You may recall that following the erection of a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol in Oklahoma, a Hindu group proposed putting up a statue to their god Hanuman and a Satanic group has proposed one too. Gideon Resnick joined the New York—based Satanic Temple to learn more people behind the latter effort. This group of Satanists seems closer in outlook to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster than to anything occult.
The spokesperson for the Satanic Temple is a shadowy Internet figure called Douglas Mesner, who goes by Lucien Greaves in professional satanic contexts. (His cell phone number contains the digits 666.) Although he claims to have a fervent disregard for media attention and answers questions in a semi-hushed, monotone voice, Mesner widely and adamantly pushes his firebrand agenda. He’s written for the Skeptical Inquirer, a site published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which aims to debunk paranormal activities and “fringe science.” He also had a blog on an online forum called Atheist Nexus.
It seems that the only magic Mesner conjures or believes in is the magic of media attention. In July of last year, Mesner officiated at a ceremony he referred to as a “pink mass,” declaring that it would turn the mother of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church gay for all eternity. During the ritual, two couples (one gay and one lesbian) kissed over the grave of Fred Phelps’s mother, Catherine Idalette Johnston, while Mesner presided over them, wearing a horned helmet that made him look like Loki from the Avengers.
When it comes to actual devil worship, Mesner has little faith. “I think that idea is silly,” he said. “I can’t even conceive of that actually being the case.” Then he added politely, “I mean, I try to respect other people’s beliefs as far as that kind of thing goes.”
There is always room for fun and wacky groups like this one.