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An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 14.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 22, 2017

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,087

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

An interview with Grand Master Scott Robb. He discusses: clarification on the Satanic Laws; the most crucial Satanic Laws and ethics; ideals; worship and ritualism; Satanic demographics; covert and overt theocracies; striving, to a degree, to be like Satan; geography of the Darkside International Ministry; Electronic Frontier Canada’s Blue Ribbon Campaign; violation of rights; and the Black Ribbon Campaign.

Keywords: Darkside International Ministry, grand master, religion, Scott Robb.

An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

*I had more questions.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We discussed Satanic ethics with the implications of the “sins.” Also, there are Satanic Laws or Lex Satanicus, namely:

  1. Do not share your troubles, or give opinions or advice, unless you are sure that others want to hear them. Complaining is the refuge of those who have no self-reliance.
  2. When in another’s dwelling, show them respect or else do not go there. Or, if a guest in your dwelling annoys you, treat them cruelly.
  3. Do not steal that which does not belong to you.
  4. Do not make sexual advances unless the other individual is willing and of, or over, the age of consent.
  5. Do not harm young children under any circumstances.
  6. Do not kill non-human animals unless in defense or for food.
  7. Do not deceive yourself with absurd exaggerations of who, or what, you are.
  8. Fear not men, nor fates, nor gods, nor laughter of folk folly, nor any other power.
  9. When in neutral territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not, use whatever force is necessary to defend yourself.
  10. If you have used magic successfully to obtain your desires, acknowledge its power.
  11. Otherwise, do what you will.

My hope and trust remains most people adhere to these in some form or other, even if not cognizant of it. However, I realize the reality. Many imply the Harm Principle and Utilitarian ethics, with something interesting.

An active form of the Utilitarian ethic through practical recommendations: if something is harmful, even mildly, then this or that can help solve the problem. It is like anesthesia for the purpose of surgery – minor pain for eventual good.

These recommendations range from personal complaints to sex, and to realistic self-perceptions and to stop feeling fear. Does this seem correct to you? Also, for number 11, what is the standard misinterpretation of it – as often happens with the variation from Crowley?

Grand Master Scott Robb: Ya, I would say you are correct in seeing our Laws as ranging from personal complaints to sex and to realistic self-perceptions and prevent fear. I think the standard misinterpretation of “do what you will” is that it must mean do whatever you want. Like most laws of the land, there are always some who perceive written laws contrary to how they were intended. Similar to Americans who misunderstand the second amendment, as a guarantee for anyone to carry a gun, without acknowledging the first part of the amendment requiring a “well-regulated militia”. In reality, it means that one can exercise what has become known as “human rights”, what one puts their mind to and does not bother or harm others.

2. Jacobsen: Of these Lex Satanicus and the Satanic ethics, what ones seem most crucial to you, especially in functional utility in daily life – as in the most often used in day-to-day activities and interactions?

Robb: I think an essence of the whole is used in day-to-day activities, that being to live one’s own life without interfering with anyone else’s. I think that is a common theme with our Laws and Sins to be as self-reliant and independent as possible.

3. Jacobsen: Christians aim to become in the likeness and image of God through Jesus Christ. They want to become Christ-like. Muslims want to become more Mohammed-like. These represent ideals for about half of the world’s population in Christianity and Islam, respectively, as you know. Any words on these purported ideal figures or the attempts to become like them?

Robb: Similar to Buddhists who believe that when one dies they become part of the transcendental spirit, or enlightened being, they call “the Buddha”. It is definitely a common theme among most of the world’s religions to become more like their perfected-spirit, or God. As Satanists we look at this in a slightly different way. We accept that we are not perfect beings, and that we never will be, but we exist to be the best we can. Through constant research and acquiring as much knowledge as we can, and passing that knowledge on to future generations. That is how we create our legacy, to make sure that we are remembered after we die. As Anton LaVey has even said, as long as we are remembered, even if remembered by only one person in each future generation, we will never die. The important part is controlling what we are remembered for.

4. Jacobsen: Does the worship and ritualism in the mainstream, dominant religions in the world seem primarily passive rather than active? What benefits come from the mainline religions if any?

Robb: Most mainstream religions are largely passive, until they want converts or anyone stands up to oppose them (see the reaction of Christians in America towards Atheists or to the Satanic Temple) at which time Christians, like the various Muslim denominations, become either almost or literally militant. I think that all of the world’s religions have some benefits for those who subscribe to the respective beliefs, but I don’t think that every individual can benefit from the same point of view all the time. In fact, there are millions of people raised in, and other times forced in, to religions they do not actually subscribe to. At some point they will revolt and leave whatever religion it may be. The result is increasingly militant, and often religiously misinformed, atheists who try to force all religions into the same box as Christianity (which is ridiculous because some religions have one God, some have two or more Gods, and others have no Gods), which benefits no one.

But, those who do subscribe to their religion of their own free will benefit from the level guidance, either directly from the text of their religion or from the clergy/scholars who lead in their churches or in some cases even the other members of their congregation/community, which they need at that point in their life.

5. Jacobsen: Who tends to be drawn to the Satanic message – demographics?

Robb: In my personal experience over the last 22 years, going back to when I started studying the Occult and Satanism back in 1995 (at the age of 16), I have observed that the demographic of people interested in Satanism is relatively equal among males and females and range in age from 13 years of age up to about 80-ish (I have heard from elderly people who seemed genuinely interested in learning more about Satanism and its beliefs/activities).

6. Jacobsen: As seems like the case to me, and likely to you, too, governments tend to promote religion, especially forms that keep the population at a low cultural and intellectual level. One recent example, the stoppage of the educational curricula devoted to evolution in the nation of Turkey. One, does this seem true to you? Two, if so, how is this done? Three, why is this done? Four, what can combat it? Five, is it worth it?

Robb: Some nations are run as covert, or in some cases overt, theocracies. Turkey, like all Middle Eastern nations, is very much overt theocracies that promote Islam as their state religions. Other nations, like America and Russia, for the most part at least, are run as covert theocracies. My own observation has been that it’s predominately rightwing and far-right governments, and sometimes far-left governments, that push religion more then more centre/centre-left governments. Take Canada, as an example, which was influenced by Protestant England, and was created to be a very Christian nation is now credited as one of the most (if not thee most) secular nations in the world, thanks to the 150 year history of mostly Liberal influence that has made Canada the all-inclusive nation it is today.

I think Karl Marx had it right when he wrote, “Religion is the opium of the people”. Whatever the dominant religion is in any given country, the government uses it to manipulate the people to view things in a specific way. Trump, for example, is a very chauvinist, xenophobic, homophobic, far-right Christian. He has used such views to manipulate the American citizenry who share those views and cause them to rise up and attack minorities, while at the same time colluding with an enemy state in violation of the US Constitution (which clearly states that the US cannot be influenced by foreign powers). Like Trump, Hitler, and many other leaders who use this technique, they simply take the religious views of the populous and manipulate it to fit whatever agenda they happen to have. In Hitler’s case he took a very Catholic populous in Germany and manipulated the people into believing that Jews were the murderers of Christ and, to use the actual words from some of Hitler’s own speeches, likened Jews to the “serpents” and “vipers” who needed to be exterminated, this gained Hitler the support needed to start rounding up Jews, first for deportation, but when all other nations rejected the Jews Hitler resorted to his “final solution” of extermination. Trump, today, is doing the exact same thing with Muslims. Making unsubstantiated and unwarranted claims against Muslims in his speeches. If not for other nations accepting Muslims, and other minorities, from America, it is a distinct possibility that Trump would have lined up a similar solution as Hitler. Perhaps not executions, but very likely internments of some sort.

7. Jacobsen: Satan is the bringer of light and enlightenment in Satanism. This image becomes the ideal for Satanists. Does becoming more like the image of the Devil equate to the ultimate purpose of Satanism?

Robb: First of all, “Lucifer” that is the Light Bearer (in fact, the word “Lucifer” is Latin for “light bearer”). “Satan” is Hebrew for “Accuser, Opposer, & Adversary”.

To an extent, yes, the symbol of Lucifer was chosen specifically as a symbol of Enlightenment, a pinnacle aspect of what Satanists strive for in life.

8. Jacobsen: You divide the areas for Darkside International Ministry into the Organization of the American States, European Union, African Union, Asia, and Australia. Why these divisions?

For example, the Organization of the American States includes Canada, and the Latin American and South American countries – with America – as one bloc. What efficiency, or benefit, comes from this organizational map for operations?

Robb: To make an International Religious Organization I know early on that I, as the international leader, could not possibly over see everything in every region. I knew that I would have to divide regions and create reasonable regional zones that could more easily organize our Ministry. I first researched different regions and found that internationally there are such regional organizations. The Organization of American States, European Union, and African Union actually exist (in fact, below the map of the regions the flags are actually the flags of those regional organizations). It just made logical sense, to me, to have Asia and Australia as additional regions.

As for efficiency, it means having 5 “Lord Templars” (senior council members) to meet with for our meetings, and they have their “High Templars” (council members) to assist them in their region and can take their place in meetings if necessary. They each meet within their own regions as is required for the jurisdiction in the countries of their region (should be at least once per year, some jurisdictions require meetings at least once a month).

9. Jacobsen: You support Electronic Frontier Canada’s Blue Ribbon Campaign. It is for freedom of expression. As the site notes, “This right is protected by law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section 2), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 19), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 19).”

Why is freedom of expression for clear and open communication – also for the polity? How can people become involved and support it, even without explicit inclusion of the Blue Ribbon Campaign?

Robb: We only support the Blue Ribbon Campaign’s anti-censorship and freedom of speech/expression views. We simply followed the instructions on their website to get involved and support them. By contacting them to register as a supporter and to add the HTML code they supply to our website to show that we support their cause.

10. Jacobsen: Who tends to violate these rights? What can prevent them from the violation of the rights? What seems like their motivation?

Robb: Some governments, as I mentioned earlier the far-right, rightwing, and far left try to push their views while trying to crush all opposition, this is what the Satanic Temple contends with in their campaigns and political actions (of which we also support, but at present are not officially associated with). But, more often it is the rest of society. Specifically, other religious groups (most specifically Christian denominations) and, to some extent, atheists.

I am inclined to believe that the motivation of denying our rights is because we effectively represent their opposition, responsibility and enlightenment.

11. Jacobsen: Also, Darkside International Ministry is part of the Black Ribbon Campaign (for Occult Education). I note this powerful quote, from you, where you said or typed:

FBI Special Agent Kenneth V. Lanning felt this first-hand when he pointed out that Satanists are not criminals and, as a result, was accused of being a Satanist. The Black Ribbon is an important way to raise awareness of the occult, and the true practices of occultists, in order to allow the Occultists to practice there beliefs and practices in peace and not have to defend themselves from others who accuse and attack Occultists on one side and have racists, killers, child molesters, and other criminals attempting to get out of prison time by claiming a connection to Occult organizations.

I understand the situation more from reading this. At root, it’s unfair scapegoating, of the occult and occultists, with the extreme cases listed in the quotation.

As a further introduction to the Black Ribbon Campaign, through information not necessarily in the webpage, what is it? How can people help out in its dissemination? What are the barriers to its dissemination? What have been some of its honest failures and successes, if any?

Robb: The Black Ribbon Campaign is a campaign I started, as a side project, to educate the general public and to raise awareness of the Occult and what it actually is. Mainly what is known as the metaphysical realm (also known as “the hidden sciences”). Which, aside from Satanism, also includes many other aspects that fall into the category of Parapsychology (for example, use of correct use of Witchboards which is sold to the public under the name Ouija boards which everyone seems to mispronounce, theory and practice of magic, meditation, astral-projection, lucid dreaming, psychic ability, paranormal activity, and ufology). After I completed seminary and received my “Reverend” title from the Universal Life Church Seminary in 2000/01, I received an honorary degree in Metaphysics for my work as a scholar and educator of the Occult.

