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Is The Satanic Temple a protector of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness? – Press Telegram

Let’s clarify this immediately: members of The Satanic Temple do not worship Satan.

Not even believe in Satan. At least, not as Christianity serves him.

“We don’t believe in any gods, demons, devils,” said René Grigori, the pseudonym SoCal Temple minister and computer programmer of soft manners in the Inland Empire.

“We can use that as part of our aesthetic, but we don’t believe they really exist. We don’t believe in a literal Satan, but in Satan as a fictional character who represents our values, just as Uncle Sam is a fictional character who represents the American values ​​”.

The name was chosen almost a decade ago by Massachusetts atheists as a kind of idiot, or middle finger, perhaps? – as religion became more and more involved in public life. And while clearly aspiring to get the God-fearing goat and get fantastic titles, The Satanic Temple has adopted a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway between Bolsa Chica and Dog Beach in Huntington Beach, raising money to collect food with a San Bernardino. church and is now a good faith church recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, which has sparked a new examination of what the word “religion” really means.

It has about 500 followers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and San Diego counties, hundreds more in Northern California and about 700,000 worldwide. For these people, who reject “tyrannical authority” and believe their ritual around abortion can protect the right to abortion in states that have banned the procedure, separation of church and state is paramount, and Satan is much more James Dean and Mae West that fallen biblical angel.

Rebels

Candles are on sale at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts in 2019. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images)

“Satan is a symbol of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds. Satan is an icon to the inflexible will of the silent inquirer: the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions, ”the founders of the religion explain. in his literature.

“Our metaphorical representation is the literary Satan best exemplified by Milton and the romantic Satanists from Blake to Shelley and Anatole France.”

Scholar, by the way.

Adherents don’t love anything, but if they did it would be reason, empathy, and the pursuit of knowledge.

Their core beliefs include fighting injustice, protecting individual freedom, and doing good works. “Beliefs must conform to the best scientific understanding of the world,” the church’s principles state. “Care must be taken never to distort scientific facts so that they conform to one’s own beliefs.”

Rejection of traditional religion is a religious choice. And churches recognized by the IRS get big tax breaks of the government, including exemptions from income, sales, property and other taxes; benefits worth at least $ 71 billion a year, a conservative study found in 2015.

“Are we supposed to believe that those who promise to submit to an ethereal supernatural deity hold their values ​​deeper than we do?” asks the SoCal Group on its website. “Should we admit that only the superstitious are legitimate recipients of religious exemption and privilege?”

The IRS found it difficult to argue with that logic, and The Satanic Temple was considered a church in 2019. One of its core beliefs is that “The body is inviolable, subject only to one’s own will.” And that’s where the debate over abortion and its secular ritual comes in. But first …

What is religion?

A view of the Satanic Temple logo where a "House of Hell" was held in Salem, Massachusetts, on October 8, 2019. - The Hell House was a paradox in a Christian conversion center intended to frighten atheists and other members of the Satanic Church. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images)
The Satanic Temple logo in Salem, Massachusetts. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images)

It is a fascinating and ancient debate, wrote a scholar of religious studies Joseph P. Laycock, of Texas State University, who wrote a book on The Satanic Temple entitled “Speak of the Devil.”

In 1961, the Supreme Court concluded that there are many religions “that are simply not interested in God,” such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and some forms of Judaism, Laycock wrote. The court did not define religion, but it did religion is not synonymous with theism (belief in one or gods as creator (s) of the universe).

In “America: Religions and Religion,” scholar Catherine Albanese argued that religions are systems with their own creeds, or a set of beliefs; code or set of rules; cultus, or set of rituals; and community.

“The word religion lends itself to such creative legal uses precisely because it has no established definition. As religion scholar Russell McCutcheon says, “the usefulness of religion is linked to its inability to be defined,” Laycock wrote.

“The Satanic Temple is significant because it makes this kind of verbal slippage less sustainable. If this group can no longer be ruled out as a ‘deception,’ people might be forced to think a little more about what religion is.”

About 8% of Americans are atheists or agnostics, and another 16% say “nothing in particular,” according to a recent study. Pew study. There are more atheists in the Los Angeles metropolitan area than in the nation as a whole, making SoCal a fertile ground for The Satanic Temple.

