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The Melting Down Over This RBG Satanic Temple Op-Ed Is Peak ‘I Only Read the Headline’

The Baphomet statue is seen in the conversion room at the Satanic Temple

HuffPost Personal published an op-ed Thursday from a woman explaining how the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg led her to the Satanic Temple, where she found a source of solace and support in their specific brand of activism.

“I am a 40-something attorney and mother who lives in a quiet neighborhood with a yard and a garage full of scooters and soccer balls,” writes Jamie Smith. “I often walk with my children to get ice cream and spend weekends hiking through a national park. I am not the type of person who would normally consider becoming a Satanist, but these are not normal times.”

Following the publication of the article, “Satanic Temple” began trending on Twitter, as it often does when the group makes headlines and other people—mostly conservative politicians and media figures—don’t read past those headlines. Ben Shapiro tweeted about it, as did the senior editor of the Federalist. A whole lot of people with American flags in their bios are online talking about a “battle of good vs. evil.”

With a headline like “The Death Of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pushed Me To Join The Satanic Temple,” the article was obviously meant to stir up a “wait, what” sort of reaction. But if any of these people freaking out actually read the article they were sharing (or otherwise knew anything about the subject), they’d know that the Satanic Temple has nothing to do with worshiping or even believing in Satan as a literal or religious figure.

Rather, the group seeks to, as Smith writes, “turn religious arguments on their head by pushing for religious liberty for their members on an equal basis with believers in the dominant Christian faiths.”

“And this is not just a theoretical push,” Smith explains. “The temple has launched campaigns and filed lawsuits to compel the government to do this in matters ranging from exemptions from legal mandates to cover birth control to the ability to display religious symbols in government buildings or allow religious clubs in public schools. By pointing out instances where the government has favored Christian rhetoric ― and filing legal challenges to stop it ― the Satanic Temple has transformed belief into action and has demonstrated what freedom fighting truly looks like.”

The Satanic Temple also has a code of seven fundamental tenets, which include acting with empathy, respecting bodily autonomy and the freedoms of others, and refusing to distort science to fit one’s existing beliefs–i.e. facts don’t care about your feelings. Quick, someone fetch Ben Shapiro his fainting couch!

Smith writes of the Temple:

This is an organization I want standing up for my rights and for my daughters’. While I support more mainstream groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Church and State, my research has shown that the Satanic Temple is truly in line with my beliefs about protecting our First Amendment rights and fighting laws that promote or are based on religious doctrine and that it is willing to use radical, creative and yet legally sound strategies to make its case.

The absolutely delightful Netflix show Teenage Bounty Hunters had a fun nod to the Satanic Temple recently, highlighting the disconnect between the perception of the group and their actual focus on “egalitarianism, social justice, and the separation of church and state.”

Clearly, the takeaway is that Ben Shapiro should spend more time watching cute Netflix shows. He might find it relaxing as well as informative!

(image: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.