Author Topic: The Satanic Temple is now officially recognized as a church by the US government  (Read 1117 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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I think it's great that a joke religion has gotten tax-exempt status. Because while the people may have serious and worthwhile goals and purposes in establishing satanic churches, I'm confident none of them actually worship Satan.

Satan is a character in the Judaic-Christian-Islamic religions who opposes the creator-God. Worship of Satan implies an acceptance of the theological framework in which Satan exists, and that the Satanist either believes that the creator-god who defeated Satan is the evil one, or that the Satanist supports evil.

Anything else is a satirical attack on the established religions that name God's nemesis "Satan" or just an outright joke. I applaud this. As a self-styled Pastafarian myself, I regard members of the Satanic churches as fellow travelers in the effort to mock religion. So I am quite pleased that one such church has gotten tax-exempt status.

Beyond this, I know nothing about any of the Satanic churches.

I completely share your reasoning. It is a way to delegitimize religion, helping to reduce its societal power and influence.
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Offline John Albert

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Yeah, I just looked. It's in the guidelines for the 501(c)(3) exemption.

Quote
Charitable Organizations

If your organization is applying for recognition of exemption as a charitable organization, it must show that it is organized and operated for purposes that are beneficial to the public interest. Some examples of this type of organization are those organized for:
  • Relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged,
  • Advancement of religion,
  • Advancement of education or science,
  • Erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works,
  • Lessening the burdens of government,
  • Lessening of neighborhood tensions,
  • Elimination of prejudice and discrimination,
  • Defense of human and civil rights secured by law, and
  • Combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.
https://www.irs.gov/publications/p557

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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I don't see why "Advancement of religion" as such would be considered to be in the public interest. Sure, religious organizations can engage in activities that are in the public interest, and then they should be eligible to be considered charitable organizations, unless they also engage in activities that are clearly not in the public interest. An example of this would be The Salvation Army, which engages in charitable activities, but also has some homophobic practices.

Of course, secular organizations can also engage in charitable activities. It really makes little sense to consider "Advancement of religion" as such to be in the public interest.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline John Albert

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It's like "Advancement of superstition," or even more succinctly, "Advancement of bullshit."

Offline stands2reason

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I'm against the idea of any special recognition for religion per se, but as long as that system is in place, I can't blame them.

The thing is, The Satanic Temple is opposed to tax-free religion as well!

In other words, they are just playing Devil's Advocate?

Offline John Albert

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I'm against the idea of any special recognition for religion per se, but as long as that system is in place, I can't blame them.

The thing is, The Satanic Temple is opposed to tax-free religion as well!

In other words, they are just playing Devil's Advocate?

Come to think of it, that's exactly what they're doing!

The sole purpose of their organization is to make Christians respect the Establishment Clause, by showing them how it feels to have somebody else's religion rubbed in their faces.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 07:33:50 AM by John Albert »

Offline Keo_Mitchell

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LaVeyan Satanism = Libertarianism + Cosplay


I hate cosplay.

The only real issue I have with TST is that it uses the Satanism label when you don't need to be a "Satanist" to join the TST. More power to them in their pursuits of political reform but call it what it is, an activist group not Satanism. Side note, in their documents they are listed as Christian, therefore I must reject them!  ;)
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Offline John Albert

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Because Satan is a figure in Christian mythology, most Satanists are Christian by default.

Offline brilligtove

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Because Satan is a figure in Christian mythology, most Satanists are Christian by default.
By that logic Muslims are Jews by default.
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Offline John Albert

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Because Satan is a figure in Christian mythology, most Satanists are Christian by default.

By that logic Muslims are Jews by default.

I misspoke. What I said was reductive. It's wrong to say that most Satanists are Christian by default. In fact, most Satanists are probably atheists.

Classic LaVeyan Satanism rejects the concept of supernatural entities and is all about the transformative power of self-awareness and exercise of the will. The ritual and "magic" they practice may invoke Satan, but is really intended to foster internal empowerment of the self.

The Satanic Temple is mostly a political action organization. Their FAQ explicitly rejects the the supernatural, worship or pacts with the Devil.

But all Satanists do not align themselves with the teachings of Anton LaVey or the actions of The Satanic Temple. "Satanism" is a type or classification of New Age religion, and as such it's very personalized to the whims of individual followers. Some Satanists undoubtedly do worship Satan as a supernatural entity, as opposed to the Judeo-Christian God. And by necessity, those kinds of Satanists patently acknowledge some faith in the Christian worldview and position themselves in opposition to God within that paradigm.

Does that make more sense?

On the other hand, do the Muslims define themselves as Jews? As an atheist myself I can't speak on behalf of Muslims, but it doesn't seem so according to the Koran.

Judaism defines the Hebrews as an ethnic group explicitly favored by the Creator. The Koran upholds that view, as well as the concept of a Covenant ("mithaq") which allegedly expands God's favor to all "People of the Book." But at the same time makes it very clear the difference between Muslims, Christians and Jews, and acknowledges that all three traditions have their own set of laws which Allah intends them to follow.


Offline John Albert

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The only real issue I have with TST is that it uses the Satanism label when you don't need to be a "Satanist" to join the TST. More power to them in their pursuits of political reform but call it what it is, an activist group not Satanism.

TST's entire strategy (for dissuading Christians from pushing their religion in public spaces) is dependent upon being perceived as a legit religion espousing "sincerely held beliefs." Take that away, and their entire purpose falls flat.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2019, 07:33:21 AM by John Albert »

Offline Keo_Mitchell

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TST's entire strategy (for dissuading Christians from pushing their religion in public spaces) is dependent upon being perceived as a legit religion espousing "sincerely held beliefs." Take that away, and their entire purpose falls flat.

Oh I know, it is why I don't like it. Anton's philosophy of Satanism is not only anti-religion (mostly of Christian ideology), but also pushes individuality. TST, in order to have the power they have, needs to unite like-minded individuals into one core group; a herd if you will. The closest thing to satanism the TST has is the character Lucien Greaves, the leader of the TST. The reason I say the character is for the sole reason that TST was born out of a mockumentary during the Bush administration. Other founders of the TST have admitted that the group is not "satanism" but an activist group. My issue with that is it muddies the water and goes against the satanic rules of Anton, namely individuality and liberty. TST members are sheep in wolf's clothing and COS and Lavey are wolves pretending to be sheep.

TST is also facing infighting, which happens when you unite progressives and radical thinkers into one group. You're going to have differing egos and varying differences in political discourse or action; it is why COS chooses to be spread out and not encourage regular, mandatory, come togetherness. An example could be found here. I don't like to see people with aspirations to fail, though I'm certain this sort of niche political group isn't too rare to die out.
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Offline Shibboleth

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Getting excited for this is a little like getting excited for some underdog beating Duke in March Madness. It kind of like it because it is sticking it to the man a little bit but then I remember that I hate college basketball and couldn't give a shit.
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Offline John Albert

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I don't really give a shit about satanism as a philosophy. Christianity is stupid enough in itself. But Satanism, being a reactionary counter-religion to Christianity, is even more dimwitted.

The Church of Satan's philosophy is juvenile and antisocial. Its values are all about egoistic self-indulgence, pretentious posturing, and harming others, rather than promoting any kind of utilitarian morality that would support a civilized society. If everybody followed LaVey's teachings the world would be a horrible place.

For what it's worth, I prefer The Satanic Temple because their Seven Tenets reflect Humanist values, and the organization is actually doing something useful by promoting the separation of religion and government.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 12:11:07 PM by John Albert »