Taking action

There are merry blows of satanic fingers on the establishment’s eyeballs. To know:

The Satanic Temple insisted that Oklahoma erect its statue of Baphomet, a winged goat-shaped version of Satan, next to the Ten Commandments monument installed at the State Capitol in 2012. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ordered the monument to be removed. Ten Commandments.

In 2020 he filed a lawsuit against the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, after he was not invited to file the invocation at a city council meeting (“Let us stand now, without inclinations and without hindrances by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in dark times. Let us accept the Luciferian urge to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and dispel our ever-present happy and comforting delusions … “.).

He helped people train “Satan after school “ programs to teach rational thinking in schools that host Christian clubs of the “Good News”. He has an arm of defense that tries to protect mental health patients from what he calls “dangerous pseudoscience and discredited therapies.”

He fought with companies in several states after his billboards showing a cup of dough on one side and an egg and sperm on the other (“It’s not a cake … It’s not a baby”) were rejected. And you have demands Texas about its abortion bans and is prepared with a new prescription to protect members living in states where the procedure is illegal.

The ritual of abortion

A man is standing outside the Satanic Temple where the "House of Hell" was held in Salem, Massachusetts, on October 8, 2019. - The Hell House was a parade in a Christian conversion center intended to scare atheists and other members of the Satanic Church. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images)
A man is standing on a staircase outside the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts in 2019. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images)

As the courts have pointed out, religions have rituals. E so does The Satanic Temple.

For nothing mystical and certainly often boring, this includes medical or surgical abortion itself and “serves to rule out the notions of guilt, shame, and mental discomfort a patient may experience when opting for a medically safe abortion,” the ritual. primer di.

“This ritual is designed to alleviate these stressors and enable the patient to be guided by an appreciation of their bodily autonomy and knowledge of the best scientific information about the process.”

Act it’s ritual, a member only needs a quiet space, a mirror, and a copy of the Third and Fifth Principles of the Satanic Temple: “The body is inviolable, it is subject only to its own will” and “Beliefs must conform to the best scientific understanding of the world.”

It is taking the medication or performing the procedure, followed by the personal statement, “By my body, my blood, by my will, it is done.”

Is that enough to convince an Oklahoma doctor that he / she and the patient are protected from the legal consequences? Well, it is certainly an interesting philosophical exercise. The Satanic Temple is ready to file lawsuits to protect this part of religious freedom and wants the FDA to grant it unrestricted access to Mifepristone and Misoprostol for use under medical supervision as part of its religious abortion ritual.

Good works

Minister Grigori, for his part, was raised a Catholic and went to Catholic schools, where he had plenty of time to question and doubt the doctrine. He finally concluded that there was no God, he became active in Riverside Atheists and Free Thinkers, but he was still not satisfied.

The Satanic Temple suffers from being confused with the Church of Satan, the latter adhering to individualism in the style of Ayn Rand. (Courtesy The Satanic Temple)
The Satanic Temple suffers from being confused with the Church of Satan, which advocates Ayn Rand-style individualism. (Courtesy The Satanic Temple)

Atheists knew what they did no believe. But what he did they believe?

He soon heard of the Satanic Temple, its basic principles, and its pranks that had monopolized the headlines. There was no looking back.

It is a community of like-minded people. There are weekly online meetings and occasional face-to-face events. They are more like educational seminars than religious services. There are campaigns and causes and good works, like taking that stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway between Bolsa Chica and Dog Beach in Orange County (people can be seen there every couple of weeks picking up trash), marching in the local Pride parades (which people know who the hell they are as long as they don’t hurt anyone) and raise thousands of dollars to help a San Bernardino Episcopal church provide food to those in need during the heyday of COVID.

“We don’t hate Christians, even though there are Christians who hate us,” he said. “We are willing to work with those who value and practice compassion.”

The temple is seen as a bastion for freedom, justice, and the American way. And who couldn’t do with a little more compassion ?.

Is The Satanic Temple a protector of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness? – Press Telegram Source link Is The Satanic Temple a protector of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness? – Press Telegram

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