People can help be showing support with the display of our Black Ribbon Campaign logo on their websites, to wear Black Ribbons and inform others of the campaign, and to donate what they can using the PayPal donation link at the bottom of the Black Ribbon Campaign page.

The barrier thus far is the fact we only had a small show of support for the Black Ribbon Campaign. The success of the Black Ribbon Campaign has been that we have reached a few interested people over the years. The most obvious failure, as I said, is we have not had enough exposure to be more successful in the Campaign.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Grand Master, High Priest, Founder, and President, Reverend Scott Robb, Darkside International Ministry.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 22, 2017, at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017, at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three) [Online].July 2017; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, July 22). An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A, July. 2017. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A (July 2017). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 14.A (2017):July. 2017. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Three) [Internet]. (2017, July; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-three.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 14.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 15, 2017

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,760

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

An interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists.  They discuss: the general perspective of the irreligious by the religious; main forms of bias, bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice experienced by atheists in Edmonton; allies within the community for the nonbelieving community; premier events provided by the Edmonton Society of Atheists; main attraction for atheists in the area to come to the events of the Society of Edmonton Atheists; consistent messages from atheist thought leaders; central reasons for people to become atheists; examples of prejudice; and some of the future goals of the social group in terms of outreach, growth, and providing more for the social group, present and future. 

Keywords: atheists, Edmonton, Society of Edmonton Atheists.

An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

The Society of Edmonton Atheists is a community of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and skeptics. It is purposed for constructive activism, open discussion, and non-believing education and philanthropy. It was a Meetup group, became a non-profit in 2008, and focuses on the building of an atheist community, public awareness of atheism, and volunteer activities. I reached out to the Edmonton Society of Atheists to learn about the situation for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and skeptics in Edmonton, and the broader Alberta culture. The current president, Karen Lumley Kerr, agreed with the idea of an educational series on building a nonbelieving community, especially looking at the national and international communities’ ways of potentially helping grow provincial and local atheist communities. Here is the result of our conversations.

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With the framework set for this educational series, we know about 70-80% of the Canadian population adheres to some faith or spiritual tradition. In Alberta, and especially Edmonton, the stereotype is a, not necessarily the most religious by numbers but, a hyper-religious set of congregations across the religious spectrum, especially the Christian denominations. To start, what is the general perspective of the irreligious on the part of the religious in Edmonton, in Alberta?

Society of Edmonton Atheists: Generally speaking we are welcome in the bigger cities like Edmonton and Calgary, where the demographic of nonbelievers is higher, and diversity bigger. Interfaith dialogue and discussions happen often in the bigger cities. Atheists in Alberta are more at risk of discrimination in smaller rural towns.

2. Jacobsen: What are the main forms of bias, bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice experienced by atheists in Edmonton, as reported by members of the Edmonton Society for Atheists?

Edmonton Atheists: When we attend interfaith events some people have told us that they felt compelled to avoid our group, I’ve watched people walk past and around our booths at various events before.

The worst cases are when we are trying to remove The Lord’s Prayer (which is protected here) in public schools /before council meetings etc and when members of our group fought for a public school board in Morinville a number of years ago.  Many of those families were ostracized and moved out of the town because of the attitudes of others.

3. Jacobsen: Who tend to be allies within the community for the nonbelieving community? Those able to provide support, community, conversation, and so on.

Edmonton Atheists: In the past, the Unitarian church and sometimes the United churches have shared speakers and events with us. We are going to be embarking on a secular refugee sponsorship with a United Church in the next few weeks (still waiting on government paperwork).

We also belong to the Edmonton Interfaith Center for Education and have spoken at events hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslims.

There are secular religious people who work alongside atheists in groups such as Alberta Pro-choice or APUPIL (Albertan Parents for Unbiased Public Inclusive Learning).  These alliances are more one to one individual type of relationships rather than community groups.

4. Jacobsen: What are some of the premier events provided by the Edmonton Society of Atheists at the moment?

Edmonton Atheists: We hold a variety of events each month, from coffee nights, roundtable discussions, book club, breakfasts and pub nights, to counter-apologetics evenings.  There is usually something for everyone.  Two of our larger events coming up soon are marching in Pride Parade (June 10th) and a potluck bbq for Summer Solstice (June 17th).

We try to have big name speakers a few times a year.  We’ve hosted speakers such as Aron Ra, Richard Carrier, Justin Scheiber, and David Silverman in the past.  Through the AB Secular Conference, which we are founding sponsors of, have brought Ali Rizvi, Matt Dillahunty, Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist (just to name a few), to our province.

5. Jacobsen: As the Society of Edmonton Atheists, as a local social group, what is the main attraction for atheists in the area to come to the events of the Society of Edmonton Atheists?

Edmonton Atheists: Generally we find that people have recently left their church or religious group and are looking for like-minded friends.  Others join in order to get involved in some of our secular activism.

6. Jacobsen: With bringing some of the prominent names in the atheist community including Ali Rizvi, Matt Dillahunty, Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist, Aron Ra, Richard Carrier, Justin Scheiber, David Silverman, and so on, what have been the consistent messages from them, from their presentations?

Edmonton Atheists: That we have the freedom to speak up, so we shouldn’t take that for granted.  There are atheists around the world who can’t speak up without fear of repercussions, jail time or even death.

7. Jacobsen: In an interaction with the small community of atheists in Edmonton, what have been the central reasons for people to become atheists? Noting, of course, the largest single group, regarding religion, in the city of Edmonton are those without religious affiliation. 

Edmonton Atheists: Most lose their faith over a few years, very few can pinpoint exactly when they became an atheist.  The story is generally the same, asking questions that were not answered by their religious leaders and then researching on their own.   Logically the stories they were taught start to crumble, and they lose their faith little by little.

We also have some members who were raised secularly, so didn’t have to untangle from religion at all.  These types usually come to us more to be active in our outreach and activism.

8. Jacobsen: Even though those in other countries can have their fundamental belief in – ahem – non-belief have them executed, imprisoned, or considered even terrorists as in Saudi Arabia, there are more subtle forms of prejudice and discrimination against irreligious people in Edmonton, in Alberta, and in Canada. You touched on some aspects of having a booth be avoided, or controversy surrounding the Lord’s Prayer, which amounts to forms of tacit social privileges for the faithful, especially the Christian (Catholic and Protestant, mostly, in this country). What about stories or narratives from members of the social group? How does this discrimination play out in their lives? Any stark examples?

Edmonton Atheists: I think the main examples were those that the families in Mornville faced after trying to get a secular school set up there (there was only a Catholic option up until that point). I know a lot of those families had to leave the city due to being ostracized.

9. Jacobsen: Any books popular within the group? Why those texts?

Edmonton Atheists: I don’t think there are any specific books that are more popular than others. We do run a book club each month and try to rotate through various themes, different sciences, even apologetics books. We’ve also added in the odd fiction book now and again if it’s somehow related, we read A Handmaid’s Tale at the beginning of the year for example.

10. Jacobsen: What are some of the future goals of the social group in terms of outreach, growth, and providing more for the social group, present and future?

Edmonton Atheists: We are pretty busy in so much as we have an event on every week, but I’d really like to get more outreach going. Ideas that have been tossed around are speaking at churches to try to squash some of the stereotypes, holding Atheism 101 events every now and again that are open to the public, and I am also now involved with the Edmonton Interfaith group, so want to start nurturing that relationship. I’ll be speaking in September at a conference that includes non-theists, progressive Christians, and humanists, alongside Minister Gretta Vosper, so I’m very much looking forward to that: http://everwonderconference.ca/.

Appendix I: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists [Online].July 2017; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, July 15). An Interview with the Society of Edmonton AtheistsRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A, July. 2017. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A (July 2017). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with the Society of Edmonton AtheistsIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with the Society of Edmonton AtheistsIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 14.A (2017):July. 2017. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with the Society of Edmonton Atheists [Internet]. (2017, July; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-the-society-of-edmonton-atheists.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 14.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 8, 2017

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,076

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

An interview with Grand Master Scott Robb. He discusses: foundational categories of Satanic worship; these rituals within the Darkside International Ministry; the significance of ritual tools; the highest date in the Satanic religion, as well as other important dates; Timothy Leary and Aleister Crowley; core principle under Satanic ethics; Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, the Marquis de Sade, George Bernard Shaw, Friedrich Nietzsche, Dr. John Dee, Aleister Crowley, Ragnar Redbeard as inspirations for Satanic thought, others, and why; hysterical reactions to Satanism; political leanings of the Darkside International Ministry; Gnostic Order of the Cathars and the Darkside International Ministry; evidence for the traditions going back to the Neolithic period (10,000 B.C.E.); the lowest and highest form of magic with examples; and the reactions of the dominant religions to Satanism.

Keywords: Darkside International Ministry, grand master, religion, Scott Robb.

An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two)[1],[2]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

*I had more questions.*

15. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Satanic worship comprises three foundational kinds: “sexual, to fulfill a desire; compassionate, to help either another or oneself; and destructive, used to productively vent anger or hate.” What may be involved in each type of basic ritual?

Grand Master Scott Robb: In general terms, these three rituals require one thing, an emotional release. It is also for this reason that Satanic Rituals are extremely private to each individual practitioner (or Satanist). The particular emotion released would be different depending on which ritual is being performed, for example, in a Lust Rite (sexual) the practitioner must orgasm (which obviously mean some form of autoerotica involving fantasizing about whomever the individual lusts for). The Compassion Rite involves sadness, the more real the tears for the person’s condition/situation the more likely the desired effect will occur). In a Curse Rite (destructive) the practitioner expresses anger in a constructive, yet safe, manner (usually in a dramatic form of destruction).

16. Jacobsen: How would these rituals through Darkside International Ministry differ, in some basic ways, from other organizations engaged in alternate ritualism from the dominant religions/ways of life?

Robb: Satanic Rituals are very individualistic, there are specific components that will vary by the practitioner, regardless of organizational ties they may have. As long as they follow the basic rules of Satanism, like never harming children, not harming animals unless for food or in defense, not to make sexual advances unless the other individual(s) consent, and not harming others unless in defense.

17. Jacobsen: What is the significance of “black robe, an altar, the Scapegoat (symbol displayed above the altar), candles, a chalice, elixir (any drink most pleasing to the palate), a sword, and parchment (can be regular paper or animal hid)” for the ritual – piece-by-piece, please?

Robb: First off, none of these listed items are required in EVERY ritual. Many practitioners don’t have everything listed and can still perform rituals with success. For the most part, the items are used to set the mood, as I alluded to in the question about the three basic rituals, Satanic Rituals are all about expressing/venting emotions. Specifically, the Altar is used as a focal point on which the practitioner(s) focus their emotions. The black robes, chalice, Scapegoat, elixir, and candles simply add to the emotional ambiance. The candles also serve another purpose as well, in rituals that most often use all of these listed items will usually have one black candle (for Lust and Compassion desires, which are previously written on the parchment to be burned in) and one white candle (to burn the curse desires, which are also previously written on the parchment) placed on the altar, this is meant to symbolically elevate the desires into the ether (what is used as parchment is up to the practitioner and what they are able to acquire easily). The Sword is used for only two things, 1) to use as a pointer to point to the 4 cardinal compass points (North, East, South, and West), and 2) to hold the parchment in the flame of the appropriate candle on the altar.

18. Jacobsen: Even though the highest date in a Satanic religion is one’s own birth date, what years and dates, on the mainstream Gregorian calendar, have significance over others – outside of Halloween, and solstices and equinoxes?

Robb: As you said, the date of one’s own birth is the highest holiday for Satanists, the highest mass holiday celebrated by Satanists is Walpurgistnach Day, which falls on May 1st every year. Halloween (October 31st) is the next in line of importance for Satanic Holidays. After that, the Vernal Equinox in March (around the 20th or 21st) is the Satanic/Pagan New Year, the Hibernal Solstice in December (around the 20th or 21st) and Estival Solstice in June (around the 20th or 21st) and the Autumnal Equinox in September (around the 20th or 21st) mark the changes in seasons that are also of great importance to all pagan religions.

