TST responded with a lawsuit against the former members,[162] and subsequently sued Newsweek magazine, claiming defamatory coverage of the matter.[163][164]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Robert P. Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute as paraphrased by Joseph P. Laycock in Satanism (2023).[145]


  1. ^ a b c d e White, M. H.; Gregorius, Fredrik (2019). "The Satanic Temple: Secularist Activism and Occulture in the American Political Landscape". International Journal for the Study of New Religions. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing. 10 (1): 89–110. doi:10.1558/ijsnr.38954. ISSN 2041-952X. S2CID 213573087.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Helen (October 1, 2023). "The Social-Justice Rebellion at the Satanic Temple". The Atlantic. Washington, D.C.: Emerson Collective. ISSN 2151-9463. OCLC 936540106. Archived from the original on October 3, 2023. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  3. ^ Romero, Dennis (April 25, 2023). "SatanCon, poking at religion and government, opens this weekend in Boston". NBC News. NBC UNIVERSAL. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  4. ^ Escobedo, Tricia (December 11, 2015). "5 things you didn't know about satanists". CNN. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  5. ^ Gutierrez, Lisa (September 13, 2017). "Satanists emerge as advocate as Planned Parenthood restores Missouri abortion services". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on May 22, 2021. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  6. ^ Lewis, James R.; Tollefsen, Inga B. (2016). The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, Volume 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 441–453.
  7. ^ a b c d Miller, Matt (November 21, 2015). "Why the Satanic Temple Is Opening Its Doors to American Muslims". Esquire. Retrieved November 29, 2018. co-founded the Temple in 2012 ... The Satanic Temple is an openly atheistic religion that Mesner says does not advocate for any supernatural belief. Really, the "Satanic" term is only there because they have the right to use it, as does any other religion.
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  9. ^ [2][5][6][7][8]
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  11. ^ Felperin, Leslie (February 5, 2019). "'Hail Satan?': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Merlan, Anna (July 22, 2014). "Trolling Hell: Is the Satanic Temple a Prank, the Start of a New Religious Movement — or Both?". Village Voice. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e Oppenheimer, Mark (July 10, 2015). "A Mischievous Thorn in the Side of Conservative Christianity". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.. DO YOU PROMOTE EVIL?". The Satanic Temple. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  15. ^ "FAQ". The Satanic Temple. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  16. ^ "What does Satan mean to the Satanic Temple?". CNN. November 30, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  17. ^ "about-us". ABOUT US. Archived from the original on April 11, 2022. Retrieved April 11, 2022. The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.
  18. ^ Kutner, Jenny (May 1, 2015). "Satanist challenges Missouri's 72-hour abortion wait: It's "a burden on my sincerely held religious beliefs"". Salon. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  19. ^ "FirstHand - The Satanic Temple". FirstHand. September 4, 2018. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  20. ^ Ohlheiser, Abby (July 1, 2015). "The Satanic Temple's giant statue of a goat-headed god is looking for a home". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  21. ^ Asher-Shapiro, Avi (June 24, 2015). "The Satanic Temple Is Suing Missouri Over Its Abortion Law". Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  22. ^ Laycock, Joseph P. (2020). Speak of the Devil: How the Satanic Temple Is Changing the Way We Talk About Religion. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190948498.
  23. ^ [12][20][21][22]
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  39. ^ Joseph P. Laycock (February 17, 2020). "Satanic Schisms". Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion. p. 9.23. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190948498.001.0001. ISBN 978-0190948498. There are communities all over the world that have expressed interest in TST, and many have formed unofficial chapters. However, there have been numerous difficulties in incorporating these groups into the US-based structure ... Greaves explained the NC was already overwhelmed by the demand for new chapters in the United States. He also had concerns about extending the TST brand into nations troubled by conflict. He had been contacted by a woman in Peru who wanted to create a chapter but was worried they might be subjected to violence by "Catholic militants." Greaves ... advised the woman to be safe and not start a chapter. Greaves explained he could never endorse, say TST-Uganda, asking, "How are we gonna feel if they all get fucking gunned down over it?"
  40. ^ a b Joseph P. Laycock (February 17, 2020). "Satanic Schisms". Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion. p. 9.19-9.23. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190948498.001.0001. ISBN 978-0190948498. TST-UK collaborated with artist Darren Culleb to subvert a new law in Bavaria requiring all public buildings to be adorned with a cross ... When TST leadership learned of this, they asked [TST-UK's leader] to step down as chapter head. ... [TST-UK's leader] was briefly replaced as chapter head by Cain Abaddon ... there were personality clashes and [TST decided] to remove Abaddon as well. ... At this point, TST-UK had ... "a universal vote of no confidence" ... and elected to become independent. ... [TST-UK and London] created its own leadership, rituals, and tenets (the six pillars) and began networking with TST members in such countries as France, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland. in February 2019, the group changed its name to the rather ominous sounding Global Order of Satan.
