Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Satanic Language: A Question About The Satanic Temple

Satanic Language: A Question About The Satanic Temple

Gavin Baltes

Religion is a fundamental aspect of American society, one that has become so interwoven into the fabric of our culture and politics that many don’t actively realize the true extent to which religion has subverted what should, in truth, be a secular institution. This paper notes the way in which one new religious group, The Satanic Temple, has decided to fight back against this religious overreach by utilizing a method best described as “fighting fire with fire”. The Satanic Temple is known for using satire, their satanic nature, and religious language to provoke opponents into inadvertently aiding the Temple in accomplishing its goals, and in doing so revealing these acts of overreach for what they truly are. By analyzing several pieces of literature related to the Temple, including novels, articles, movie interviews, and even the direct writings of the Temple itself, this paper aims to not only understand how exactly the Temple’s methods, especially those related to religious language, function, but also how the Temple’s actions draw attention to the surprisingly biased way in which American society views religion and religious freedom. Through the use of shock and awe tactics, and by manipulating the religious superstition of their adversaries, the Temple forces their opponents to either afford the Satanic Temple equal standing or admit their own hypocrisy. Furthermore, the actions the Temple takes forces those who witness them to question the paradigm many have long taken for granted. Finally, in doing so, the Temple forces us to reevaluate long-held beliefs about what can and cannot be considered a religion.

April 20, 2022 - Posted by | abstract


  1. Sounds very interesting! I wonder how their messages regarding bodily autonomy have been received (or ignored) by politicians and other agencies who aim to restrict access to abortions based on shrouded religious morality. I know they had promoted joining the Temple for women in states where it’s been recently restricted, but I haven’t heard of any cases where membership was actually used to gain access to abortion in those states. If it has actually helped some women in that way, that would be a good sign that their strategy is effective.

    Comment by Carly | April 22, 2022 | Reply

  2. Your paper sounds fascinating, Gavin. I am researching the rights of the Native American Church (and their ceremonial use of peyote) for a final paper in a different class. It’s interesting to consider the experiences of a Church that hasn’t gotten the same recognition as others due to cultural perceptions of what is ‘acceptable’.

    Comment by Patience | April 23, 2022 | Reply

  3. This sounds very interesting and possibly quite funny as well. I’ve always said that religious groups in the United States have far too much power and their members are mostly (though not completely) hypocrites. I would really like to read your paper!

    Comment by Casey Carter | April 28, 2022 | Reply

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