The U.S. Government Now Officially Recognizes The Satanic Temple as a Religion
Religious groups in the United States are granted tax exempt status, one amongst several rights afforded hundreds of churches and religions the nation over, but not The Satanic Temple… until now!
The Satanic Temple — which does not actually worship Satan (more on that below) and is not to be confused with Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan — announced via its official website that it has officially been granted religious group status by the U.S. government, which carries it with it several key rights:
“We are pleased to announce that for the very (first) time in history, a Satanic organization has been recognized by the United States Federal Government as being a church.
“The Satanic Temple recently received notice from the IRS affirming our status.
“This acknowledgement will help make sure the Satanic Temple has the same access to public spaces as other religious organizations, affirm our standing in court when battling religious discrimination, and enable us to apply for faith-based government grants.”
The Satanic Temple has been in the news a number of times in recent years. In 2014 the Temple attempted to put up a seven-foot-tall statue of Baphomet at the Oklahoma Statehouse in response to a statue of the Ten Commandments placed at that same location in 2009. Later, the same thing happened at the statehouse in Arkansas. In Oklahoma, the Supreme Court ended up ordering the removal of the Ten Commandments statue — hooray for separation of church and state! — while the Arkansas case is still in progress.
Separately, the Satanic Temple filed a lawsuit against Netflix and Warner Bros. over allegedly stealing their baphomet design for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Here is the Satanic Temple’s mission statement, from their website:
“The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Politically aware, Civic-minded Satanists and allies in The Satanic Temple have publicly opposed The Westboro Baptist Church, advocated on behalf of children in public school to abolish corporal punishment, applied for equal representation where religious monuments are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, exposed fraudulent harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners and claims in mental health care, and applied to hold clubs along side other religious after school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations.”