The Satanic Temple is now a full-fledged religion in the eyes of the IRS.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now recognizes The Satanic Temple (TST) as a church. This big decision means TST can enjoy the same benefits other religious organizations do, including protection from discrimination and exemption from paying taxes.
The tax-exempt status gives TST several other legal protections which other religions have, like unfettered access to all public spaces, digging in its legal stand in court when combating religious discrimination issues, and helping TST to make proper applications for faith-centric government grants.
Lucien Greaves, the founder of TST, issued a statement saying accepting the benefits of tax exemption given to religions and not giving up this advantage to protest, could help to assert claims better when it comes to exemption and equal access. The acceptance of being officially recognized as a valid religion will remove any suspicion of TST not satisfying the qualifications of a religious organization. He concluded his statement by asserting that Satanism will continue to exist.
It is to be noted that TST has earlier rejected the pursuance of tax-exempt status, which Greaves reversed only in 2017 after President Donald Trump signed an executive order giving “religious freedom” to the like-minded. In a TST newsletter, Greaves elaborated on the reasons as to why he changed his stance. The TST co-founder pointed out as the "religious" carve out their own space from society to be a privileged class, TST must ensure that superstition does not dominate over non-belief or non-theistic thought. He added that the group must make sure that secular and atheistic non-profits, who put forward a separate opinion on religion, are by themselves the rightful religious tax beneficiaries when it is the matter of religious tax exemption.
Cool Satanism is tax free now… Sweet! https://t.co/nQPcBFqHgH
— Sean Peck (@cageheavymetal) April 26, 2019
WAIT UNTIL MIKE PENCE FINDS OUT: https://t.co/mJj4FHqMPX
— Lori Magno (@ModaMags) April 26, 2019
The origins and activities of TST were covered in the recent documentary film Hail Satan?. It was noted that the TST was established in 2013 as a joke. Its founders wanted to shine a line on the murky, dark area of slowly reducing the separation of the church and the state. The organization has progressed a lot since then. It has become more media savvy and evolved into a genuine grassroots activist and religious movement. It enjoyed a large addition of members following Donald Trump’s elections as president of the United States. Penny Lane, the director of Hail Satan? loved the idea of recording the birth of a new religion before her eyes.