19. Jacobsen: Timothy Leary stated that he considered himself carrying on the work of Aleister Crowley. Who else seems to be carrying on the work of either Leary or Crowley – those more known and less known?

Robb: No doubt it is Timothy Leary’s view that drugs play a role in opening up the mind to altered states of perception. There are not many Satanists, save for young dabblers, who see any link to drugs and rituals. Crowley’s reputation with various drugs (Cocaine and Heroin specifically from my own research, though I have suspected Crowley likely also used LSD) is well known, and likely the reason that many outside of Satanism believe there is a required component of drug use. There really is not. Leary obviously is not much of a Satanist, even if he claims he is.

20. Jacobsen: What is the core principle undergirding Satanic ethics?

Robb: The ethics of Satanism (Stupidity, Pretentiousness, Egotism, Self-Deceit, Herd-Conformity, Lack Perspective, Forgetting Past Orthodoxies Counterproductive Pride, and Lack Of Perspective), coupled with the Satanic Laws, simply are meant to keep the individual in line, like any ethical code. I’ve always found them to speak for themselves.

21. Jacobsen: Why are “Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, the Marquis de Sade, George Bernard Shaw, Friedrich Nietzsche, Dr. John Dee, Aleister Crowley, Ragnar Redbeard” and others the inspiration for Satanic thought? Anyone living?

Robb: Each of these men contributed certain perspectives of Satanic Philosophies in their lifetimes. I cannot specifically name any living persons, those who are Satanists are due to their rights to privacy until such time as they decide to make it known publically (and most never do). Really most philosophers, realists, rationalists, even many scientists, have contributed perspectives to Satanic Philosophies, most of them are Satanists, and often non-Satanists still agree with the Satanic Philosophies without actually realizing it. It is part of the reason why it is our view that Satanists are similar to Jews in the sense that we are almost a race, we are all born with certain views that either develop into our personal beliefs later in life or are suppressed. This is why there are so many in the world who do not admit to being Satanists but still follow, or display characteristics of, Satanic philosophies or views.

22. Jacobsen: What are some of the more hysterical reactions you have witnessed, or learned about, regarding Satanism from the wider Canadian, and global, culture?

Robb: The most hysterical reactions are the insistence of many in the general public who think that Satanists worship a devil or are possessed by demons. The whole idea of such things is absurd Christianisations of things far older than Christianity. Satanism is at least 12000 years old, which makes it at least 10000 years older than Christianity, so the view that Satanism must believe in the Christian Devil is outright ridiculous

Possessions, if you look at those who actually believe in them, are always either Christian or some link to Christianity (for example Voodoo which is African folk magic merged with Catholicism, Santarianism which is Mexican folk magic merged with Catholicism, and so on). But, to my knowledge, there are not any Pagan religions that believe in possessions. The Wiccans I have talked to have no stories at all of the possessions.

The basic fact that the word “Satan” comes from the HEBREW word for Accuser or Opposer, and was used as a Jewish title for what is now known as Prosecuting Attorney. The Philosophies of Satanism and all its beliefs are very distinctly Pagan and have a lot in common with Wicca (as I have mentioned before, Wicca and Satanism share a common ancestry, much like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam also share a common ancestry).

And lastly, I think the hysteria that the very Christian extreme right-wing NAZI movement of Germany between the late 1920s through to the 1940s (and their white supremacist contemporaries) having any claim of interest in the Occult is also just as ridiculous as the claims of possessions and devils/demons actually existing.

23. Jacobsen: Satanism, in its principles and values, and so implied politics, how does this influence the political positions of the Darkside International Ministry, e.g. not being Right-wing and even being against Right-wing politics?

Robb: If we were to apply the political spectrum to politics, Satanism would be a left-leaning centrist, with the three Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) to the far right, with Buddhism/Hinduism, and other Pagan religions are the right-leaning centrists. On the farther left would be Atheists, who are a little too far on the extreme end, but do have some overlap with Satanism.

I would place them on this spectrum this way because of the fact that Satanism is a very individualistic religion that believes in rights, especially of women, children, abortion, minorities, and the LGBTQ community, while the far right views are against all of these views.

24. Jacobsen: What is the Gnostic Order of the Cathars? How are they similar to the Darkside International Ministry? How are they different?

Robb: Based on what I know of the Cathars, I would have to say the similarities end with the Christian persecutions. Satanism has always been persecuted by Christians, the Cathars, as I understand it, were also persecuted throughout their existence

Satanists are not generally baptized, as the Cathars were, the Satanic Baptism ritual is more of a cleansing of previous baptisms that are performed on request by individuals who chose to leave Christianity (or other religions) that baptize children against their will. As I understand it Cathars believed they were elevated to the level of “perfect” after baptism, whereas Satanists know we are flawed but know those flaws are part of what makes us the human animal.

Satanists are also not dualistic, we view good and evil as opinions, some that are shared by others, other opinions that may not be. For example, Christians believe that one should never kill, but they still send people off to war to essentially kill others, and they constantly attempt to justify killing in certain cases, but never to the satisfaction of their own 10 Commandments that pretty clearly say DO NOT KILL. Satanists, on the other hand, know that it may be required to accept things like killing. There are situations in which someone attacks us, and in the course of defending ourselves will result in the death of our attacker, there is also the concept of war in which society has to defend itself and most definitely results in death, or even the necessary death of animals for our food so that we can survive. Therefore, things like killing can be both good and bad, depending on the context.

25. Jacobsen: What is the evidence in support of the claim that traditions run back to the Neolithic period at 10,000 B.C.E.? How are the rituals and symbolisms similar between 10,000 B.C.E. and in Satanic ritual practitioner methodologies now?

Robb: In the late 1990s, in Southern France, an Anthropologist was vacationing with his family and, while exploring a cave, found what he confirmed to be cave paintings from the Neolithic Era that depicted scenes of human bodies with the heads of dual-horned animals (bison, cows, antelope, goats, etc) that, he admitted, were not consistent with tribal hunts. I heard him in an interview on CBC radio explaining that it looked like humans involved in an animalistic ritual scene. This description is identical to what Satanic Rituals have looked like from today, from the Crowleyan period in the late 19th and early 20th century, and going back to depictions recorded of the Templar in the 12th to 14th centuries. It also is strikingly similar to older renditions of Baphomet, like the image of Pazuzu (see the inserted image below). There are also depictions and other records that seem to definitively describe Satanic imagery and practices, not to mention Satanic Philosophies going back to classical pagan societies like the Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Romans, and Ancient Greeks. When all the evidence is looked at individually the connection may not be quite as obvious as when you look at all the evidence in the bigger picture.

The image of the dual-horned animal in Satanism is still very much as prominent in Satanism today as it was going back 12000 years. From Pan to Faunus to Ammon, Hathoor, Osiris to Pazuzu to Cernunnos to Baphomet, etc. It has been one of the remaining constants, despite the name of Satanism changing several times over its 12000-year long history.

 

26. Jacobsen: From your view, what is the lowest form of magic and ritual? What is the highest form? What are examples of this? Why is this distinction important?

Robb: In short, Greater Magic is more ritualistic, as LaVey described it: Greater Magic is a form of ritual practice that is meant as a psychodrama to focus one’s emotional energy for the desired purpose (see the three basic types of rituals in your above question). While Lesser Magic is more of a manipulation of others using applied psychology.

Aleister Crowley used to mention an anecdote of his own use of Lesser Magic on one of his trips in New York. According to Crowley’s anecdote, he saw a well-dressed, wealthy man with a quite distinctive stride. According to Crowley, he went up behind the man and imitated the man’s stride, then pretended to stumble. The wealthy well-dressed man then fell without coming into contact with anyone or anything. This anecdote is probably the best example of the successful use of Lesser Magic.

27. Jacobsen: With a basic reading of the dominant world religions – Roman Catholic Christianity, Sunni Islam, Hinduism, Chinese traditional religion, Buddhism, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity – and from personal observations, how may practitioners of those religions react to Satanism, respectively?

Robb: I don’t believe any of your listed dominate world religions react to Satanism respectively. As I have said earlier, Christians (in all their denominations, including the Eastern Orthodoxies) have always persecuted Satanists and other Pagans for at least the last 700 years. Islam and Chinese Traditional religion have also looked down on more Pagan views. However, I think Buddhism, with its philosophical view of the world and everything in it, I think Buddhists are much more likely to engage in respectful discussions with Satanists. Hinduism is a bit difficult to judge, as Buddha was a Hindu Prince, and I have a very basic knowledge of their beliefs, they could be similar to Buddhism to the willingness to engage in respectful discussions, as a prominent Occultist, HP Blavatsky, did play a role in returning India’s indigenous religion (Hinduism) after the British ended their occupation.

Just a personal side note, my paternal side (father and his family) were all raised Catholic, but most of them left the Catholic Church. My maternal side (mother and her family) were raised Buddhist and for the most part still are Buddhist. Whereas I was raised an atheist and studied Satanism for about 2 years before coming out as a Satanist at the age of 17 (21 years ago as of a few months ago).

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Grand Master, High Priest, Founder, and President, Reverend Scott Robb, Darkside International Ministry.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 8, 2017, at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017, at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two) [Online].July 2017; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, July 1). An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A, July. 2017. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A (July 2017). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 14.A (2017):July. 2017. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part Two) [Internet]. (2017, July; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry-part-two.

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An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 14.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 1, 2017

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,027

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

An interview with Grand Master Scott Robb. He discusses: content and purpose of Darkside International Ministries; demographics of the organization; tasks and responsibilities that come with the position of founder, grand master, high priest, reverend, and president; formalized ranking system; purpose of the priesthood, the council, and the individual priests, and the look of a wedding, baptism, funeral, and ordination through the rituals of the Darkside International Ministry; source and reason for hysteria around magic; worshiping the metaphoric representation of Satan as the “bearer of light, the spirit of the air, and the personification of enlightenment”; the self as the “highest embodiment of human life”; rational self-interest; perennial threats to the free practice of the ministry; future initiatives and areas for growth; ways to shop or donate the Darkside International Ministry, which is a registered religious charity; and final feelings and thoughts.

Keywords: Darkside International Ministry, grand master, Satan, Scott Robb, self.

An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One)[1],[2]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: The historical roots of the Darkside Collective Ministry are from the Hermetic Order of the Knights Templar in the 14th century in France, the Hell-Fire Club of Sir Francis Dashwood in the 18th century, and, of course, Aleister Crowley’s ritual magic of the 19th and 20th centuries, among others.

Another, more modern, individual can be seen with Anton LaVey. With this eclectic history, and noble arc of black figures and orders, what is the coda statement on the content and purpose of the Darkside International Ministry (formed late March, 1999)?

Grand Master Scott Robb: The content is no different then the philosophies and practices of our pagan ancestors. The purpose, simply, is that certain circumstances over the last 60+ years have taken away from the essence of our pagan origins. Specifically, Anton LaVey turned out to be a greedy attention seeker who only formed the Church of Satan to sell ministerial degrees and ordinations to the highest bidders with no regard to the knowledge or accomplishments one has in the philosophies and practices of Satanism.

This is the reason that Church of Satan co-founding minister, Michael Aquino, left the Church of Satan to form the Temple of Set in 1975. Knowing that, at the time, the public where not ready to accept the philosophies and rituals of Satanism, Aquino opted to keep the workings of the Temple of Set secret and only known by members and supporters. I was only made aware of these facts in private dialogue I personally had years ago with Michael Aquino.

Lucien Greaves, and his Satanic Temple, however, should be praised for their taking the core beliefs and philosophies of Satanism to a higher, social justice level. He, and his groups’ members, have shown that the youth of the world are now ready for a more prosperous future for all.

2. Jacobsen: You are based in Edmonton, Alberta. Some view this area of Canada as its ‘Bible Belt’, which tends to be a title reserved for the American South. Even though you’re spread throughout “Canada, America, Australia, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa,” why headquarter with the Central Church there – irony? More seriously, what are the demographics of the Darkside International Ministry?

