A Michigan Satanist has denounced the newly-formed Detroit Satanist Temple because of its progressive views, high number of atheists and disavowal of animal sacrifice.
According the Detroit Free Press, Oxford, Michigan’s Rev. Tom Erik Raspotnik, 49, claims that his Satanist group is more valid because Detroit’s Satanists are espousing liberal and atheist views.
“I would be like a Tea Party Satanist,” Raspotnik told the Free Press. His group, he said, worships the deity Satan, is pro-life and believes in animal sacrifice as an act of worship.
Raspotnik said that he has participated in many Tea Party protests and other political events, but doubts that those people realize that he worships the Lord of Darkness.
His group, he said, has around 200 members around the country and is known as the Temples of Satan, not the Satanic Temple.
The Satanic Temple of Detroit was founded earlier this month and is an offshoot of the Satanic Temple of New York, founded by activist Lucien Greaves. The Detroit chapter has about 20 members. The group is led by 32-year-old Jex Blackmore, a University of Michigan graduate who says that the group does not ascribe to “supernaturalism.”
The Satanic Temple of Detroit, Blackmore told the Free Press, uses “logic and rationality to understand our world.”
Temples of Satan and other more traditional adherents to Satanism find Blackmore and Greaves’ version of Satanism highly objectionable for its atheistic leanings.
Cindy Fleming — Raspotnik’s fiancée — runs the Temple of the Ancient Dragon, a shop in the Gibraltar Trade Center mall that sells occult-themed jewelry and knick knacks. She said that the Satanic Temple Satanists aren’t real Satanists at all.
“An atheist is what?” Fleming said. “They don’t believe in anything, any religion — so why are they using a religion to do it? That is hypocritical, it’s an oxymoron and it’s not even credible.”
The largest Satanic group nationwide is the Church of Satan, which has thousands of members nationwide. When the Free Press contacted its top cleric, High Priest Magus Peter Gilmore, he said via email, “We see nothing of value in the actions of this handful of individuals.”
Satanism expert Jesper Aagaard Petersen, an associate professor of religious education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology told the Free Press that the new, Satanic Temple branch of Satanism is something of an outlier with regards to people who have traditionally called themselves Satanists in that they are de-emphasizing the actual worship of Satan and demonic forces.
“You have to understand, though,” Petersen said, “that the Satanic Temple is really underplaying the Satan angle and focusing on the atheist and free speech/religion issues in general, which has garnered a lot of support.”
Traditionalists like Raspotnik and Fleming believe, however, that this misses the point entirely. They believe in elaborate rituals, spell-casting, blood exchanges during wedding vows and animal sacrifice, usually in the form of goats.
Raspotnik has taken part in rituals, he said, where the goat is killed and eaten.
“I’ve also just killed a goat and buried it,” he said to the Free Press. “I just don’t think it’s that phenomenal to eat.”
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[Image of Cindy Fleming, screencap]