Satanic Temple says IRS recognizes it as a church, gave it tax exempt status

The Satanic Temple's template for a statue of Baphomet is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters June 27, 2014.
The Satanic Temple's template for a statue of Baphomet is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters June 27, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/The Satanic Temple/Handout)

The controversial group the Satanic Temple announced Wednesday that the Internal Revenue Service granted its request for tax exempt status, making it comparable to a church.

In an announcement posted to its Instagram account, the Satanic Temple said they “recently received notice from the IRS affirming our status.”

“This acknowledgement will help make sure The Satanic Temple has the same access to public spaces as other religious organizations affirm our standing in court when battling religious discrimination, and enable us to apply for faith-based government grants,” stated the group.

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Within a day of making the announcement, the Satanic Temple’s Instagram post received more than 14,000 likes, as well as over 1,200 comments.

The Christian Post reached out to the IRS to confirm the Satanic Temple's status, but the agency did not return comment by press time.

The Satanic Temple was founded in part by Douglas Mesner in 2013, who also serves as spokesperson and goes by the name Lucien Greaves. It's not to be confused with the Church of Satan, which was founded in the 1960s by Anton Szandor LaVey, as the Temple itself clarifies on its website.

In its FAQ section, the Satanic Temple claims that its members do not “believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural.”

“The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan,” stated the group.

“To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things.”

The Satanic Temple has been known for its headline-grabbing activism on church and state issues, such as lobbying to put up provocative displays alongside Nativity scenes and Ten Commandments that have been put on public property.

In 2016, the group announced the launch of “After School Satan Clubs” for elementary schools in response to the presence of evangelical Christian Good News Clubs at public schools.

Last November, the group filed a lawsuit against Netflix and Warner Bros. over a depiction of their Baphomet statue in a new spin-off of the television series "Sabrina the Teenage Witch” titled “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”

“Importantly, these original expressions are misappropriated through use of an obvious copy which is featured prominently throughout the 'Sabrina' series and the central focal point of the school in the 'Sabrina' series which represents evil antagonists,” read the complaint in part.

“What makes this case particularly striking and significant is that it arises in the context of Defendants who are highly sophisticated media production and distribution companies which blatantly misappropriated Plaintiff's unique expression of an idea even though they have a long history of vigorously protecting their own intellectual property.”

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