Robb: Heh, well, our ministry started after a conversation I had with a friend of mine from Tel Aviv, Israel back in 1998. We decided that Satanism needed to get back to its pagan roots, and that the Church of Satan’s management since LaVey’s 1997 death was getting much worse under Peter H Gilmore and Peggy Nadimira, so we decided to create our own Ministry. Since she was about to come of age for her mandatory service with the Israeli Defence Force, It was decided that Israel probably wasn’t the best place to headquarter our ministry, both because of the religious conflict already present and her service in the IDF which would have caused her undue stress. In fact, she requested that her involvement in our ministry remain a secret, so I will not mention her name here.

Barely a year after starting these discussions, in 1998, I moved to Edmonton, and by the start of 1999 we had settled on starting our ministry and the rest is, as they say, history.

3. Jacobsen: As the founder, grand master, high priest, reverend, and president for Darkside International Ministry, what tasks and responsibilities come with the position(s)?

Robb: Well, so far, I have been overseeing the administrative requirements of the ministry; with the council I oversee the application process in accepting members and elevating existing members to higher ranks when awarded. I have also been the principal spokesperson for our ministry as well, though we have had a few others speak for our ministry as well.

4. Jacobsen: There is a formalized ranking system:

Grand Master ­ International Leader (only one in the Ministry)

Lord Templar ­ Senior Council members (along with the Grand Master, the Lord Templar make up the ruling body of the Darkside Collective Ministry)

High Templar ­ Council Members (determined regionally; Lord Templars nominate Senior Templars in their region, nominees must be approved by Grand Master)

Senior Templar ­ Highest general membership (there may be an unlimited number of members in this level)

Templar ­ Member for nine years or more (there may be an unlimited number of members in this level)

Squire ­ Member for three years or more (there may be an unlimited number of members in this level)

Initiate ­ Member for less then three years (there may be an unlimited number of members in this level)

Does this structure mirror another organizational hierarchy such as the freemasons? Also, why this structure? Why these titles?

Robb: Again, we chose a throwback structure to our pagan ancestry, the Hermetic Order of the Knights Templar, until they were nearly eradicated in 1307, were among the last above-ground pagan (and in all likelihood, Satanic) order. They performed rituals, some of which were similar to the Freemasons of today, were performed under a statue of the Baphomet (statue descriptions were recorded in Catholic records before they were destroyed, Eliphas Levi’s famous sketch of Baphomet was based on those descriptions). Satanists since the end of the 19th Century have also used the Baphomet in some orientation or other. Many unknowingly think that the Church of Satan started the use of the Sigil of Baphomet in Satanic Rituals, but the Sigil of Baphomet had been used long enough before that it was published in a French publication in 1961, and later translated into English in 1963, the book is entitled “Magic and the Supernatural” by Maurice Bessy.

I have a copy of the book myself, there are images throughout that depict the Baphomet figure, not just the Sigil of Baphomet, some are strikingly similar to the Eliphas Levi sketch, all of which relates the images to Satanism, according to the book.

The similarities with Freemasonry are simply because the origin of Freemasonry, according to their own members, is from Ancient Egypt, another well-known pagan civilization.

I wouldn’t doubt that there are many other pagan religions out there that have similar organizational hierarchy. I don’t know about the organizational structure, but Wicca is also very similar to Satanism, as well as other pagan religions, because we all have a common ancestor in Ancient Human History.

5. Jacobsen: With the priesthood, the council, and the individual priests, what is the purpose of each? What does a wedding, baptism, funeral, and ordination look like through the rituals of the Darkside International Ministry?

Robb: The Priesthood and Council serve as the core administration of the ministry that makes the final decisions on choosing members out of all the applications we receive as well as choosing which members are elevated and when. The individual priests can serve as spokespersons as the ministry whenever the need requires it. They also can sponsor or refer people to wish to join our ministry.

As for our rituals, that is something we prefer to keep secret. Intrusion of videos/photos being taken can deflect from the concentration of emotion on the focal point of our altars, which would takeaway from the effectiveness of the rituals. I can, however, assure you that animals and minors are never present in any of our rituals at any time. Everyone present during our rituals are always present by their own free will. In most cases, we suggest our members to perform rituals completely alone in a private room whenever possible in order to ensure their concentration of emotions on their altars.

In the case of Weddings, the only real difference between a Satanic Wedding and any other religions weddings is that the couple being married is urged to write their own ceremony, not just their own vows. Funeral rituals are really up to the surviving members of the family of the deceased, usually a remembrance of their life and a send-off of the remains to their final resting place. Generally speaking, Satanists believe that the dead will live on as memories in those of us who continue on living, immortality then only can occur if the person’s memory will live on forever, regardless of what it is they will be remembered for.

6. Jacobsen: I suppose ritual magic comes more naturally to people than science. It has been around longer. People have conducted rituals for far longer than science. Crowley defined magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.” In general, in Canada, there can be, presently and historically, a hysteria (as with elsewhere) around magic. What seems like the source and reason for the hysteria?

Robb: The source and origin of the hysteria regarding magic is simply the lack of understanding of magic. What we call “sympathetic magic”, the most commonly used by Satanists and some Wiccans (and likely most other pagan religions) is simply using emotion to influence actions/behaviours. After my many years of studying psychology, I have found it best to describe magic as the application of basic psychology. Making science very much real magic.

The general public hears terms like “magic”, “Satanic Ritual”, etc. and seem to automatically think of the movie portrayals of these things, which are very inaccurate at best. The fact our rituals are largely secretive will obviously play up to the Christianized interpretations of what these words mean, but that’s not really our problem.

Unlike other religions, we don’t force our views, philosophies, beliefs, etc. on to others. If they wish to live in fear of things they know nothing about, that’s their choice. Most Satanists are willing to teach others about us, but only if 1) people actually want to know, and 2) they actually listen and try to comprehend the facts. There is nothing more annoying to the Satanists who are willing to teach these people then the people forcing circular arguments without any attempt to learn something.

7. Jacobsen: As worshippers of the metaphoric representation of Satan, or the Roman god Lucifer, who is the “bearer of light, the spirit of the air, and the personification of enlightenment,” what makes this metaphor the best representation of the Darkside International Ministry’s ideals? What other philosophical and ethical worldviews most parallel its own views and central metaphor?

Robb: Satan, being the Hebrew word for “Adversary, Accuser, and Opposer” and the legends of the Satan character representing the downtrodden who make themselves, in a sense, a king in their own lives, or as Milton put it in “inferno”, “it’s better to rule in Hell then to serve in Heaven”. Satan becomes the ultimate archetype for the average person to rise up and be leaders, making it the best icon for social justice causes.

Lucifer is the Latin word for “light bearer” and “enlightenment”, a beacon for enhancing knowledge, both personal and human knowledge. If anything else it is an icon for all the sciences to rally behind in understanding all things.

8. Jacobsen: With the self as the central or the “highest embodiment of human life” and as “sacred,” does this make collectivists natural enemies with the individualists of the Darkside International Ministry?

Robb: I wouldn’t say that, no. The self is not literally only one person against the world. Like in society as a whole, those closest to us, as individuals, are often taken on as part of ourselves. As such the individual being the highest embodiment of human life includes those what are an integral part in that individual life. I think anyone who is a parent can relate with the fact that your child is part of your life, such an important part, in fact, that the parent is willing to kill/die for his or her child.

The same concept is found among close friends, recall cases of a brotherhood of soldiers in a platoon, a grenade is thrown into the group and a member of the platoon instinctively sacrifices themself to save his friends, it is not a lack of one going against their sacred individuality, it is them exercising it! Furthermore, by doing so they ensure that they will be remembered forever, not just by his friends he saved, but also because of the act being recognized by military superiors and your nations government for bravery and valour.

9. Jacobsen: What differentiates the rational self-interest of the Darkside International Ministry from general selfishness or non-rational self-interest?

Robb: I think the simple answer is in the question. Our self-interest is rational.

Our self-interest, being rational, understands that there is a time and place for everything, including a concern for others. As I responded in the last question, an individual is not always literally the individual. There will always be a rational reason to consider others on occasion, but benefits to the individual will always be paramount.

One who is generally selfish, the non-rational self-interest, cannot bring themselves to do anything that does not benefit themselves alone.

10. Jacobsen: What are perennial threats to the free practices of the ministry?

Robb: General ignorance of the public is really the only threat to the free practice of our ministry. This is why we believe strongly in attempting to educate anyone who shows any interest in learning about us. Most Satanic organizations are not openly willing to do this.

11. Jacobsen: What are some future initiatives and areas for growth of the ministry?

Robb: I think we are planning to become a little more involved in social justice areas, we have been proposing partnerships with Lucien Greaves’s Satanic Temple, and we’ve also been discussing our own social justice endeavours as well.

12. Jacobsen: People can shop, even donate. Also, the Darkside International Ministry is a registered religious charity. How else can individuals become involved with the ministry?

Robb: We accept members who are knowledgeable of the philosophies and practices of our religion, the more knowledgeable and active they are the higher they will rise in our ministry. We also accept supporters of our philosophies and practices who do not want to be attached to any organizations. Suggestions of social justice causes, or even events, from supporters as well as members are considered.

13. Jacobsen: Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion based on the conversation today?

Robb: I hope more interviews like this and the discussions they will inevitably spark about Satanism and the Occult will eventually lead to an understanding not seen in centuries. Things are definitely improving since the discussions started nearly 70 years ago. But we, as a civilization, have a long way to go before we will understand each other to the point we can all peacefully co-exist as a result of our differences, instead in spite of those differences.

14. Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Scott.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Grand Master, High Priest, Founder, and President, Reverend Scott Robb, Darkside International Ministry.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 1, 2017 at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One) [Online].July 2017; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, July 1). An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A, July. 2017. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A (July 2017). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 14.A (2017):July. 2017. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Grand Master Scott Robb: Founder, Darkside International Ministry (Part One) [Internet]. (2017, July; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-grand-master-scott-robb-founder-darkside-international-ministry.

License and Copyright

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 14.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 22, 2017

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 6,153

ISSN 2369-6885

Fox 10 News

Abstract

An interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson). They discuss: coming of age story and finding Satanism; Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple; Eastern Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Discordianism, United Church of Canada, Gretta Vosper, Lucien Greaves, and Satanism, and media coverage; bullies playing victim; Arizona; tacit self-perceptions of acting for God; tasks and responsibilities; legal battles; similar cases for other chapters; Anton LaVey and modern Satanism; the next steps; freedom from and freedom to, and “Militant Atheism,” and Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett; final feelings and thoughts; and psychodrama.

Keywords: Arizona, Michelle Shortt, Stuart de Haan, The Satanic Temple.

An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter)[1],[2]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

Michelle Shortt has her AAS in Mortuary Sciences and briefly worked at a Funeral Home as a Funeral Director, Embalmer, and Cremationist. She left that field of work in 2012 and to work in the arts as an alternative model, performer, radio host, and personality where she is better known as Mischief Madness™.

Ms. Shortt has been a self identified Satanist since 2001 and made national news in January of 2016 with a fellow member of The Satanic Temple, Stu De Haan, in regards to the Phoenix City Council Meeting Invocation controversy. Michelle and Stu were announced as co-chapter heads to the Arizona Chapter for The Satanic Temple in February 2016. The invocation controversy continued with the denial from the Scottsdale City Council and their blatant discrimination against Shortt.

The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice. As an organized religion, we feel it is our function to actively provide outreach, to lead by example, and to participate in public affairs wheresoever the issues might benefit from rational, Satanic insights. As Satanists, we all should be guided by our consciences to undertake noble pursuits guided by our individual wills. We believe that this is the hope of all mankind and the highest aspiration of humanity.

The Satanic Temple – Arizona Chapter plans on starting various campaigns where they feel that religious liberty is jeopardized for minority groups.

For more information visit:

www.thesatanictemplearizona.com

https://www.facebook.com/SatanicTempleArizona

*This interview edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Scott Jacobsen: So to begin, let’s talk a little bit about the coming of age stories. How did you guys come to find Satanism, and was there any trend in your family around?

