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Guest Article

Lawsuits, The Satanic Temple

August 28, 2023

The Satanic Temple is a threat to all Satanists

The Temple admits its members have more to fear from TST than they realize

Longtime followers of The Satanic Temple’s legal history will know the Temple is, by design, a far greater threat to its own members than it has ever been interested in, or capable of, posing to the Christian Right.

It’s still wild to see TST explicitly confirming this in its own FAQ.

TST's activities typically receive widespread support and glowing reviews. Unfortunately, our efforts sometimes attract negative attention from evangelists, violent abusers, and those seeking to profit from criticism of us. Some of these people join TST so that they can claim to be former members. Negative comments are often outright lies and defamatory. In instances where there is libel, we often take legal action. If you come across sensational accusations, the smallest amount of research is enough to debunk false claims.
Entry began appearing no later than April 29, 2022, per Archive.org

There’s a lot to unpack here, but let’s start with the obvious:

The Satanic Temple — the “bona fide” religion that runs around touting the “Freedom to Offend” — is also putting a [metaphorical] gun on the table and saying, “It sure would be a shame if something happened to the people that offend us.”

See also, this thread:


If you’ve ever donated to The Satanic Temple thinking it would be used to protect abortion rights, or just to help keep the lights on for some cheeky satanic trolls, there’s a nonzero chance that your money is actually being used to bankroll legal threats against people who criticize them on TikTok or Facebook.

See the The Satanic Housewife’s forced retraction video and circumstances behind it, for example.

The idea The Satanic Temple actively commits resources to spy on and threaten people who criticize them on social media isn’t some conspiracy theory to be debunked with “the smallest amount of research” — it’s something that TST flatly admitted in federal court they do.

3. I joined TST as paid contractor in September of 2021.
4. My job for TST is to provide email administrative support. My job duties include answering emails to the general website, editing the TST monthly newsletter, and other special projects. Included in those special projects is monitoring social media for comments about TST. I look for both positive and negative comments and I flag defamatory comments for further review.
5. Shortly after joining TST, I was made aware of the dispute between TST and the Defendants.

Also, the fact that this pseudonymous contractor’s statement (“Rachel Chambliss”) shows up in a doomed 11th-hour briefing — in a demand that was legally and constitutionally incapable of being granted in the Temple’s favor, but was filed anyway — is a bright neon sign as to what “further review” actually means for TST.

This is a religion that is now suing Newsweek for reporting on our SLAPP, by the way.

The Satanic Temple claimed, with no trace of irony, that it was defamatory for Newsweek to report anyone comparing TST to Scientology.

The claim very predictably failed.

After leaving, it was basically Scientology-lite,’ [a former member] told Newsweek in an email. ‘People were told not to talk to us. Members were trying to break up my relationship with my boyfriend. Several people were legally threatened. I know quite a few people who have refused to speak out at all because they fear legal action from [The Satanic Temple].’”

“Once she [a former member] became known as a dissenter, she said, members of [The Satanic Temple’s] national council threatened to out her to the Marine Corps, her employer, despite the Corps already being aware of [her] religious activities.” 

Plaintiff argues that it never harassed dissenters in the described manner and that the statements are defamatory because they “invite[] the public to conclude that [The Satanic Temple] has a practice of harassing dissenters, which diminishes the likelihood of the public joining [The Satanic Temple] or donating to [The Satanic Temple].”
Critically, these are not accusations or factual statements by Newsweek or Duin. They, as reflected with the bolded portions of the statements, are a recounting of what was previously said to Duin… an article is not defamatory if the article attributes the statement to a source; makes clear that it is a mere allegation; and prints a denial of the allegation...

