Worshipping of Satan
Carol Kuruvilla’s story: “Satanic Temple Wins Battle to Bring Lucifer Display inside Florida State Capitol.” The Huffington Post, December 05, 2014. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/05/satanic-temple-florida-capitol_n_6277082.html)
During the past winter holiday period many visitors to the Florida Capitol building had a rare opportunity to observe several holiday displays put up in the first-floor rotunda, one of which contained very unusual phrase: “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple”. This particular religious display featured an angel, Lucifer, falling down from the sky into the flames of hell, narrated with Biblical text: “How you are fallen from heaven, o day star, son of dawn.” Although the previous year the same display from the Satanic Temple was rejected for being “offensive”, this year it clearly got it’s much wanted approval.
Worshipping of Satan dates back to the times of early Christian traditions, however as an official religious movement Satanism began with formation of the Church of Satan in 1966. The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements (2012) states that “the 1980s Satanic panic made Satanism a theme of media discourse, but at the same time the mythology presented kept most real Satanism closeted.” (p.218). Contrary to popular belief regarding Satanism as an evil-worshipping and witchcraft religion, Satanist groups mainly emphasize two distinctive elements. One stream views Satan as a supreme supernatural deity, empowered with individualism, wisdom, enlightenment and free will. Where the followers of the second stream, completely abandon divine manifestation and concentrate on human traits such as individualism, egoism, naturalism, materialism and self- deification.
In the recent years the followers of Satanism have decided to come into the light and say it loud that they are Satanist and they are proud of it! However many people believe that such public engagement will only bring more negative backlash from the communities that mostly belong to more traditional, tenured religions that negatively perceive Satanism. In recent memory, Satanists sparked very heated public controversy when a group of Harvard students attempted the re-enactment of Satanic “black mass” on campus
and when the Satanic Temple announced a construction of monument honoring Satan on the front lawn of the Oklahoma state courthouse next to the one portraying Biblical 10 Commandments.