Religious schisms happen, no matter where or how you worship.
Late Wednesday night, the group Satanic Portland announced on Facebook their withdrawal from The Satanic Temple (not to be confused with Church of Satan, arguably best known for their amazing Twitter account). The post cites “[a] lack of accountability and formal organizational structure in The Satanic Temple National Council and Executive Ministries,” which according to The Satanic Temple’s After School Satan Club’s website, is the group in charge of vetting people associated with the youth organization, such as the one that opened in Portland two years ago.
The post further cites actions by members of the Executive Ministries as “allying ourselves with, or fundraising for, those condoning the beliefs of Neo-Nazis or their sympathizers by giving them a platform.”
The freelance journalist Mike Bivins, who first tweeted about Satanic Portland’s announcement, linked to stories by Vox and Jezebel, which point to a deeper division at the national level over Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves’ decision to hire Marc Randazza to represent them in their religious discrimination lawsuit against Twitter, who allegedly suspended their accounts for reporting that a woman encouraged people to burn down their headquarters. Randazza has previously represented Alex Jones and the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer.
“We cannot stand idly by while Patriot Prayer, Proud Boys, and other white supremacist groups march in our city,” the statement concludes, noting that the group is now going by the name under which it originally founded. Satanic Portland says those who still belong to The Satanic Temple may still partake in Satanic Portland activities, which include community service, potlucks and participating in Portland LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations.
Satanic Portland is not the first group to split from the Satanic Temple over their involvement with Randazza: the Los Angeles chapter also broke off ties with the organization and appear to have deleted their dedicated Facebook page, according to Jezebel. The Satanic Temple does not appear to have made any kind of announcement regarding the separation of either chapter.