Michelle Shortt: I think everybody has their own coming of age story of coming to Satanism. We have this thing. It is like they are born Satanists. They always had this mentality where we value science and reasoning, and bodily autonomy. And when people discovery Satanism, it is almost like they’re coming home, “This is exactly what I’ve always been, and I didn’t know there was a name to it.”

I, personally, discovered Satanism at a very young age. I was 14. It was like an epiphany. Something dawned on me. And it was extremely influential in my younger years. If it wasn’t for the Satanic Bible, which is one of the most popular satanic pieces of literature out there written by Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan. Until this day, it is still extremely popular for most people to be introduced into Satanism.

I carried it with me throughout my adolescence and even today. Now, I have expanded my knowledge of the satanic milieu. Yea, that’s how it began for me. What about you?

Stu de Haan: I got to it through revolutionary politics in college. I had friends that were into it. I was in the metal scene. The imagery was always there. I knew people tentatively into the Satanic Bible. We consider it the start of modern Satanism. The Church of Satan had stuff that I was fully into. When the Satanic Temple came around, they had that kind of rebellious spirit, more of a romantic Satanism.

It was a kind of a push against the Establishment and arbitrary norms. Some of the Soviet anarchists identified as Satanists. You have Bakunin who is the father of anarchy. He identified for the same reason we do in The Satanic Temple. It was an outward statement of blasphemy, “I don’t agree with this. I don’t have to agree with this. This is something I am against.” If that mantle is something that you take as offensive or scary, then so be it.

That’s what I am. That was my introduction to it. As far as The Satanic Temple specifically, I saw a certain savviness to Lucien’s Law. We never asked for anything to be removed. We only want to add to it. There is a sort of different legal method which we use for things like that. It is a kind of exposure of hypocrisy. So you’ll have politicians saying, “We embrace all religions…”

2. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: “…We pass these laws for freedom of religion.” We know every time somebody passes a freedom of religion law. Someone is about to lose their rights.

3. Jacobsen: [Laughing] Of course.

de Haan: Satanism is the embodiment of exposing that, and fighting against that.

Shortt: That’s how The Satanic Temple has gotten so popular. It is because of our activism. As a Satanist, I identified with that aspect of The Satanic Temple. Other satanic organizations, they look down upon any kind of activism. It is more like a philosophy to acknowledge your full potential in whatever outcome that is: artist. You can be a doctor, or a lawyer. To your own fullest potential, that is what Satanism is to most people.

For me, it was extremely boring to just not to have that sense of community, not have that sense of impact. It was more hidden in the shadows – your Satanism. With The Satanic Temple, with it being in the media, with it combatting arbitrary tyranny that we see with our system, that’s when a lot of Satanists decided to associate themselves with us, because there was a bigger purpose than to gloat in your mother’s basement about all of your accomplishments.

4. Jacobsen: [Laughing] With both the individualist and non-communal form, with the Church of Satan that you’re describing, and then the communal form of that, that you’re describing with The Satanic Temple, do you think each has their place within the discourse?  

de Haan: Yea, absolutely. If you ask 10 Satanists, you’ll get 10 different opinions.

5. Jacobsen: [Laughing] Or 11.

de Haan: [Laughing] Yea, exactly. That’s why we call this a milieu, where there is a historical context throughout the ages for what is called “Romantic Satanism.” It is from the 1600s. None of the people who are the founders of Romantic Satanism were actually Satanists. They are only considered in hindsight based on the literature they wrote. Then in the 1960s, which is considered year 1 of modern Satanism – says LaVey, they had individualistic Satanism, save for the romantics.

They didn’t know about each other. The information spread around.

Shortt: It was around organically forming through art and literature.

de Haan: This is a very American thing. This was the time people were officially identifying as Satanists and claiming this as their religion, the Church of Satan. There’s something that I want to make clear. It was never devil worship. It was always a non-theistic metaphor. But even in the Church of Satan, you have what are called grottos, which were the various locations people would meet.

They weren’t public. The Satanic Temple is very public. Most of us came from agnosticism or atheism, or something happened where we rejected religion pretty vehemently. This is the first time in my life and most others in The Satanic Temple, where we have that sense of community, which you have in a church setting.

6. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: We have that now. There are people who are either outcasts or didn’t feel status quo. We were kind of giving a community to those people. We found it in ourselves as well.

Shortt: To answer your question, there is room for all. There is room for all kinds of Satanism, and all denominations of Satanism in the same way there is room for all kinds of Christianity. There will be sub-sects branching off and doing their own thing. There is nothing static or canon. Although, the Church of Satan would like to think that their stuff is the canonized Satanism. It isn’t. There are so many types of sub-sects.

de Haan: Also, there is an irony to it. In the Satanic Bible, it talks about trying to stray away from dogma intentionally. Yet, what happens is people who adhere to certain groups try to claim ownership, “No, ours is the more real one!”

7. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: But to us, we reject that. There’s no right way to do it. There are some certain sensibilities that we have individually. For instance, I don’t believe that theistic Satanism is actually Satanism. I think it is a reversal of Christianity. You might find different opinions within our ranks on that as well. It depends on sensibilities. Like she said, there is no canon that we speak of, that we have yet. I don’t reject LaVey. Some do. Personally, I don’t.

Shortt: It is all part of the Left Hand path. It is a big umbrella for all of the different religions that put the self first and foremost. The advancement of the self.

8. Jacobsen: You see this in those that don’t put the self first too. For instance, the current Catholic Pope—I believe Discordianism likes to joke that that’s the guy who thinks he’s the only Pope—basically, he is liberalizing much of, not necessarily church doctrine but, perception in the public eye of the Catholic Church. He’s even meeting with the leader of the second largest sect of Christianity.

250-300 million, which is the Eastern Orthodox Church, they met with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, in Cairo of all places! There are times of meetup, I guess. But when you were talking about alternative places for people who don’t really find themselves buying majoritarian mythologies very much, two things came to mind.

One was a United Church of Canada Minister. For context, the United Church of Canada is probably considered the most liberalised Christian church in Canada. I use it as a benchmark. Whatever is controversial to them, it is what Christianity will allow in this country. Not sure about America, things are different in America. The minister’s name is Gretta Vosper.

She lost her faith while in the church. She went from the progression of theist to deist to atheist. Her congregation were fine with the minister. Recently, late 2016, she was under review for her suitability for being in the church. She was giving – for that particular group – moral lessons. Another case I was thinking about was the secular church in, what some would consider the equivalent of the Bible Belt in America, Calgary, Alberta.

So I think there are ways this stuff is cropping up more, and more. And it is heartening to hear this. Media representation is interesting. The United States has very powerful public relations, previously termed propaganda, industry. When I watch interviews with Lucien Greaves, for instance, there’s talking over him. There’s stereotypes. There’s not taking him seriously.

Any bad journalistic practice. He undergoes. Is there a bettering trend in the representation of the media of Satanism?

de Haan: No.

Shortt: No. A Fox News thing posted an article for our veterans’ memorial in Minnesota. First line: “Devil Worshippers Erecting Monument in Bell Plains.”

de Haan: It’s like they won’t even give the courtesy of a Google search, sometimes.

9. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: If you want to see how we’re treated personally, you can Google it. A councilman in Phoenix, Arizona compared us to ISIS. Michelle and I have personally been called terrorists by public officials. We’ve been called bullies, as they tell us to go to hell.

10. Jacobsen: These would be the same person, same personality type, that would bully you in work and then would play the victim.

de Haan: What we see in Christianity a lot is if they don’t get 100% of their way 100% of the time, they play the victim.

11. Jacobsen: [Laughing] of course.

de Haan: That they’re being persecuted. Part of what we do is expose this. I think a lot of stuff people don’t realize is going on until you have someone who comes up, and who is an easy standard to call the ‘wrong religion’.

Shortt: We definitely do not see them being any fairer in their representation of us at all, to answer the question. In fact, almost anything like pizzagate. Or the satanic panic being underway with religious freedom now being the thing. It’s going to happen.

de Haan: Moral panics are on the rise. It is a bit concerning. As they are calling it in the Trump Era, the Post-Fact Era, the facts simply do not matter anymore. What makes you maddest? That’s the truth. You see the things like pizzagate. Where a pizza parlour, they say they’re going to have children sacrifices in the basement. In 2017, this is a throwback to the McMartin babysitter case, which happened in the 80s.

You’re seeing stuff like this happening. Luckily, you have debunking of this pretty quickly. People know about Snopes, and so on. Michelle and I have been the subject of conspiracy theories in Phoenix, in our own cities. There are websites slandering us personally. It is what we deal with, especially if you’re in a leadership position.

12. Jacobsen: Is Arizona any better than the general country, or is it markedly worse in some way?

de Haan: Legally, it is worse. We are considered a battleground state right now, but, from a person-to-person perspective, it is calm right now. We don’t have people protesting our events or yelling at us. We get a lot of death threats online, but that’s the internet.

13. Jacobsen: [Laughing] it’s amazing that it has come to that.

de Haan: [Laughing] yea, but legally, they don’t care. They see that it is not worth the lawsuit, so we’ll give you the 2-minute invocation. Whatever it is that we’re doing.

Shortt: They love to pander to their Christian constituents here. It makes them look good by telling the Satanists, “No, we are in our full legal right to do so.” They will do it anyway.

14. Jacobsen: There is also probably the tacit self-perception of, “I am enacting God’s will in some way. Therefore, I can act in poor taste to those that are against him.”

de Haan: It is moral grandstanding.

15. Jacobsen: Very good point.

de Haan: What is happening is if you take the moral path, anything that is not the moral path obviously is the bad guy. It is black and white. Do not have any introspection. Do not have any analysis of the actual situation. That is another part of the era that we’re in, which is the moral grandstanding. I think the internet perpetuates that.

16. Jacobsen: So when you’re running The Satanic Temple of Arizona, what tasks and responsibilities are coming along with this?

Shortt: Stu and I divide the tasks. We were the first chapter to have two co-chapter heads together. It has worked really well. We work in tandem. He does most of the legal stuff. Because of his work field, as a lawyer, he does legal representation or all of TST. I have now assumed leadership as sole chapter head. He is my spokesperson. Things still run the same. I am the one who pays attention to the details.

I assign tasks. I organize people. I run the social media. I run the website. We have an excellent team of 13, which includes 11 other council members. They each their own set of skills. We have a graphic designer. We have a web guy. We have people who are good with art. So everybody has their own job. They are all extremely motivated to do things. It is great when you have team members that you don’t have to get on their case to get stuff done.

Things are moving along very swiftly. We are always coming up with new ideas for community outreach, since we’re at a standstill with the legal stuff. Stu is working on a bunch of law suits. He’ll tell you in a minute. But I do the at-home community outreach for charities and making sure people have easy access to me, to ask questions, especially now that we’re already focused on activism so much.

People want to know more about Satanism. We want to start a book club.

de Haan: We have a lot of delegating. Michelle is good at that. We have people coming and asking, “What can we do?” Michelle is like, “Well, what can you do? What do you want to do” Some don’t want their family to know about it. They want to come to the events. The way we think about it is three things: political action, civic actions, and then there’s the parties/public rituals. We do Satan in the park, which is a BBQ for everyone to meet each other.

The cultural aspect is letting people know about the books. It is not in a vacuum. So we’re working with a couple people including Lucien Greaves to come up with recommended reading for people.

17. Jacobsen: What is going on with the law? What are the legal battles? Who are you battling with?

de Haan: The general overview, I break it down to a few categories. We have invocation campaigns. This is nationwide. A lot of people didn’t realize that before these city council meetings. They do a prayer, a Christian prayer, like 90% of them. They say it is open to everybody. It is a ‘public forum’. It is not a complete open forum. When we ask to give an invocation, it gets shut down in a number of ways.

We had two of these things happen here in Arizona. One in Phoenix, they changed the system so only chaplains could only give the invocations. That way the public couldn’t meddle with a religion that wasn’t their favourite.

18. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: They literally told us to go to hell and put it in a newspaper.

