The Satanic Temple is fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
At least that’s what a new documentary about the Satanic Temple wants to prove.
Hail Satan? is a new documentary directed by US film-maker Penny Lane that follows the Satanic Temple and co-founder Lucien Greaves to understand their beliefs and practices. What the film finds: the group is more focused on supporting social justice and human rights than worshipping the devil himself.
The Temple was founded in 2013, and is separate from The Church of Satan, which was founded in 1966 by Anton Lavey in San Francisco, California.
The Temple’s mission is to “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." It follows seven tenets which focus on empathy, compassion, justice and bodily autonomy.
"I had heard about the Satanic Temple when they were doing their campaign in Oklahoma," Lane said, according to BBC News. "I thought it was a very funny joke from afar, that they were sort of pretending to be Satanists, but I discovered they had at that point 50,000 members.”
According to Greaves, the Temple is mostly made up of LGBTQ+ people who feel disowned and disenfranchised from the traditional religious institution, saying “we will always fight them, we will fight them to the death to ensure that there are equal rights for the gay community.”
“From the start, when one of our early actions was the Pink Mass, a lot of LGBTQ people were looking for another community that didn’t see them as defined by their sexual orientation,” Greaves says. “Within the Satanic Temple, we’re all pretty much one and the same. We’re all Satanists and it’s not like we have ‘tolerance’ for trans people or gay people or sex workers, we just don’t fucking care, and a lot of people in those communities appreciate that.”
According to Greaves, the Temple is also involved in Pride parades around the country and vows to protect and fight for the gay community and their rights. The co-founder also says that he regularly receives death threats from white and Christian supremacy groups like the Ku Klux Klan.
“One problem is that a lot of the threats come through Facebook and Facebook has their own policies on regulating death threats they have never found a death threat made against the Satanic Temple to be outside their terms of service,” Greaves explains. “There’s always that question whether or not it’s a credible threat. And you just never know until somebody does something radically stupid. But that’s just part of the day to day.”
Hail Satan? is on demand now.