Trouble in Satan Land

We have seen that Jex Blackmore has accused the Satanic Temple of of being racist and sexist while also claiming that she and other women in the group have been sexually harassed by members of the cult. Yet apparently, her article was not good enough for some Satanists.  When Blackmore posted a link to her article in Medium on her Facebook page, she received the following comments.

Gwendolyn Jaye Tomasina Lesch wrote:

Over a year and a half ago, the St Louis Chapter demanded ethics reform on the part of the National Council and Executive Ministry. Their response was to arbitrarily abolish our chapter. The members of the St Louis Chapter responded by forming an autonomous organization. It’s amazing to me that it took a year and a half for you to react to the ethical quandaries and individual maliciousness of NC members when you were fully aware of how they gagged “Mary” and prohibited her from speaking to other members (just ordinary members!) of TST. They barred her from seeking the comfort of connection with other members of their religion.

Then there was the National Council member who threatened to feed false information to police in an attempt to have one of the St Louis Chapterheads swatted.

I’m sorry. But your late reaction to something you were well aware of over a year ago doesn’t sit well. It shouldn’t sit well with anyone who knows how long this has been going on for… And it’s been quite a while.

Nikki Olden Moungo then replied:

As if D) all of the above wasn’t bad enough Gwen, you left out the part where one National Council member was reported for telling a chapter head he “didn’t give a fuck about dead gay kids or trans issues” and how that chapter head was basically excommunicated for whistleblowing on this National Council Member, by the National Council. Or, the part where a potential KC chapter head was rejected because of his ties to a students for peace in Palestine org & labeled a terrorist, even though a council member stepped forward and declared they were also a member of this org. There’s plenty more the hard drive sitting in my safe can easily verify.

Satanist Emma Story posted a link to her article explaining why she is leaving the Satanic Temple.  It seems to mostly center around the Temple hiring Marc J. Randazza of Randazza Legal Group where she raises an interesting point:

View story at Medium.com

The other major point that keeps getting brought up in discussions of Randazza is the fact that he has offered to represent TST pro bono, meaning no valuable resources would be diverted from other campaigns. I agree that this is a rare opportunity, one that I wish TST were given more often. But since this is in fact the case, I have to wonder why so much of TST’s messaging to members and the general public about the Twitter lawsuit has focused on a need to raise funds. I’ve gone back and re-read a lot of this material over the past few weeks and have come to the conclusion that this misdirection is deliberate, and I object to it in the strongest possible terms.

Yet despite all of this smoke, The Friendly Atheist likes to promote this group as a bunch of people concerned about too much litter on the highways.  Go figure.

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4 Responses to Trouble in Satan Land

  1. Dhay says:

    > Then there was the National Council member who threatened to feed false information to police in an attempt to have one of the St Louis Chapterheads swatted.

    I’m British, so might have the wrong end of the stick, here; but doesn’t this say that a member of the National Council of the The Satanic Temple threatened to lie to police so that they would send a heavily armed (and presumably twitchy-fingered) ‘Special Weapons and Tactics Team’ to the home of a leader of the St Louis branch (“Chapter”).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swatting

    Phew!

    *

    I tried to discern which of the Seven Tenets ‘swatting’ conforms to. Probably it’s #2:

    The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.

    https://thesatanictemple.com/pages/faq

    That’ll be it; it’ll be ethical to break the law in order to pursue justice: — justice defined as actions which might adversely affect the reputation of the The Satanic Temple, and in particular its National Council; — justice defined as the silencing of dissent.

    Yes, I can see how a The Satanic Temple National Council member (officer) would want to consider that ethical, how #2 legitimises illegal and potentially murderous swatting.

    Yes, I can see how the National Council and Executive Ministry would want to “arbitrarily abolish our chapter,” how #2 legitimises what in the Jehovah’s Witnesses would be termed the ‘disfellowshipping’ (ie perpetually shunning) of the whole St Louis Chapter (ie branch).

    > It’s amazing to me that it took a year and a half for you to react to the ethical quandaries and individual maliciousness of NC members when you were fully aware of how they gagged “Mary” and prohibited her from speaking to other members (just ordinary members!) of TST. They barred her from seeking the comfort of connection with other members of their religion.

    And how #2 legitimises what in the Jehovah’s Witnesses would be termed the ‘disfellowshipping’ (ie perpetually shunning) of “Mary”.

    *

    But they’ve cleaned up some (if not a lot of) verge-side rubbish … so that proves they’re ethical, yes?

  2. TFBW says:

    Dhay said:

    … justice defined as the silencing of dissent.

    “Social Justice” makes much more sense in that context, given the general behaviour of its activists.

    And yes, “swatting” is the practice of making false reports to police about violent crimes in progress (such as a hostage situation) so that an armed and threat-sensitive response team descends on the victim’s place of residence unexpectedly. A man was shot and killed somewhat recently during such an incident — and he wasn’t even the intended target of the swatting, as the culprit used out-of-date information regarding the address. Nasty, nasty stuff.

