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March 2024

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Lucien Greaves: The Satanic Temple
Featured Article

Lucien Greaves: The Satanic Temple

If you ask Lucien Greaves, tyranny has infected America, the so-called land of the free, with a conservative strain of godly gonorrhea. A nation under one God, Greaves contends, has crippled independence as our forefathers intended. Recent attacks on the First Amendment and the reversal of Roe v. Wade are perfect examples.

Photo by DPA Picture Alliance/Alamy

Since 2013, Greaves—cofounder and voice of the Salem, Massachusetts-based religious order the Satanic Temple—has been on the front lines of a fierce battle between good and evil, promoting pluralism above all else: the notion that every American—in spite of their religious beliefs, race or sexual orientation—be permitted to preach to their respective choir in the public square and without prejudice. It’s a war waged by the Satanic Temple through political activism and good old-fashioned blasphemy. Whether it is tea-bagging the gravestone of Reverend Fred Phelps’s mother in response to the hate-filled shenanigans of the Westboro Baptist Church, disputing a Ten Commandments monument at a state capitol or duking it out in the courts over reproductive rights, Greaves and the Satanic Temple have become protectors of a novel ethos demanding that the government respect a separation of church and state.

HUSTLER Magazine recently sat down with Greaves to find out what it’s going to take for the U.S. Constitution and the people it is designed to serve to overcome the sacerdotal slaying of our democracy.

HUSTLER: Some people believe Satanists eat babies and perform human sacrifice. What is the biggest misconception about the Satanic Temple?

LUCIEN GREAVES: I’m not concerned with the people who think we eat babies and engage in human sacrifice. Those people have been living in a fantasy world for so long, and nothing can correct them. Even when they see what we’re actually doing, they think it’s some kind of artifice that covers up the real agenda or, at best, that we don’t really understand what Satanism is and we’re just confusing people from understanding that it can only lead to evil and depraved acts. For people who are more reasonable, sometimes the most common misperception is that we’re not actually a religious organization and we’re just a legal tactic trying to leverage the idea of religion to gain the kind of exemptions and privileges that are had by Christian nationalists. That’s not true. Even though we’re up front about being nontheistic—we don’t believe in a supernatural Satan, and we don’t endorse supernaturalism of any kind; we view it as a metaphorical construct by which we contextualize our community and our ethics— we’re very much a religious community, and we hold to our values as deeply and strongly as any religion could or should.

Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan believed Christians practiced basic Satanism in their everyday life, but only sneered at the religion because it was called by the wrong name. What do you think?

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