Here, the Article expressly attributes the accusations to former members of The Satanic Temple. And, rather than adopt the accusations as its own, the Article supplied the other side of the story: “‘We get this litany of senseless disparaging claims against us that says we’re a religious group acting in a nefarious manner,’ [Greaves] said. ‘They call us a cult, which doesn’t stand up to scrutiny either… I don’t think there is anything incredibly cult-like in what we do.’” This sort of balanced reporting (which is in contrast to the treatment of the sexual abuse accusation discussed above) precludes a finding of defamation.

The Satanic Temple is very bad at law, and its business model leans heavily on the average supporter not knowing the extent to which TST insists on making its organizational and legal incompetence everyone else’s problem, while pretending the whole time that “at least they’re doing something!”

And this is all without getting into how The Satanic Temple’s owners have used their religious nonprofit to fundraise for SLAPP suits — then also showed that money being funneled to a different, for-profit corp in the process.

(Massachusetts Attorney General, feel free to email or DM us any time.)

Just incredibly brazen stuff here.


For-profit corporation: United Federation of Churches LLC dba “The Satanic Temple”


Nonprofit church: The Satanic Temple (Inc.)

Donations raised benefit:

The Satanic Temple 
Registered nonprofit
Salem, MA
EIN: 823404757
Donations raised benefit: The Satanic Temple | Registered nonprofit | Salem, MA | EIN: 823404757
Updates (1)
MARCH 4, 2021
by Malcolm Jarry, Organizer
The Court issued a decision dismissing our claims on technical grounds. However, except for a single claim, the Court granted leave to re-plead all of the claims.

We intend to file an amended complaint as the Court allowed, and continuing pursuing these several claims against the Defendants.

With regard to the one claim which the Court did not permit us to re-plead, we are conside
ring all options, including a possible appeal.

Malcolm Jarry 
Salem, MA

The Satanic Temple 
Registered nonprofit

The for-profit is suing us. The nonprofit church was collecting money for the lawsuit — explicitly for the purpose of trying to divert funds from our own legal defense fundraiser.

In addition to using identical or almost identical names depending on the listing, both corporations share the same owners (or their pseudonyms), HQ, and website. Neither has any financial transparency.

Despite this, we beat The Satanic Temple’s incompetent defamation claim in federal court because “criticizing someone’s religious/political beliefs” is protected speech. That doesn’t change when it’s a church beseeching the state to punish speech that allegedly interferes with the church’s donation stream.

The Satanic Temple failed that claim for many reasons, but rather than take the L and spend its resources on actual threats to human rights, they’re appealing the dismissal, trying to establish precedent that would make it easier for churches to retaliate against critics.

The Satanic Temple is making a pro-theocracy argument to bind over 62 million people within the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

...Rather than using the doctrine defensively to protect its internal management decisions from a court’s interference as envisioned by the Free Exercise Clause, The Satanic Temple asserts that it should be allowed to use the doctrine as a sword by which it employs courts to affirmatively impose its views of its beliefs, tenets, and practices on dissenting members. 

In other words, instead of asking courts to step aside from matters involving a religious organization’s beliefs, tenets, or practices, The Satanic Temple is inviting courts to become directly involved in religious disputes by imposing The Satanic Temple’s views of its beliefs and practices on dissenting members. The Satanic Temple cites no authority in support of this novel concept and the Expelled Members have found no cases in which a court allowed a religious organization to affirmatively wield the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine as a sword—essentially establishing a de facto blasphemy law.
Full brief text

Or, more bluntly: TST is staking its legitimacy as a religion on the extent to which it can redefine the law to marginalize its own politically convenient targets in turn.

It’s not enough to simply say that The Satanic Temple is being “hypocritical”, or has “good intentions” but can’t help blundering. The court record shows TST actively committing resources to endangering religious freedom further, and is willing to cause any amount of human shrapnel in the process.

There’s one other part of the FAQ worth highlighting:

From The Satanic Temple’s website’s FAQ section: “I saw something disparaging about TST online” TST's activities typically receive widespread support and glowing reviews. Unfortunately, our efforts sometimes attract negative attention from evangelists, violent abusers, and those seeking to profit from criticism of us. Some of these people join TST so that they can claim to be former members. Negative comments are often outright lies and defamatory. In instances where there is libel, we often take legal action. If you come across sensational accusations, the smallest amount of research is enough to debunk false claims.