  3. Dhay says:

    The ‘The Satanic Temple’ insists it is a religion. Emma Story, who is now a disgruntled ex-member – apparently because the The Satanic Temple HQ is over-controlling and abusive of its power – and who formerly was:

    … involved in the New York City chapter of The Satanic Temple for about two and a half years, first as a regular member, then as media liaison, and now as co-chapter head.

    https://medium.com/@emmastory/why-im-leaving-the-satanic-temple-528bbc06432b

    Story, a person high up, who should know what she’s talking, tells us it’s claimed status as a religion is a key part of its:

    … strategy of using the unique legal power of religious groups in the United States …

    The The Satanic Temple’s case against Twitter for religious discrimination against them – where using Marc Randazza as their attorney is contributing to the “civil war” – is but one such case.

    But I ask myself: what, apart from their vociferous assertion that the The Satanic Temple is a religion (and that it’s not a version of Humanism which — in it’s atheist manifestation at any rate – is emphatically not a religion), what qualifies the The Satanic Temple as a religion? I can declare myself a girl toddler until I’m blue in the face – quite easy when you’re in your ‘Terrible Twos’ – but nobody’s going to take me seriously; so why should anyone take the The Satanic Temple seriously?

    The first thing to point out that is that it is notoriously difficult to define what a religion is; but for all that, if the The Satanic Temple is a religion, there should be something that can be pointed to that makes it objectively a religion.

    It’s not belief in anything supernatural, the supernatural is very explicitly denied. (Even atheistic Buddhism has its supernaturally reincarnated Dalai Lamas and ordinary Lamas and Rinpoches, its supernaturally reincarnated laypeople and its supernaturally reincarnated karmically-challenged rats and insects.)

    Is it their ‘Mission’?:

    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.

    Very bland: it’s obviously designed to be something that anyone can agree to without serious deliberation, perhaps especially without serious deliberation: who could not want to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people”, even beauty pageant contestants famously spout similar vague blandness.

    “Reject tyrannical authority” is equally bland, and it sounds good only until you Google “define tyrannical” and discover the two meanings on the screen are “exercising power in a cruel or arbitrary way” and “characteristic of tyranny; oppressive and controlling”, both of which seem to apply to the tyrannical authority of the The Satanic Temple; as the OP quote testifies:

    Over a year and a half ago, the St Louis Chapter demanded ethics reform on the part of the National Council and Executive Ministry. Their response was to arbitrarily abolish our chapter. The members of the St Louis Chapter responded by forming an autonomous organization. It’s amazing to me that it took a year and a half for you to react to the ethical quandaries and individual maliciousness of NC members when you were fully aware of how they gagged “Mary” and prohibited her from speaking to other members (just ordinary members!) of TST. They barred her from seeking the comfort of connection with other members of their religion.

    Yes, I’d say the behaviour of the The Satanic Temple national leaders fits both descriptions of the tyrannical authority they claim to oppose. What hypocrisy!

    “Advocate practical common sense and justice” is totally bland; and it’s meaningless, in that people and groups with quite different or diametrically opposed practical aims, even people who wouldn’t give time of day to the others, can all of them agree; they mean sometimes very different things by “practical common sense and justice”, but they all reckon they – though not the other guys – are advocating for it. Practical common sense tells me this part is meaningless.

    “Be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will”, whatever it might mean – this is an organisational Mission statement, remember – sends my bland platitude detector off the scale; and finding that “define noble” returns “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles”, it’s plain that there’s a distinct lack of nobility in the The Satanic Temple national leadership:

    Then there was the National Council member who threatened to feed false information to police in an attempt to have one of the St Louis Chapterheads swatted.

    Irrespective of whether the The Satanic Temple actually does or does not live up to its Mission statement, I note that every commercial organisation, every Service, every charity, probably just about any and every group or organisation everywhere – has a broadly similar Mission statement. There’s nothing explicitly religious there, certainly nothing that only a religion would include. It’s not good evidence that the The Satanic Temple is a religion.

    *

    Is it their ‘Seven Fundamental Tenets’?:

    #1 – One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
    #2 – The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
    #3 – One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
    #4 – The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own.
    #5 – Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
    #6 – People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and remediate any harm that may have been caused.
    #7 – Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

    (And there’s a footnote to the list in the FAQs: “Materially, we believe in nothing that is not demonstrably true, and hold to even those beliefs with an understanding that they, too, must remain open to revision in the light of new scientific understandings.” It’s not one of the Tenets, though.)

    Hmmm, I rather think that these Seven Fundamental Tenets (and footnote) are but an ethical code. There’s as much religiosity in Utilitarianism, which nobody thinks of as a religion. There’s the implicit reification of ‘Science and Reason’, but it’s only implicit and never raised to the status of explicit, let alone worshipped.

    What else? I am indebted to Jerry Coyne’s recent discussion of attempts to make a university’s ice-cream politically correct (don’t ask) for the realisation that religions have not just ethical codes and creeds but also observances: if the The Satanic Temple has official and characteristic observances I’ve missed them, please link; as far as I can tell, the The Satanic Temple has fewer observances than vegetarianism and veganism.

    So what makes the The Satanic Temple the religion it so desperately needs to be? What?

  4. grodrigues says:

    #3 implies that no punishment like incarceration can be meted out on anyone. Also, I do not know if you are copy-pasting verbatim, their own words, but what they really mean in #3 is that one’s own *will* is inviolable — they are not exactly sharp.

    The rest is just the usual modernist tripe one would expect. And it is all a lie.

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