What better way to kick off the open line than to troll Sen. Jason Rapert with this New York Times profile of the two provocateurs from Boston who created the Satantic Temple to establish a serious means of contesting politicians who like to cram their religion down the throats of others.
The Satanic Temple came up with the statue of the deity Baphomet to offer Oklahoma as a balance to that state’s placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds. They think perhaps their movement to open the grounds to all spiritual comers might have contributed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court decision that the Christian memorial had to go (a decision being resisted by Oklahoma Republican politicians, naturally).
The Satanists have now threatened to cart their deity to Arkansas to answer Sen. Jason Rapert’s Christian tribute (do not be confused by his dishonest claim it’s a tribute to the foundation of law; if we had laws that prohibited covetousness certain precincts would be emptied of residents.)
Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry are the pseudonyms by which the Satanists are known. Greaves has also been identified as Doug Mesner, but that’s said to be pseudonym, too.
Greaves put a wompdown on Rapert in a letter we published the other day. Rapert declines to debate Greaves. Given the intellectual heft of each, it’s easy to see why.
Their method is humor, but their point is serious and humor is a particularly effective weapon against posturing, pompous preachers like, well …….
“The first conception was in response to George W. Bush’s creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives,” said Mr. Jarry, who was raised by irreligious Jews. “I thought, ‘There should be some kind of counter.’ ” He hit on the idea of starting a faith-based organization that met all the Bush administration’s criteria for receiving funds, but was repugnant to them. “Imagine if a Satanic organization applied for funds,” he remembered thinking. “It would sink the whole program.”
That idea percolated until 2012. At an event at Harvard, Mr. Jarry, who was taking graduate classes there, met the man who became “Mr. Greaves,” a man who, when not participating in Satanic Temple activism, is often called Douglas Mesner. He is now 39 years old and says he “does some odd jobs” for a living. Mr. Jarry and Mr. Mesner bonded over a shared distaste for organized religion and an inclination to fight back with mischief.
At the time, Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, was pushing a bill to allow voluntary prayer at public school functions. After the bill passed, the two traveled to Florida to make their feelings known.
“So we created this mock rally in support of Rick Scott,” Mr. Jarry recalled, “where we were coming out to say how happy we were because now our Satanic children could pray to Satan in school.”
Wouldn’t you love to see an intellectual cage match between Rapert and Greaves? I’ll hire the hall.