“Some people join TST just to claim to be former members.”

It really encapsulates the ethos that we think makes The Satanic Temple an immediate threat to people who get involved with TST in the present day.

The Satanic Temple’s statement is despicable for a couple reasons, not least for how much it echoes pro-cop and union-busting rhetoric portraying organizers and whistleblowers as “third party interference” or “outside agitators” whose repression is justified in the pursuit of “pragmatism.”

But the more immediate problem is that it encourages members and lay supporters to prove their sincerity and commitment to The Satanic Temple by being on the lookout for “fake members,” who need only be identified by whether they have criticism about TST itself and are willing to speak up on it.

And what happens when that “negative commentary” is firsthand experience with abuse, exploitation, harassment, or other harm within The Satanic Temple?

It’s not like any organization is immune to it.

But here, your religious community is made of people who are primed to conflate all criticism of The Satanic Temple as potential conspiracy to hurt TST, who look at lawsuits as handy ways to make critics disappear, and whose lawyer Matt Kezhaya will outright admit to just making shit up to hurt you further.

"In other words, through this comment TST’s counsel admits that the value of the case is far less than $80,000. He further publicly explained that the reason he wanted to be in federal court with the now-dismissed federal claims was to maximize damages and collect attorneys’ fees (“I wanted some federal statutes to apply because that would maximize TST’s damages, would keep us in Federal court (as opposed to state court), and provided the option to collect attorneys’ fees for having to litigate this”). This, too, suggests that TST’s newly asserted damage contentions are merely pretextual for the purpose of trying to remain in federal court."

I (Nathan) was a founding member of The Satanic Temple’s Washington State chapter: there is photographic evidence of my involvement almost the entire time.

Nathan Sullivan standing with a "your body, your choices" sign during a Satanic Temple public action circa 2017
Nathan Sullivan standing with a “your body, your choices” sign during a Satanic Temple public action circa 2017.

The idea I would voluntarily spend almost six years of my life as a sleeper agent building a community from nothing, just to destroy it, is delusional.

But that’s the kind of paranoid dogshit The Satanic Temple needs you to swallow in order to rationalize what the Temple actually does with its resources, or to rationalize not asking what it’s doing with those resources, or how it decides on those decisions to begin with.

In my time within The Satanic Temple, I reached out to and interviewed probably hundreds of people interested in TST membership and local involvement. Many, many people applied because they didn’t have any other community and wanted, if not activism, then refuge — especially after the 2016 election.

It is absolutely my experience that of those who stayed, the ones who spoke up the loudest about wanting to make The Satanic Temple better than it was (better at serving its most vulnerable members) were the ones with the most to lose when TST failed — or refused — to live up to its own values.

Those people ultimately left because raising concerns through “the proper channels” was ignored, or they were purged from membership because their “negative commentary” was declared proof of a conspiracy to harm TST. (Or because they were friends with someone making that commentary.)

And that’s not unique. That has happened again, and is going to keep happening.


Think of the people who most resonate with The Temple’s purported message about reason, compassion, and escaping Christian Nationalism — the people who are compelled to seek TST membership in the first place.

There is a massive overlap between the kind of person who is most threatened by Christian Nationalism, and the kind of person whom The Satanic Temple would declare it a matter of practicality to threaten into silence for having been disillusioned or victimized by TST locally.

And when you understand that The Satanic Temple is designed, on purpose, to only benefit two people — two dipshit Boomers with a history of reactionary, extractive politics — you understand why that overlap isn’t a coincidence, and why the culture that results is only going to hurt more people.

The Satanic Temple is a threat to the earnest pursuit of religious freedom and bodily autonomy everywhere, and it must be stopped.

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