The US government has officially recognised The Satanic Temple as a religion
It's time to say your prayers, because there's a new religion in America!
For those who aren't too keen on Satan, this probably won't come as the best of news. But for those who do like Satan and Satan-adjacent deities (I don't know any, specifically, but I'm assuming they're cloven-hoofed beings with horns), it is time to rejoice - because The Satanic Temple has officially been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS, according to a post on the religious group's official Instagram account.
This essentially means that the Satanic Temple now has the same legal protections that other religions - such as Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism - are granted.
These protections include, "access to public spaces as other religious organizations; affirming its standing in court when battling religious discrimination; and enabling The Satanic Temple to apply for faith-based government grants", according to a press release reported by Rolling Stone.
In addition, this new ruling will help the religious group achieve more coverage in the press and media - and combined with a new documentary film about the rise of The Satanic Temple and enigmatic leader Lucien Greaves, the group are receiving more attention than ever.
Check out the trailer for the new documentary, Hail Satan?
The Satanic Temple has previously been rejected on their pursuit of tax-exempt status, but the church's co-founder and president Lucien Greaves reversed this stance in 2017 after President Trump signed a "religious freedom" executive order.
In the Satanic Temple newsletter (sign me up!), Greaves wrote:
"As 'the religious' are increasingly gaining ground as a privileged class, we must ensure that this privilege is available to all, and that superstition doesn’t gain exclusive rights over non-theistic religions or non-belief."
Greaves (pictured above), also said that the group should move to ensure that, "atheistic and secular non-profits, advancing a distinct religious opinion and/or opinion upon religion, are themselves rightful beneficiaries of religious tax exemption as well."
In the documentary, Greaves introduces an 8-foot, 6-inch bronze statue of a goat-headed, winged icon called Baphomet.
The statue of Baphomet serves as quite the attraction for Satanists, but when asked if he considers the monument to be holy, Greaves replied with a statement about the "loaded terminology" of religion, saying they do not "worship" Satan in any way as they are independent individuals:
"Words like 'spiritual' or 'holy', I think - one of the first things that people need to realise about us is that we don't advocate for any supernatural beliefs. We're a nontheistic religion. We don't subscribe to supernatural explanations or accept them as legitimate.
"This idea of worship, it's usually kind of insulting to people who identify with Satanism, because that implies a sense of servility. Satanism is about personal sovereignty and independence and freedom of will."
The documentary also focuses on how The Satanic Temple was founded back in 2013 as something of a joke by just three people, but now has approximately 50,000 followers in chapters all over the world.
On their official site, The Satanic Temple state:
"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."