The Heretics

Queer Satanic memes. We value liberty, bodily autonomy, and fighting unjust hierarchies.

The Satanic Temple has been suing four former members in federal court for coming up on two years over criticism of them made on Facebook, such as the history of the owners and priorities at TST in repeatedly aligning with literal fascists as demonstrated by news articles, TST’s own words, and other public posts.

Also, TST is now suing Newsweek and its reporter for writing about us and this case. Yes, really.

The case was dismissed in February 2021, but TST re-filed to keep it going because it’s a SLAPP, meaning its purpose is to be financially draining to the defendants when the plaintiffs (the ones filing the suit) have more money, which TST does.

On April 16, 2020, the first of four ex-members of The Satanic Temple – Washington Chapter were physically served papers for a lawsuit claiming damages to the tune of nearly $150,000 for defamation, computer hacking, cyberpiracy, tortious interference with business expectancy, and unfair competition. We are seeking funds to cover our legal expenses while we fight this case in federal district court. 

This lawsuit followed the members’ removal from the self-proclaimed grassroots activist organization in March 2020 after leadership expressed increasing concerns about a growing perceived “coalition” of rogue members who they’d like you to believe were rebelling by being insufficiently deferential to authority – which is a hell of a claim for a group supposedly formed around rejecting tyrannical authority.

Here are the basics: David, Nathan, Joshua, and Leah were all in volunteer positions that had been described to us as leadership (we were all head members of respective “guilds” within the org structure, and we were all working to maintain TST’s social media, website, membership, and other assets with full permission). When the four of us were CC’d on an email in a complaint against TST WA “Senior Leadership” by a fellow member, we were assumed to be a part of a “rival” group. Then, when TST’s leadership lost admin privileges to the meme page, they immediately revoked our membership, with no warning or explanation. In fact, they didn’t even let us know they’d done it.

There are obviously individual histories and connections with the organization that are worth mentioning, but these are the highlights: David and Leah joined in June of 2019 looking for a place that could be a productive focus for their leftist activism. Nathan helped found the chapter more than 5 years ago and grew it. Joshua and his then-partner were with TST for over two years, notably attending meetings regularly with their young child. 

This was sprung on us by an organization that doesn’t want the public to know it’s spending your donation money trying to sue former members for defamation and the “theft” of a Facebook page that it has already regained full control over anyway (despite having filed the lawsuit around the assertion that it needed the court’s intervention to accomplish this).

Make no mistake: TST doesn’t want you to know that this lawsuit even exists. Their newsletter containing a progress report of its ongoing legal battles conveniently neglects to acknowledge its existence while making sure there are multiple links prominently redirecting you to its official merchandise.

You would think that a religion whose tenets purport to uphold the freedom of others, the importance of one’s beliefs matching the available evidence, and how great it is for actions to be inspired by compassion and nobility, would put a higher value on the informed consent of the people who support it.

And something definitely sticks in our craw when TST spends all year planning how to commercialize Pride™ while conspicuously telling local chapter members not to wear any TST clothing as part of Black Lives Matter protests. Selling rainbow flags with the TST logo front and center is fine, but then taking an overt stance against police brutality and the underlying white supremacy suddenly risks “hijacking the movement” or “giving conservative media more ammunition,” and is something for other forms of Satanism to engage – just not TST.

According to TST in their lawsuit against us, their brand is tainted by statements of extremist belief such as, “Satan stands as the ultimate icon for selfless revolt. We oppose irrational, unjust hierarchies like white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, & cishet normality.”

We need you to make sure we can see this through to the end, because this is not a fight that TST thought through whatsoever. This lawsuit exists not because they were actually interested in a struggle for justice but because they didn’t think we would be able to fight back. And we don’t want anyone else to have to worry about whether they can openly criticize TST or announce their departure, fearing retaliation from rich people looking to intimidate them in a court case.

The four of us are relatively privileged, but this has clearly impacted our lives, our finances, our relationships with people close to us, our ability to speak out against injustice, and our ability to provide for others who deserve it.

No one should ever be victimized by The Satanic Temple this way again. No one should be afraid of pointing out their history of bad behavior, coziness with right-wing figures, or examples of venality and ineptitude.

We oppose irrational, supernatural approaches to the world, like ableism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and cishet normality.

In order to do that, we need you.