Wait! Wait! It’s Not As Bad As It Sounds

Statue of Baphomet

I recently heard of a church that I wasn’t aware of before and found its religious principles intriguing. As stated on its official website, its mission “is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, . . . oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.” The church also emphasizes science and critical thinking. Before I tell you the name of this actual, legally recognized church, I want to remind you that it can be unwise to judge a book by its cover. And I also want to remind you that certain self-styled “Christian” churches would likely approve of parishioners chasing Jesus out of the parking lot if he showed up looking like the bearded Middle Eastern man he was. And I will confess that these days I’m reluctant to wave an American flag and reluctant to use the words “America” and “great” in the same sentence for fear that someone might mistake me for a cult follower of a certain demagogue. So my point is that the connotation of certain words and actions and symbols can change over time and can end up having a meaning the opposite of the original.

Unfortunately, nobody had prepared me with all this eminently reasonable food for thought when I first heard that some acquaintances were attending a meeting ofThe Satanic Temple. I was just as aghast then as you probably are now. “Oh my God!” I thought. “Have they lost their damned minds?!” Damned, indeed.

(What?! You’re still reading? O you brave, open-minded soul, you.)

I pictured human sacrifice but have learned that the only human sacrifice involved is the human leaders sacrificing their time and hard work (and possibly their reputations) to promote their church’s mission. I also pictured a gigantic statue of an occult-looking pagan godand about this I was not wrong. More on the statue later. But I promise you: it’s not as bad as it sounds.

I heard that the meeting leader was calm and soft-spoken and that he quickly explained the church’s plan to defend First Amendment rightstheir diabolically ingenious plan. When states violate the separation-of-church-and-state laws by insisting, for example, that monoliths bearing the 10 Commandments be displayed on public property, TST insists on equal publicity for their church’s tenets, including prominent display of their massive bronze statue of Baphomet, a human-bodied, goat-headed, goat-footed, winged creature, complete with pentagram symbol and two children at its feet. The statue weighs over 3000 pounds and stands at 8 and a half feet tall. That’s over 2 feet taller than the golden idol of Trump displayed at CPAC (Exodus 32:1-8). When faced with the prospect of this statuewhat some might consider a horrifying, demonic monstrosity (Baphomet, not Trump of course)state governments often remove the 10 Commandments display without further ado. If they don’t, TST initiates litigation for equal rights under the First Amendment. Similarly, when schools insist on religious club gatherings on school grounds, TST brings their own brand of hell to bear on the situation and demands the right to distribute informational pamphlets to all students to recruit them to their religion.

It’s just by pure “coincidence” that TST’s religious tenets often serve to protect individuals’ political rights. So as you can tell, TST is just as much a non-political, purely religious organization as the Catholic church, or, for that matter, as much as most churches.

Yes, “The Satanic Temple” does sound bad. I admit it. But the name is itself a tool and weapon that helps the average Christian understand how it feels to have someone else’s religious beliefs foisted on you or your children. Call TST an extremely unlikely hero. An anti-hero, whose time just may have come. We’re living in a topsy-turvy world, where it’s wise to question whether Christian leaders are in fact Christian and where it’s reasonable to wonder if The Satanic Templewhich has clarified that they don’t even believe in the devilis actually Satanic.

As funny as this is to contemplate, The Satanic Temple might just possibly, thank God, be contributing to our salvation.


(Bill Spencer is author of Uranus Is Always Funny: Short Essays to Make You Laugh.)

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2 thoughts on “Wait! Wait! It’s Not As Bad As It Sounds”

  1. Brilliant stuff as always, Bill.

    I thought TST was Trump’S Tower, the soon to be gone temple of ill-gotten gains.

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