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(RNS) — Jex Blackmore is a Satanist, as she plainly admits to the camera in Director Penny Lane’s documentary “Hail Satan?,” a portrait of the 30-something Blackmore that opened earlier this year.
But she’s not a Satan worshipper. A self-proclaimed “Satanic feminist,” she was until recently a national spokesperson for the non-theistic, religious-****-political-activist group called The Satanic Temple. She defines a Satanist as “an individual who embraces her pariah status and actively challenges arbitrary authority in defense of personal sovereignty.”
Devil - Understanding - Symbol - Defiance - Independence
The devil, in her understanding, is “a symbol of defiance, independence, wisdom and self-empowerment and serves as an affirmation of natural existence.”
The Satanic Temple is what, on the internet, they call a “troll”: a spoof meant to raise hackles. It uses the rhetoric of religious devil-worship not to actually honor any supernatural being — its members are explicitly secular — but to call attention to potential loopholes in religious freedom laws designed to benefit the Christian right.
Simply - Satanic - Temple - Malcolm - Jerry
Simply put, The Satanic Temple, founded in 2012 by Malcolm Jerry and Lucien Greaves (both are pseudonyms), is an absurdist political performance. In the group’s first high-profile outing in 2013, its members, dressed in flowing black robes, held a rally to show their approval for a recently signed Florida law that would allow schoolchildren to read “inspirational” messages at school functions — a workaround masterminded by Gov. Rick Scott to start the school day with a prayer or Bible verse. “Hail Satan. Hail Rick Scott,” their signs read.
Its most recent triumph was convincing the Internal Revenue Service that it is a bona fide religion.
Satire - Line - Art - Menace - Blackmore
That satire can sometimes blur the line between art and real menace. Blackmore and The Satanic Temple parted ways not long after “Hail Satan?” appeared, due to a scene in the film in which Blackmore, surrounded by pigs’ heads on spikes and half-naked...
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