19. Jacobsen: Oh lovely.

de Haan: Then they ran a campaign slogan that they got rid of the Satanists in the open forum that everyone is welcome in.

20. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: The way the community has responded has been different in every city. It has never happened the same twice. There are various legal problems with that. There is case law that says you don’t have to be a theistic religion, and you can’t viewpoint discriminate as long as it isn’t profanity. Of course, our invocation is very respectful, about empathy. The horrors of empathy!

Shortt: [Laughing].

de Haan: [Laughing] they shut us down so viciously over that speech on empathy – and things like that. The second category is reproductive rights. In Missouri, that’s the battleground for that. There was only one abortion clinic in the state. In order to get an abortion, you had to get a 72-hour waiting period.

21. Jacobsen: Holy smokes.

de Haan: We had a waiver saying, “I am not going to have a 3-day waiting period to read Christian literature against our religion.” Now, there is a federal lawsuit pending, which has been pending for a while on that one – before we got involved, really. That’s one big issue right now. A third category is the After School Satan Club. There’s something called the Good News Club. It is a very Right-wing Christianity. It is not mainstream Christianity.

It is fire and brimstone old school Christianity. It is about day cares in public schools. We have no problem with private entities. But when it is the public and the taxpayers involved, and you’ve got public schoolchildren, they are being told that they are going to hell if they get an abortion. We find these things damaging. So we are going to have a secular after school club called After School Satan. Ironically, the only chapter able to push that through was Salt Lake City, Utah – Mormon territory.

22. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: We have some theories around that. Them being a minority religion themselves within the aspect of Christianity. So we are working on that, to see what legal ramifications – if they are only letting Christians have an after school program. The fourth category is our monument campaigns. That’s the one that is very tangible. It is one people notice first because we have an 8-foot tall statue of Baphomet made out of bronze.

Whenever they try to erect these 10 Commandment statues in front of government buildings, we petition to put ours up, then all hell breaks loose.

23. Jacobsen: [Laughing] do you put it facing it?

Shortt: [Laughing].

de Haan: We have a public grounds committee that we go through. Actually, there was some movement on that. In Arkansas, they decided to go through with it without giving us legislative approval. We are looking at that lawsuit as well. I would say those are our four main legal aspects going on throughout the country.

24. Jacobsen: Is it similar for other branches, other chapters?

de Haan: Well, we only have one statue. We don’t have all the resources in the world. The Oklahoma one was taken down when Scott Pruitt was the attorney general there. Lucien Greaves has a great statement as to what an incompetent asshole that guy is. But jokes on us because he got elected to head of the EPA.

Shortt: [Laughing].

25. Jacobsen: Soon to be non-existent based on the one-line bill.

de Haan: The whole point is that the more incompetent they are then the higher in government that they go right now.

26. Jacobsen: Yea.

de Haan: Do you want to talk about our civic stuff?

Shortt: It is our community outreach campaigns. We have a charity run called Menstruatin’ with Satan. It was a charity brought up in Boston chapter. All chapters have to write a proposal for any kind of idea that they want to implement in their chapter They wrote the proposal, which got approved and did very well once they got it running in Boston. So it was basically an idea that was up for grabs for other chapters to piggyback on and do in their own communities, just to get people active.

We can’t be suing everybody all of the time. We are running out of resources to do that. There are other things that we want to make our presence known within the community, to show that we are Satanists and to show that we are still trying to do good for everybody. It establishes us more as a religious presence. So we have Menstruatin’ with Satan. We collect pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. Anything that helps people who have menstrual periods.

We like to include our transgender friends as well. That’s one of our tenets: “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” Menstruation is definitely something that get swept under the rug, as something that is icky. Nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to think about it, especially when there’s homeless people. What do you they do when they have their menstrual cycle and can’t do anything about it?

This is a way to help the disadvantaged. Also, we plan to adopt a highway fairly soon. Our friends in Colorado. They went to do the first adopt-a-highway. We will probably piggyback on that idea as well.

27. Jacobsen: You noted in the earliest parts of the interview about Anton LaVey, as per his description of it, that, basically, modern Satanism began in about 1960. Then Margaret Sanger, with the pill, came in 1960, on the nose. I note trends, where there are converging movements. You’re describing with Menstruatin’ with Satan, as well as Margaret Sanger and reproductive health rights – equitable and safe access to reproductive health technologies for women.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the same people that would be demonising – pardon the pun – Satanism in general are also the ones making direct, and indirect, attacks on women’s access, as you’re noting only one abortion clinic and having to wait 72 hours and having to read Christian literature about it—

de Haan: It is a shaming aspect. The mainstream religion here is very moralistic. They want to make it as shameful and painful as possible. We see it as sadistic. It is not pious. It is based on bad science, which is one of our tenets. That we adhere to the best scientific knowledge of our time. Of course, that evolves. If it changes, we adapt with it. We think that harming women because they made a decision to engage in an activity that they might not condone – premarital sex and what have you – and make the decision that this isn’t a life I can provide for.

They want to shame them. They want to punish them. That is very against what Satanism is about. We want to help people. We do not want to judge people for ‘sinful’ behaviour – so to speak. I don’t think it’s coincidental either. It was 1966-69 when LaVey started this. It was right in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. I don’t think any of this stuff is coincidental. I think this whole rise of theocracy, which is a whole other conversation. That has been traced back to Dwight Eisenhower and Reagan using that as his base.

Next thing you know, there is this blurring of the separation of church and state. You see it withering a crumbling, then you see Christians telling what the government can do. Gays can’t get married, then they can. Then there’s freaking out about that. I think the movements arise out of that.

28. Jacobsen: So what’s the next step? How do not only move the conversation forward in the public mind as you’re doing outreach – in other words, changing the conversation and enacting that change, but also specific initiatives other than general outreach that you’re likely to be engaged in the near and hopefully the far future as well?

Shortt: Like Stu was saying, we are going to be trying to develop the cultural aspect of our religion. The beauty of TST is reach chapter is fairly autonomous. We have our directives from the national council about how to proceed with certain actions like protests. It is more like developing that cultural aspect that we so dearly lack, especially since we have a lot of newcomers that have no clue where Satanism came from.

They want to know more, but don’t know where to go. We will develop the book list and try to get more people involved in the history of Satanism rather than just focusing on having protests against the next fad. So we definitely want to have a lasting impact that people can associate with the religion.

de Haan: One thing to too is people who think we’re trolls, so to speak. That we’re trying to troll the Right. There is so much more to it than that. That is something that we want to emphasize. The Christians hate us. The atheists hate us because they think we’re phonies.  So we get it from both sides. We also want to make clear. We don’t fight for the sake of fighting. We don’t battle things just because we can. There is a whole reason for doing what we’re doing.

It is more that aspect. That we’re trying to show to people. We don’t recruit. We don’t care about proselytizing. If this is for you, then you’re welcome. If not, then we don’t care.

Shortt: [Laughing].

de Haan: We don’t have to justify ourselves.

29. Jacobsen: It is very American too. It is freedom from and to, rather than just freedom to, but I am free to proselytize [Laughing]. It is also lopsided. You’re saying you are getting it from both sides. I guess the term “Militant Atheism” came into play when Dawkins gave the Ted talk on that. I believe that got a snicker, snicker, from the crowd. That started following his text with Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett.

Now, Hitchens is deceased. The religious Right, they are active. They are wealthy. They have a lot of power and influence, as opposed to the ‘atheist lobby’ in the United States. It seems increasingly active, but less wealthy and less influential.

Shortt: We do get it from all sides. The atheists, they – because they do not have a “sincerely held religious belief” that they can cite for not being able to have the same freedoms that those who do have religious belief can cite – see us, as Satanists, as having that which they lack, which is a religion. A sincerely held religious belief that we can put on the table and ask for equal representation.

We get it from atheist trolls using Satanism. We get it from other Satanists that don’t like The Satanic Temple, usually LaVeyans. That we’re putting Satanism in the public forum, where it doesn’t belong. Regardless of what any of them say, we have been the most successful for any organization fighting for religious equality within the government here. They are going to allow us the Satanists, and cause public outrage, or they are going to allow public practice, which probably didn’t belong there in the first place.

30. Jacobsen: Any thoughts or feelings in conclusion about what we’ve talked about today?

Shortt: We are growing at an exponential rate. It is quite awesome how many people come to us from everywhere. I try to keep our social media very active. We make ourselves very available to the public. I think the public sees that. I think ours is one of the more successful chapters. I don’t mean to toot our own horn.

de Haan: [Laughing].

31. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Shortt: [Laughing] we are attracting people from all walks of life. There are those that come to us for the activism. There are those that come for the Satanism because they are outcasts and have nowhere else to go. We accept them regardless, whether you’re a Satanist or not. If you want to hang with our group, then that’s cool. You don’t have to be a Satanist. That’s not what we’re trying to do.

de Haan: We have another ritual coming up in November. We’ll do it at the quarry. We go down to this bar in Bisby. The owner is friendly with our cause. We do a satanic cleansing. We did one last November, where we dawned out own crowns of thorns. In Utah, they have the baptism ceremonies. They set you on fire to get rid of your own unconsensually given faith. It is all symbolic. There is nothing magic about it.

They are supposed to be meaningful to the individual. I really enjoy that aspect of it. The “psychodrama” is what we call it.

32. Jacobsen: The idea of the psychodrama reminds of – I forget who said it because it has been several months – someone stated that they were against the term ex-Muslim because it is as if you’re playing on the terms of that theology. If you identify as an ex-Muslim, then you, in a way, play into the hands of those who would call you an apostate. So they were more for not using the term at all.

I think it is a similar theme of those who are non-consensually co-opted into a faith.

Shortt: It gives a foreground of what to expect, what kind of guilt that person probably holds upon their shoulders.

33. Jacobsen: Right.

Shortt: Because as someone who is part of an ex-faith, they might have different quirks than someone who was ex- of another faith. I see your point. I find that incredibly interesting. Why not call yourself atheist rather than ex-whatever?

34. Jacobsen: Or, “Do you believe in X?” “No.”

de Haan: Religion is less to do with faith and more to do with identity. That’s what people are coming up with now. This is part of who you are, literally since you were born. I think people have a hard time detaching themselves from that, justifiably. But to us, finding this, it was an extreme liberation, “I found one that I chose.” It gives a deep sense of meaning.

Or sometimes, especially in the atheist community, there wasn’t one in the social aspect and a code of conduct to live by. If you’re an atheist, you don’t have that to live by, and to me it is very dry.

35. Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, guys.

Shortt: Thank you.

References

Apologia Team. (2017, March 10). AR #202 – Satanism and Global Warming. Retrieved from http://apologiaradio.com/tag/satanic-temple-arizona/.

Associated Press. (2016, May 24). Arizona city bars Satanic Temple prayer at council meeting. Retrieved from https://apnews.com/9696b18db7984ba38920bf21ccb15770/arizona-city-bars-satanic-temple-prayer-council-meeting.

Chan, M. (2016, January 31). Phoenix Lawmakers Battle Satanic Temple Over Ceremonial Prayer. Retrieved from http://time.com/4201631/phoenix-city-council-satanic-temple/.

Church of Satan. (2017). Church of Satan. Retrieved from http://www.churchofsatan.com/.

Fenwick, J. (2016, January 31). Tucson members of Satanic Temple to speak before Phoenix City Council meeting. Retrieved from http://www.kvoa.com/story/31103796/satanic-temple-pushes-for-invocation.

Graham, R.F. (2015, July 27). Satanic Temple’s plans for ‘largest public satanic ceremony in history’ backfire after Detroit protesters force them to unveil huge goat-headed Devil statue in private. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3175531/Satanic-Temple-unveils-goat-headed-bronze-monument-secret-venue-Detroit-despite-threats-protests-against-it.html#ixzz4klmGaQTQ.
Holly, P. (2016, February 5). How the Satanic Temple forced Phoenix lawmakers to ban public prayer. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/02/05/how-the-satanic-temple-forced-phoenix-lawmakers-to-ban-public-prayer/?utm_term=.0481e756476e.

