In case you missed it, The Satanic Temple has unveiled their statue of Baphomet in Detroit. Christian protesters are, of course, losing their minds with weeping and prayers in the streets. I never thought I would like Satanists so much. For those of us who are able to proceed past the word “Satan” without crippling fear and anger, we can see what The Satanic Temple is up to. After all, they have made their intentions quite clear:
The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice.
As an organized religion, we feel it is our function to actively provide outreach, to lead by example, and to participate in public affairs wheresoever the issues might benefit from rational, Satanic insights. As Satanists, we all should be guided by our consciences to undertake noble pursuits guided by our individual wills. We believe that this is the hope of all mankind and the highest aspiration of humanity.
If you head over to the FAQ page on their website, the first question is “Do you worship Satan?” The answer to that is also clear:
It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. The Satanist should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world- never the reverse.
What do you believe?
We believe in the pursuit of knowledge and freedom of Will. We believe in our Seven Tenets:
One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s will alone.
The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forego your own.
Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
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.
Materially, we believe in nothing that is not demonstrably true, and hold to even those beliefs with an understanding that they, too, must remain open to revision in the light of new scientific understandings.
Do you get it, yet? These guys aren’t exactly scary, but you can see why they may be seen as a bigger threat to Christianity than the actual Satan. They are an organization committed to challenging any religion which seeks to suppress the freedoms of others. And in America, that award goes to Christians.
Baphomet was originally built to go alongside the Ten Commandments monument on the lawn of Oklahoma’s state capitol. And why not? Where one religious monument exists, others should also be allowed. The fact that there is a protest to this idea, that we have somehow forgotten what religious freedom really means in this country, is all the more reason to support Baphomet’s existense. Many supporters have said they would gladly help fund an effort to move Baphomet to locations nationwide as needed to support religious freedom, but in the meantime the statue will remain in Detroit.
Why Detroit? Detroit is home to The Satanic Temple’s first chapter house, and where they feel most at home. Everyone has to call someplace home, don’t they? Last Christmas the group set up a holiday display on the grounds of Michigan’s state capitol in Lansing. While they are also involved in other activism, the fight to preserve the separation of church and state is what keeps them in the spotlight. It’s ironic that Christians are the ones who make sure they get noticed- often not understanding the meaning of the words “persecution” or “freedom.”
The Satanic Temple is no joke, and has earned its right to be invited to this discussion as a respectable voice. But the word “Satan” makes Christians stupid. FOX news personality Megyn Kelly recently interviewed Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the temple. She misses an opportunity to have a real dialog on this topic by dismissing him completely. Her behavior toward him was unprofessional and condescending; clearly FOX news couldn’t be bothered to do any real research on what The Satanic Temple is all about.
Ignorance and fear aren’t doing Christians any favors. The Satanic Temple is committed to protecting the rights of Christians as much as any other religion. For example, if your state capitol allows a Baphomet statue but denies your right to put a Ten Commandments monument up next to it? The Satanic Temple will be there to help you out. The thing is, that never seems to happen to Christians in America. I guess that’s one of the perks of having more religious freedom than everyone else.