2018: Media reports on Satanism and Satanic groups:
2018-SEP-13: Indiana: Highway trash cleanup by a Satanic group:
The Indiana Department of Transportation, like many other U.S. state highway departments, has an Adopt-A-Highway program in which local groups volunteer to clean up trash from a defined section of a local highway at least four times a year. 1
The Indiana chapter of the Satanic Temple has “adopted” a two mile section of U.S. Highway 421 (Michigan Road) in Boone County, running South East from State Road 32. The state has followed its usual practice by erecting a small sign by the side of the road at each end of the section, listing the name of the group: 1
Mara Gorgo, co-chapterhead of The Satanic Temple Indiana, said:
"I hope other people and other groups see this. If anything, we just want to show that all religious groups and all people are equal. If another group sees this and they're like, 'if The Satanic Temple can do it we can do it,' I want them to. I want them to go out there and get their own stretch of highway and get their name on a sign.
We definitely want to push equality. If anywhere, we could really use it here, so we're really proud to be able to do that for Indiana. ..."
"It's been great. The state was really receptive to us and they've been really wonderful to work with. There haven't been any hiccups or side eyes. Even with the response from the community. Certainly we've gotten a couple of weird comments here and there ... but overwhelmingly, great support from the community. I'm really proud of Indiana." 3
The Indy Star web site has a photograph of the back of a female member of the Satanic Temple Indiana who is volunteering to clean up the highway. She is wearing an orange garment with an inverted star -- a Satanic symbol -- on her back. It has one point of the five-pointed star aligned downwards. 3 Wiccans, a Neo-Pagan group who follow a reconstructed form of ancient Celtic Paganism -- also use a five-pointed star with one point aligned upwards. Many people confuse the two groups with each other. In reality, they have no beliefs or practices in common, except that some members of both faith groups use a 9 foot circle in which to perform rituals, and both groups follow their versions of the Golden Rule.
The chapter makes other contributions to their community. At their "Second Annual Lunch With Lucifer" donations were collected and given to a local women's and children's shelter. They donated over 200 pounds of cat and kitten food to a local animal shelter.
Jill Konija, a local resident who is probably a Christian, told WISHTV:
"We’re obviously believers in God. It’s like advertising a Satanic church in front of our home."
The "Dead State" web site reported:
"Mary Rosswurm, who lives across the street, said she’s concerned about the sign affecting her property value. 'There could maybe only be one other sign that’s worse that that to have up from your house,' Rosswurm said. 'Which would be the KKK (Ku Klux Klan).'
Satanic Temple Indiana Chapter head Damien Blackmoor said the group is atheistic and they do not worship Satan.
'We’re not out here sacrificing babies,' Blackmoor said.
Contrary to what some people believe, the Satanic Temple is not an occult group that practices devil worship. In an interview with the Religion News Service back in 2016, Satanic Temple spokesperson and co-founder Lucien Greaves explained that the group represents an 'atheistic religion' and that their world view is 'not dependent on a literal Satan.'
'That is a very difficult thing for a lot of people to grasp,' Greaves said, adding that people who think religion is dependent upon a belief in a supernatural entity often have trouble understanding the temple’s purpose."
Tim McNicholas, a TV commentator on Channel 8 News, explained one of the Temple's beliefs:
"To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry [rather than] ... supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions."
In other words:
- Many Christians, Muslims, and members of some other religions believe in the existence of an all-evil supernatural entity with magical powers who is dedicated to performing evil acts, and who roams the Earth destroying people's faith.
- Modern-day religious Satanists focus their beliefs on Satan as a principle, not a living entity.
The organization's mission 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."
The group also has seven fundamental tenets. Among them are the beliefs that the freedoms of others should be respected; beliefs should conform to a scientific understanding of the world; and that the struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit.
Mara Gorgo said:
"We are not sacrificing animals. We are not eating babies. We are not worshipping the devil ... we are a group of nonbelievers. We don't believe in God or the devil. We believe in being good people and doing good things. We believe in empathy and benevolence, and we try and promote that within our ranks, and hope that with our community service, we can go show Indiana and other communities that we're good people." 3
2018 activities by Satanic individuals and groups:
Rewire News reported on many activities. Some were: 4
The Satanic Temple initiate a lawsuit on behalf of "Mary Doe," the pseudonym of a Satanist member. She objected to the restrictions that Missouri had in place before she could obtain an abortion. They included:
Being given a pamphlet saying that human life begins at conception. (Scientifically speaking, it does. But apparently Satanists find pro-choice groups' use of the term "life" to refer to "personhood" to be offensive.)
- Provision of an ultrasound to view the developing embryo or fetus.
It did not proceed because Mary Doe was not pregnant at the time of the judge's ruling. Their lawsuit probably would not have succeeded because Missouri law does not require a woman seeking abortion to actually read the pamphlet or view the ultrasound.
An unidentified person tweeted a suggestion that people burn down The Satanic Temple headquarters which is in a residential building. When TST spokesperson Lucien Greaves tweeted a suggestion that his followers report the posting to Twitter as abusive, Twitter suspended Greaves' account.
TST in Arizona joined the Adopt-A-Highway program.
- TST in Arizona also sought an injunction against prayer invocations in Scottsdale City Council unless they were open to all religions, including their own.
TST members protested at the annual meeting in Chicago of International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). The ISSTD has a Ritual Abuse, Mind Control and Organised Abuse Special Interest Group (RAMCOA SIG) that promotes the belief in the existence of organized Satanic Ritual Abuse of children.
- After the state of Arkansas installed a Ten Commandments monument at the state capital TST attempted to have a statue of Baphomet installed as well. The Legislature blocked this statue. The TST announced that it was suing the state.
- The Bavarian government passed a law requring all public buildings to display a Christian cross. TST in the UK distributed crucifixes with hangers at the bottom so that they could only be hung upside down, and become a Satanic cross.
Warner Bros. produced a TV series: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In it, a facsimile of TST's Baphomet statue was shown, and described as the idol of an evil, cannibalistic cult. TST threatened a lawsuit.
- Various TST groups erected Satanic holiday displays in Caliornia, Illinois, and Michigan, during December, to the horror of "Parisans of th War on Christmas."
A documentary film about the TST called "Hail Satan?" has been finished and will be premiered in 2019-JAN at the Sundance Film Festval. 4
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Sky Palma, "Indiana residents panic as the Satanic Temple cleans up trash from a local highway," Dead State, 2018-SEP-13, at: http://deadstate.org/
"The Satanic Temple: Indiana," has a Facebook page at: at: https://www.facebook.com/
Justin L. Mack, "Why The Satanic Temple Indiana adopted a stretch of highway in Boone County," Indy Star, 2018-JUL-12, at: https://www.indystar.com/
Joseph P. Laycock, "What the Hail: Satanists Got Busy in 2018," Rewire News, 2018-DEC-21, at: https://rewire.news/
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Copyright © 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2018-SEP
Latest update: 2018-DEC-24
Author: B.A. Robinson