Leavitt, P. (2016, May 23). Scottsdale won’t allow Satanic Temple prayer at council meeting. Retrieved from http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2016/05/23/scottsdale-wont-allow-satanic-temple-prayer-council-meeting/84818920/.

Markus, B.P. (2016, January 30). Satanic Temple activists school AZ Christians on civics as city moves to block Satanic prayer. Retrieved from http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/satanic-temple-activists-school-az-christians-on-civics-as-city-moves-to-block-satanic-prayer/.

Russia Today. (2016, February 16). Satanic Temple rejected by Phoenix gets OK from Scottsdale. Retrieved from

https://www.rt.com/usa/332670-satanic-temple-prayer-arizona/.

The Associated Press. (2016, May 23). Arizona city bars Satanic Temple from leading prayer at city council meeting. Retrieved from http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/arizona-city-bars-satanic-temple-from-leading-prayer-at-city-council-meeting-1.2913975.

The Satanic Temple. (2017). The Satanic Temple. Retrieved from https://thesatanictemple.com/.

The Satanic Temple of Arizona. (2017). The Satanic Temple of Arizona. Retrieved from https://thesatanictemplearizona.com/.

Wasser, M. (2016, January 29). Phoenix City Councilman’s Fury Over Satanic Temple Prompts Social Media Civics Lesson. Retrieved from http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/phoenix-city-councilman-s-fury-over-satanic-temple-prompts-social-media-civics-lesson-8012091.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Michelle Shortt, Chapter Head, and Stuart “Stu” de Haan, Spokesperson, The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter).

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 22, 2017 at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter) [Online].June 2017; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, June 22). An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A, June. 2017. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A (June 2017). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 14.A (2017):June. 2017. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter) [Internet]. (2017, June; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-michelle-shortt-chapter-head-and-stuart-stu-de-haan-spokesperson-the-satanic-temple-arizona-chapter.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 14.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 15, 2017

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,298

ISSN 2369-6885

17407922_10210447101287119_1861293518_o

18195108_761506804030884_6935541437581335303_n

Sebastian Simpson on far left.

Abstract

An interview with An Interview with Sebastian Simpson. He discusses: family background in Satanism; best argument for Satanism; tasks and responsibilities in The Satanic Temple of West Florida; After School Satan; Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary, Anton LaVey, and others, and core values; the seven core tenets for protection from theocracy; perennial threats to Satanists in West Florida and America; protections from those threats; coming together to protect Satanists from bad law, from bullying of some religious individuals or communities, from mainstream and dominant religious encroachment and imposition, and so on; becoming involved and donating to The Satanic Temple of West Florida; and final feelings and thoughts.

Keywords: Sebastian Simpson, The Satanic Temple, West Florida.

An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida[1],[2]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Was there a family background in Satanism? What were some pivotal moments for becoming one, for you?

Sebastian Simpson: I have no family background in Satanism. My interest in Satanism goes back to the so-called “Satanic Panic” of the 1980’s and 1990’s. I was just a kid back then, but I distinctly recall seeing, for example, Geraldo Rivera’s endeavouring to “expose devil-worship.” The fear in my community was palpable. Initially I, too, was afraid that there was this invisible evil lurking in the music I was listening to and the literature I was reading (admittedly the perceived danger was also part of the appeal); however, that initial fear ebbed and transformed into genuine curiosity about Satanism and an affinity for this benign aesthetic that nevertheless had incredible rhetorical power. The realization that the Satanic conspiracy stories I was seeing in the news were nonsense also ignited a rebellious flame in my young mind, for I could see the baselessness and injustice of the witch hunts. At that point, however, my affinity for Satanism was purely aesthetic. Mostly due to the limited availability of Satanic literature such as The Satanic Bible to a youngster growing up in the American Midwest prior to the internet, it wouldn’t be until later, in my mid to late teens, that I recognized the intellectual aspects of Satanism.

2. Jacobsen: What seems like the best argument for Satanism to you? Now, what makes this philosophical and ethical worldview self-evident to you?

Simpson: Speaking only for myself, one aspect of modern Satanism that I found to be compelling, at least as I encountered it, is that it does not share with many other mainstream religions this idea of conversion. You’d be hard-pressed to find individuals who identify with mainstream Satanic organizations who also have an interest in convincing others to adopt Satanism per se. Certainly this is true with The Satanic Temple. A necessary component of what it is to be a Satanist is to identify as such. Satanism’s emphasis on individuality is patently at odds with the idea of convincing someone to identify in a certain way; I would never deign to convince someone to adopt an identity. That said, the ethic underlying the Seven Tenets of The Satanic Temple certainly isn’t self-evident and ought to be rationally defensible.

3. Jacobsen: What tasks and responsibilities come with work in The Satanic Temple of West Florida?

Simpson: I maintain an open line of communication with the National organization. Managing our social media presence, including responding to every message we receive via Facebook and our website it a huge commitment. Along with others in the Chapter, I coordinate social events such as Chapter picnics, public meetings so that interested individuals in the community can meet with us and see what we’re about, and campaigns such as our recent “Socks for Satan” campaign through which we collected over 500 pairs of new socks for Pensacola’s homeless population.

4. Jacobsen: One of the more delightful provisions for kids, or adolescents, is the After School Satan program, which broadens the landscape of programs for kids or adolescents. It seems needed now. How can parents, or students, contact The Satanic Temple of West Florida and set one up?

Simpson: The Satanic Temple is currently working towards establishing a volunteer based program for non-TST affiliates in time for the next operating school year. For more information, please email info@thesatanictemple.com with the subject line “After School Satan Clubs Inquiry.”

5. Jacobsen: Some of the more common names in the Satanist community might be Aleister Crowley, Timothy Leary, Anton LaVey, and others. LaVey wrote The Satanic Bible in 1969. It is a growing and changing Temple. Its core values are “compassion, justice, reason, free will, personal sovereignty, and science.” How do these values play out in the life of a Satanist and their worship? How do these differ from traditional religious institutions or worship structures? Why these principles above others?

Simpson: First I should mention that while LaVey’s contributions are certainly part of our intellectual heritage, we have no official affiliation with The Church of Satan. We are a distinct organization. Indeed, our core principles and their emphasis on compassion, science, and reason are in tension with The Church of Satan’s emphasis on selfishness/egoism, social Darwinism, and supernaturalism in so far as it plays a role in ritual magic. To the substance of your question: worship has no role to play in The Satanic Temple. Being a nontheistic organization, we worship no supernatural entities. The way the values you mention play out in the life of a Satanist are exactly as one would expect and would be as varied as the individuals who embrace those values. For example, there are many ways to be compassionate. As champions of reason, we seek to expose the rotten core and deleterious effects of superstition and baseless conspiracy theories. This is evident in the work of TST’s Grey Faction, part of whose mission is to expose therapists and psychiatrists who, in their professional practice, propagate the myth of organized, institutional Satanic ritual abuse and employ such discredited and pseudoscientific techniques as facilitated communication and recovered memory therapy to “discover” repressed memories of Satanic ritual abuse. See greyfaction.org for more information.

6. Jacobsen: The Temple has seven core tenets:

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

Why these tenets? How can these protect society from theocracy, and continue the separation of church and state as well as respect the individual in a nation?

Simpson: Theocracy is inimical to reason. By their nature, theocracies shut down free inquiry and privilege dogma over rational inquiry. So long as beliefs conform to reason and are informed by our best science, there will be a formidable opponent to theocracy. Indeed, our very Constitution has protections against theocracy in the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of a state religion and ensures the free exercise of religion. We have been vocal proponents of the right to free and legal exercise of religion. This right accords to Satanists as well.

7. Jacobsen: What are some perennial threats to Satanists in West Florida and America?

Simpson: It is obvious that a large contingent of Christians in Pensacola/West Florida would like to silence us. This is evident from the fiasco that ensued when we were granted the opportunity and privilege to deliver a Satanic invocation at a meeting of the Pensacola City Council. Christians showed up in droves to protest and spoke over David Suhor as he delivered his invocation. A week before this event, the City Council held an “emergency meeting” to consider the possibility of instituting a moment of silence in lieu of an invocation; we would have been happy with that result since we believe that government should stay out of the religion business. However, despite the fears of Pensacolans that we would be bringing a curse to the city, the public as well as several council members, made it clear that an inclusive moment of silence was not acceptable. Consequently, we delivered our invocation the following week amid an angry horde. In West Florida, and Pensacola in particular, we are engaged in a constant struggle to keep the municipal bodies in line with the law by not discriminating against religious minorities or pandering to the religious majority by granting them special privileges. Several local government bodies hold prayers and discriminate against religious minorities by ignoring their requests to deliver invocations, ourselves included.

8. Jacobsen: What are some protections from those threats?

Simpson: The best protection against the steady efforts to impose religion into the public sphere is for secularists and religious minorities of all sorts to take a stand and resist complacency. Be visible and vocal. Elected officials do not represent only the religious majority.

9. Jacobsen: How can the Satanist and associated communities come together and protect their beliefs from bad law, from bullying of some religious individuals or communities, from mainstream and dominant religious encroachment and imposition, and so on?

Simpson: Speaking from personal experience, I reach out to other secular groups and foster good relations. Satanism isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t unite for shared causes. Be in touch with organizations known to legally represent the interests of religious minorities such as the American Civil Liberties Union or the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Document cases of religious discrimination and report them. In secular societies there are laws that exist precisely to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority; we must insist that these laws be enforced and upheld. Be aware also of bills intended to expand the reach of religious organization; we see a lot of this in the US, especially Florida very recently. This requires that one be aware of bills that may be coming before legislative bodies. Productive and peaceful civic engagement and building healthy communities—that is my advice.

10. Jacobsen: To become acquainted or involved with The Satanic Temple of West Florida, you have website, linked before, and a Facebook page. How can people support, even donate to, The Satanic Temple of West Florida?

Simpson: W do run campaigns and individuals can visit our Facebook to discover ways to contribute. For example, we set up a gift registry online for our Socks for Satan campaign. Apart from that, sharing the information we disseminate via social media is a great help in getting the message our concerning TST campaigns such as our Religious Reproductive Rights campaign and our monument campaigns in Arkansas and Minnesota.

11. Jacobsen: Any thoughts or feelings in conclusion?

Simpson: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you. Ave Satanas.

12. Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Sebastian.

References

Anderson, J. (2016, July 14). VIDEO | Satanic prayer disrupted at council meeting. Retrieved from

http://weartv.com/news/local/satanic-prayer-at-council-meeting-disrupted-by-crowd.

Barnett, C. (2016, July 6). WILL FLORIDA CITY COUNCIL ALLOW SATANIC INVOCATION?. Retrieved from http://www.worldreligionnews.com/issues/will-florida-city-council-allow-satanic-invocation.

Blake, A. (2016, July 15). Satanic prayer opens Pensacola city council meeting; police forced to remove protesters. Retrieved from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/15/satanic-prayer-opens-pensacola-city-council-meetin/.

Bowerman, M. (2016, August 1). ‘Educatin’ with Satan’: Satanic Temple pushing after school clubs. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/08/01/education-after-school-with-satan-santanic-temple-elementary-school-good-news-christian-clubs/87904884/.

Bugbee, S. (2013, July 30). Unmasking Lucien Greaves, the Leader of the Satanic Temple. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/4w7adn/unmasking-lucien-greaves-aka-doug-mesner-leader-of-the-satanic-temple.

Dunwoody, D. (2016, July 14). City Council Invocation Sparks Anger, Preaching. Retrieved from http://wuwf.org/post/city-council-invocation-sparks-anger-preaching.

Gibson, D. (2016, July 1). Florida city council may halt opening prayers to stop Satanist’s invocation. Retrieved from http://religionnews.com/2016/07/01/florida-city-council-may-halt-opening-prayers-to-stop-satanists-invocation/.

