This is the headline atop the latest Satanist feature in the Detroit Free Press:
I don't know about you, but I'm clicking that link.
But after doing so, here's my question for the Free Press headline writer: Is this really a political story? As much we might like to condemn all politicians to hell (kidding, mostly), isn't this actually a religion story — or given the subject of the debate, a non-religion story?
Let's start at the top:
A new Satanic religious group that debuted in Detroit this month already has encountered outspoken opposition: other Satanists.
The Rev. Tom Erik Raspotnik, 49, of Oxford decries the Satanic Temple’s atheism and progressive ideals. He said his Temples of Satan honors the deity of Satan, and he and others with him are pro-life and believe in animal sacrifices.
“I would be like a tea party Satanist,” Raspotnik said, adding that he has participated in tea party events, but that people at the events might not have known he worships Satan.
Later, a Norwegian expert on Satanism quoted by the Free Press suggests that the Satanic Temple folks underplay the Satan aspect and focus on atheism and free speech/religion issues.
On the other hand:
The Temples of Satan, however, worships Satan: They exchange blood in marriage rituals, practice magic and even sacrifice goats, Raspotnik said, adding that he’s taken part and eaten the goat afterward.
“I’ve also just killed a goat and buried it,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s that phenomenal to eat.”
It's a fascinating story, albeit one that seems tilted toward the Temples of Satan point of view — that is, until you consider that it's actually a follow-up to an earlier Free Press feature this month:
The first story painted a glowing portrait of the non-animal-sacrificing Satanists:
A new religious group aims to bring the devil to Detroit.
The Satanic Temple today marks the launch of its first chapter outside New York. But leaders say they don’t worship Satan. They don’t practice cannibalism, or sacrifice people or animals.
“It’s peaceful,” said Jex Blackmore, 32, local leader and part of the temple’s executive ministry. “The idea of sacrifice specifically is to appease some demon or some god, and that’s a supernatural belief that we don’t subscribe to.”
The group’s tenets include free will, compassion toward all creatures, respect of others’ freedom — including freedom to offend — and beliefs supported by scientific understanding: “We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs,” according to the Satanic Temple’s website.
Presumably, the other Satanists choked on their coffee — and goat meat — when they read that original report and complained to the newspaper. Thus, the follow-up.
The religion beat certainly ain't boring. Can I get an "Amen!" from everyone headed to the Religion Newswriters Association annual meeting in Atlanta this week (#RNA2014)?