Is Michigan Really Home to One of the Oldest Satanic Temple Chapters?
We're heading into the spooky months of the year. Halloween is just around the corner, after all. It springs to mind some of the darker aspects of our everyday life.
For those unaware, there are many sects of Satanism, most of which are vastly misunderstood and sensationalized. Most Satanists are Atheists who don't believe in a literal Satan and live by a code. Others behave more as Humanists.
The most recognizable divide is between the Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple. Both have drastic differences in how they approach their "religion", for lack of a better term. The Church of Satan is recognizable from the 1980-90s Satanic Panic as it was conceptualized by Anton Lavey in the 1960s.
The Satanic Temple, on the other hand, is more prominent in today's landscape as the organization is recognized as a tax-exempt religion, makes political demonstrations, and is more prone to inserting itself into the public eye. For instance, its lead spokesman and co-founder, Lucien Greaves, is often featured on FOX News and other networks to discuss political topics as they relate to religious freedom, a forefront ideal of the Satanic Temple.
The Satanic Temple's followers subscribe to a code of seven tenants:
- I - One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
- II - The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
- III- One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
- IV - 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.
- V - Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs.
- VI - People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
- VII - 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.
That's a bare-bones description of the Satanic Temple, which was only founded 10 years ago in 2013, and its operations, but the subject of this article is to answer a question that may cross the mind of Michiganders as darker imagery fills store shelves and neighborhood streets.
Michigan, after all, has its relationships with . But what about its relationship to the Satanic Temple?
It's true that the Satanic Temple's oldest non-New York-based chapter, and one of the largest in the organization, is in Detroit. That said, it's not as prominent as it once was.
Detroit's chapter was established in August 2014 and fronted by Jex Blackmore, a Detroit native. In 2015, the chapter had over 200 members and was the site of the unveiling of a nearly 9-foot Baphomet (which isn't Satan, by the way) statue. The event was the largest public gathering of Satanists in history with over 600 in attendance. The statue doesn't reside in Michigan any longer, instead, it's in Salem, Massachusets at the Satanic Temple's headquarters.
The Detroit chapter crumbled a bit, at least in the public eye, when Blackmore was removed from the organization. Her role in the documentary Hail Satan? brought her considerable notoriety. However, controversial statements directed at former president Donald Trump and other behaviors led to her dismissal.
As a result, the Detroit chapter is much quieter. The link to the chapter's website is dead, meaning social media is the only means of interaction with the chapter, though they are active and sponsor many events and artists. This isn't much different than the West Michigan chapter based in Grand Rapids.
While the national organization recently celebrated 700,000 members, there's no way of knowing what the number is in Detroit's chapter, as most numbers come from 2015 when the statue was unveiled. Still, its Facebook page has nearly 6,000 followers.