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  133. ^ "Participate in the TST Community". thesatanictemple. Retrieved April 11, 2022. There are many opportunities to be active within The Satanic Temple, locally, and online. ... If there is a congregation near you, you may wish to engage with them and become a part of that community. Endorsed congregations participate in campaigns, social events, and other activities relevant to their local regions, as well as in concert with national TST campaigns. ... If there isn't a congregation near you, you may wish to seek out a community on the internet. We gather online and keep close ties with one another through social media and other digital means. Many of the local congregations host their presence online, which can also be found within the "Find A Congregation" section of our website.
  134. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Retrieved April 11, 2022. Congregations are formed by members with the guidance and support of the Recognition and Onboarding Committee, a leadership body elected and managed by our Society of Congregations. TST does not independently create its congregations. ... Congregations are built by local members working under the supervision of the Recognition and Onboarding Committee (RoC). Starting a new congregation of The Satanic Temple can be very rewarding. It also requires substantial time and effort as well as a thorough understanding of the mission, values, and history of The Satanic Temple. Familiarize yourself with TST's tenets, mission statement, and frequently asked questions, all of which are on our website, prior to contacting the RoC.
  135. ^ "FIND A CONGREGATION". thesatanictemple. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
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  151. ^ Tarico, Valerie (November 28, 2015). "The greatest trick the satanists ever pulled: They may be truer to the words of Jesus than most Christians". Salon. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
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  153. ^ Simpson, Will (2022). "Review of Speak of the Devil: How the Satanic Temple Is Changing the Way We Talk About Religion, by Joseph P. Laycock". Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. Project MUSE. doi:10.3138/jrpc.2021-0020. S2CID 246949717.
  154. ^ Joseph P. Laycock (February 17, 2020). "The Day Satan Came to Oaklahoma". Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion. p. 7.66. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190948498.001.0001. ISBN 978-0190948498. In the summer of 2018, TST underwent a major shift with numerous chapters breaking away to form their own Satanic groups. Such schisms are common in the history of new religious movements, but it is significant that these groups remained interested in Satanism as a progressive religious and political movement.
  155. ^ Joseph P. Laycock (February 17, 2020). "Religion or Trolls?". Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion. p. 11.45. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190948498.001.0001. ISBN 978-0190948498. Daniel Walker of Satanic Bay Area, a group allied with TST, explained, "We have this assumption that religion and theism are synonyms. If you can just get [the public] to understand that distinction that's sort of the Rosetta stone."
  156. ^ "About Satanic Bay Area". Retrieved April 14, 2022. We believe in the Seven Tenets of the Satanic Temple, but we are not a TST chapter and have no direct affiliation with them. We have no relationship with SF-based Satanist groups like the Temple of Set or old Church of Satan. Satanists and non-Satanists of all stripes are free to join us as long as they support our ideals.
  157. ^ "Global Order of Satan".
  158. ^ "History and background of the Global Order of Satan". Retrieved April 15, 2022. Officially formed on June 24th 2018, The Global Order of Satan was formed to be a worldwide collective of Satanists united under a shared set of life values & moral pillars. Our aim is to make the world we live in a better place through our actions and in doing so eliminate prejudice, injustice, and religious oppression.
  159. ^ Joseph P. Laycock (February 17, 2020). "Satanic Schisms". Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion. p. 9.24. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190948498.001.0001. ISBN 978-0190948498. On August 4, the day after TST-UK departed, TST-Los Angeles announced that they were also leaving to form a new group that eventually became known as HelLa. In a statement, they specifically cited the Twitter lawsuit, which they viewed as a waste of resources, and the decision to work with Randazza. The statement read, "We believe Randazza is opportunistically using The Satanic Temple as both a shield and a lever as he continues to work on behalf of the alt-right, and we in the Los Angeles chapter want no part of this." It also cited, "the complete lack of racial diversity within leadership."
  160. ^ Joseph P. Laycock (February 17, 2020). "Satanic Schisms". Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion. p. 9.25. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190948498.001.0001. ISBN 978-0190948498. Bel Citoyen, a former chapter head for TST-Los Angeles ... also took issue with the position of "free speech absolutism" advocated by Greaves, arguing, "The right to free speech doesn't mean the right to a platform."
  161. ^ "Social media and Satan: pitfalls of losing control of brand social media accounts". April 16, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2022. The Satanic Temple's Washington Chapter has three social media accounts, all of which were maintained and controlled by members of the Temple who were "approved administrators," and whose actions were subject to a written Code of Conduct from the Temple. ... In March 2020, the defendant administrators left the Temple and took control of its social media pages. They removed all other administrators approved by the Temple – effectively locking the Temple out of the accounts – and posted manifestos claiming that Temple leadership are alt-right white supremacists who supported ableism and misogyny. The name of one secondary social media page was changed to "Evergreen Memes for Queer Satanic Friends." On another social media page, they followed a number of extremist groups, in what the Temple characterized as an attempt to create a false impression of affiliation between the Temple and extremism.
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External links[edit]