Penny Lane’s documentary about The Satanic Temple’s grassroots activism is hilarious but thought-provoking
In 2013, an organization billing itself as The Satanic Temple made a minor news splashwhen it mounted a press conference at the Florida State Capitol to praise Governor Rick Scott for signing a bill to permit student-led “inspirational messages” at school events. The group issued a statement in support of freedom of religion, saying that the bill “has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school.” It was a puckish take on a thinly disguised, widely unpopular attempt to return religion to public schools, but while the event itself only featured a handful of self-declared Satanists in black clothes and Halloween-costume robes, it drew a fair amount of press attention for its sheer outrageousness.
On a sunny morning in early 2000, Joseph Matheny woke up to find conspiracy theorists camped out on his lawn again. He was making coffee when he noticed a face peering in a ground-floor window of the small, three-story building he rented in Santa Cruz. Past the peeper, there were three other men in their early 20s loitering awkwardly. Matheny sighed and stepped outside. He already knew what they wanted. They wanted to know the truth about Ong’s Hat. They wanted the secret to interdimensional travel.
From the “God Hates Fags” vitriol of the Westboro Baptist Church to the white supremacist and homophobic totalitarianism of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the violent neo-Nazi advocates of “racial holy war” in the Creativity Movement, examples of hate metastasizing via religious dogma abound.
The Twelve Tribes, a Christian fundamentalist cult born in the American South in the 1970s, is little-known to much of the country, and on first impression its communes and hippie-vibed restaurants and cafes can seem quaint and bucolic. But beneath the surface lies a tangle of doctrine that teaches its followers that slavery was “a marvelous opportunity” for black people, who are deemed by the Bible to be servants of whites, and that homosexuals deserve no less than death.
The project includes a selection of 140 books from Loompanics Unlimited publishers, Washington. Out of business since 2006, this publishing house had for decades published manuals that ‘your mother and the state would rather you didn’t read’. Subjects varied from practical handbooks on ‘How to Develop a Low- Cost Family Food- Storage System’ to less generally acceptable publications as ‘Gourmet Cannabis Cookery’ and controversial self-help books as ‘How to Start Your Own Country’, ‘Homemade Guns and Homemade Arms’, or ‘How to Clear Your Adult and Juvenile Criminal Records’. Users are invited to read the publications and make copies of the manuals, meaning they can follow instructions and realise projects on their own.
To allow users free access to material, bypassing reproduction rights and encouraging them to use the manuals themselves.
Users gain free access to Loompanics publications
Bik van der Pol, readers of Loompanics publications and users of the museum