Holly, P. (2016, July 20). Why a Satanic Temple member wants to perform rituals before a city council in the Bible Belt. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/07/20/why-a-satanic-temple-member-wants-to-perform-rituals-before-a-city-council-in-the-bible-belt/?utm_term=.3e75771a4c7d.

Kuruvilla, C. (2014, December 10). Satanic Temple Wins Battle To Bring Lucifer Display Inside Florida State Capitol. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/satanic-temple-florida-capitol_n_6277082.

Minogue, H. (2016, July 7). The Satanic Temple Of West Florida Will Deliver Invocation. Retrieved from http://wkrg.com/2016/07/07/the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida-will-deliver-invocation/.

Moon, T. (2017, March 19). Pensacola Satanists aren’t all pitchforks and red tails. Retrieved from http://www.pnj.com/story/news/2017/03/19/pensacola-satanists-atheists-secularism/99300312/.

Mortimer, C. (2017, March 20). Satanist church holds drive to collect socks for the homeless. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/satanist-church-pensacola-west-florida-holds-drive-socks-homeless-collect-charity-pagan-a7639881.html.

Naftule, A. (2017, May 3). The Satanic Temple on Menstruatin’ With Satan And Messin’ With Texas. Retrieved from https://phxsux.com/2017/05/03/the-satanic-temple-on-menstruatin-with-satan-and-messin-with-texas/.

News Service of Florida. (2014, December 4). Satanic Temple approved for display in Florida’s Capitol. Retrieved from http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/satanic-temple-approved-for-display-in-floridas-capitol/2208943.

(2016, July 20). A Satanic Temple Member Gave the Prayer Before a City Council Meeting in Florida. Retrieved from https://relevantmagazine.com/slices/satanic-temple-member-gave-prayer-city-council-meeting-florida. Sullivan, E. (2013, July 22). Happytown: Satanic Temple to rally in Florida. Retrieved from http://www.orlandoweekly.com/orlando/happytown-satanic-temple-to-rally-in-florida/Content?oid=2245633.

The Satanic Temple. (2017). The Satanic Temple. Retrieved from https://thesatanictemple.com/.

The Satanic Temple of West Florida. (2017). The Satanic Temple of West Florida. Retrieved from http://thesatanictemplewestflorida.com/.

 

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara; Director, The Center for Mindfulness and Human Potential.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 15, 2017 at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida [Online].June 2017; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, June 22). An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West FloridaRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A, June. 2017. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A (June 2017). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West FloridaIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West FloridaIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 14.A (2017):June. 2017. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Sebastian Simpson: The Satanic Temple of West Florida [Internet]. (2017, June; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-sebastian-simpson-the-satanic-temple-of-west-florida.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 14.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nine)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 8, 2017

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,618

ISSN 2369-6885

amanda headshot

Abstract

An interview with Minister Amanda Poppei. She discusses: family background; professional and theological qualifications; pivotal moments and the ‘calling’; best argument for ethical culture; main reasons for people becoming involved in ethical culture and the Unitarian Universalist community; tasks and responsibilities; demographics of the Washington Ethical Society; pastoral care; differences with traditional definitions; awards and The Tip of the Iceberg; fulfillment from recognition; extra responsibility with the recognition; importance of connecting youths; main threat to ethical culture; common problems in the community and perennial threats; and becoming involved or donating to the American Ethical Union or the Washington Ethical Society.

Keywords: Amanda Poppei, ethical society, minister, Unitarian Universalist.

An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei: Senior Leader & Unitarian Universalist Minister, Washington Ethical Society (Ethical Culture and Unitarian Universalist)

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

 

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s delve into your own family background. What is it – geography, culture, language, and religious/irreligious beliefs, principles and values?

Minister Amanda Poppei: I was raised in upstate New York, in a white family grounded in academia–my mother was a college professor, and my father had been studying for his PhD in Biology before leaving to make furniture. He worked out of a barn in our backyard, crafting beautiful pieces–really an artist. In my earliest years I didn’t attend any congregation, but in 4th grade I went on a sleepover to a friend’s house and attended church with her the next day. I came home and promptly announced that I wanted to go to that church! My mother was a little worried–we were a humanist family–but quickly relieved to discover it was Unitarian Universalist congregation. She had actually been raised UU, just hadn’t gotten around to taking me to Sunday School. I attended religiously (ha!) through middle and high school, participating in their Coming of Age program in 8th grade. It was during that year that I first articulated a desire to become clergy myself one day.

My family raised me with a strong sense of social justice; my mother in particular followed in her own mother’s footsteps, building her life around making the world a better place. I knew I was raised with a lot of privilege (white, formally educated) and that part of the rent I needed to pay in the world was making sure that others had similar opportunities. My mother took me to Washington, DC for my first national march when I was in 3rd grade, supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. For his part, my father instilled a curiosity about how the world works, from the planets to the atoms, and a love of the outdoors. Both my parents raised me to challenge racism, misogyny, and homophobia. I feel incredibly lucky to have been raised with those values and to have the opportunity now to live them out in my work and home life.

2. Jacobsen: You have many qualifications. Some selected ones include senior leader of the Washington Ethical Society since 2008 connected to formal qualifications including a Masters of divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, District of Columbia and a bachelor of arts in religious studies from Yale University. All three relevant to the discussion today.

Most citizens in the US probably don’t know what ethical culture and Unitarian Universalists are, I think. So what might be a good educational campaign for ethical culture adherents and Unitarian Universalists to pursue in the US?

Poppei: I’m sure that’s true! Ethical Culture is a very small movement–just 24 congregations across the country–and although Unitarian Universalism is much larger–over 1,000 congregations–that’s still small in the overall American religious landscape. In many ways, I think the justice work we do is the best advertisement for both movements. We have always had an influence in the world that’s larger than our size, as we have fought for equal rights, fairness, kindness, and mercy. UUs and Ethical Culturists show up at rallies, marches, organizing meetings, and town halls all across the country. Although we may have different beliefs (Unitarian Universalist is a pluralistic religious movement, and Ethical Culture welcomes people of all beliefs), we share a strong commitment to justice and a belief that every single person is worthy.

I think we also have a special appeal to families. More and more parents are choosing to raise their children outside of traditional religion–but they are still seeking a grounding in values, and a community to support their family. Both UU congregations and Ethical Societies offer that. Our education for children is based on encouraging questions and exploration, and creating a safe and nurturing space for children to spread their wings. We incorporate study of world religions, comprehensive sexuality education, and ethics education into almost every age group. And we mark the passages of the year, through celebrations like Winter Festival and Spring Festival, and the passages of life, through baby namings, weddings, and memorial services.

3. Jacobsen: So with the family background described and the academic qualifications listed, what pivotal moments, and subsequent momentum, lead to these important stages in life within the ethical culture and Unitarian Universalist movements? When did ministerial/chaplaincy/pastoral work become a ‘calling’ for you?

Poppei: 8th grade! I was on a Coming of Age trip to Boston with my Unitarian Universalist congregation, and had been visiting some of the sites around the city where famous Unitarians and Universalists had lived and wrote and worked. We went to visit the headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and as I stood in the bookstore and looked around at the titles I suddenly thought: I want to spend my life thinking about these things!

As time went on, I continued to think about ministry. In high school, I would have said that congregations seemed like the best way to organize people to do good in the world (and I still think that). In college, I was a Religious Studies major and began to learn more about the role of religion in American life. And then of course in seminary–which I entered a few years after graduating college–I deepened my understanding of the values, theology, and philosophy that ground my life’s work.

4. Jacobsen: What is the best argument for ethical culture or for Unitarian Universalism that you have ever come across?

Poppei: We are not alone in the world–we are connected to each other. We need to practice what it means to be human together, to be in relationship as a way of supporting our own growth and as a way of working for justice in the world. Both Unitarian Universalism and Ethical Culture remind us of these core truths, and give us a place to practice, learn, and transform.

5. Jacobsen: What seems like the main reason for individuals becoming a member of the ethical culture and Unitarian Universalist community? For example, arguments from logic and philosophy, evidence from mainstream science, or experience within traditional religious structures, even simply a touching personal experience.

Poppei: I think it’s a bit of all of those things. Most people that come to the Washington Ethical Society–the congregation I serve–have done a lot of thinking about what they believe. Whether they were raised in a traditional religion or raised secular, they’ve been thoughtful about their beliefs and worldview. Almost all of them share an essentially naturalistic worldview, and a sense that they want to be grounded in the here-and-now. What they’re looking for when they come to us is a community in which they can live out those values, where they can have the benefits of a congregation but without dogma that no longer works for them. They are looking for a place to support their family, or to care for them if they have a crisis, or just to provide a set aside time each week to be thoughtful and introspective. They often choose our community because they like our commitment to justice work. Ultimately, I think they are searching for a sense of belonging and a chance to make a difference in the world.

6. Jacobsen: What tasks and responsibilities come with the senior leadership position?

Poppei: I am responsible for our Sunday morning gatherings–I speak 2-3 times a month, and support guest speakers for the other Sundays. I provide pastoral care, visiting people in the hospital and offering counseling as needed (and I also work with a great group of members who do that work too). I serve as head of staff, and am responsible for managing the day to day operations of the congregation, everything from creating and tracking the budget to overseeing programming–although in all of that work I collaborate with a wonderful staff. And I work with the Board and the entire membership on setting vision and strategy for the congregation. Finally, I work out in the world, outside the walls of the congregation, fighting for what is right. That’s very often done in coalition, with interfaith groups or with secular groups.

7. Jacobsen: What are some of the demographics of the Washington Ethical Society? (Age, sex, political affiliation, and so on)

Poppei: We are a majority white, generationally diverse membership. We have slightly more women than men. Most WES members are progressive, ranging from pretty liberal to quite radical! We have Millennials, Gen X-ers, Boomers, and Silent Generation, plus of course children and teens who are the newest generational cohort. The number of people of color in our community is small but growing. Most (but not all) WES members have a college degree, and many have a Masters or other advanced degree. They work in many different fields, but the helping professions (teaching, social work, etc) and public service and nonprofit work are highly represented.

8. Jacobsen: What is pastoral care within an ethical culture/Unitarian Universalist framework?

Poppei: It looks pretty similar to in any community. I work with a team of lay Pastoral Care Associates, members who are specially trained to offer care in times of crisis. We support members in practical ways–like bringing meals and giving rides to the doctor–and we also just visit with people and try to be present to them when they are struggling. I offer pastoral counseling as well, to people who are struggling with hard choices or just having a hard time in life.

9. Jacobsen: How does it differ from traditional definitions, theory and practice? Are there major differences?

Poppei: Of course we don’t believe that the things that happen to people are part of God’s plan, so there’s a difference perhaps in the overall conceptual framework. But the practice of caring for people is really the same no matter what your ideas behind it are–it’s about showing up for people when times are hard and celebrating with them when times are good.

10. Jacobsen: You earned the National Capital Area Big Sister (2007) award from Hermanos y Hermanas Mayores/Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Anti-Racism Sermon Award (2006) from the Joseph Priestly District of the Unitarian Universalist Association for The Tip of the Iceberg. What was the background for the awards? What was the content and purpose of The Tip of the Iceberg?

Poppei: That was a long time ago! I was talking about the differences between overt racism–like using racist slurs–and systemic racism, which is sometimes harder to spot but still incredibly damaging to individuals and to society as a whole.

11. Jacobsen: How fulfilling is this recognition?

Poppei: It was great to be recognized, especially at that time when I was still a seminarian, still training for the ministry.

12. Jacobsen: What extra responsibility to the public comes with the recognition?

Poppei: None. But certainly work on issues of racism continues to be a vital part of my work.

13. Jacobsen: What is the importance of connecting youths to an ethical culture and Unitarian Universalist base for the sense of shared community?

Poppei: Adolescence is a time of incredible transition. Having the support of a community bigger than one’s family can be so important–knowing adults beside your parents who care about you and want to see you thrive. Our LGBTQ teens know that they are supported and welcome in this community, as well. And in general our teens get to connect with others who support their values, who want to make a difference in the world. I am always blown away by their thoughtfulness and passion; we learn a great deal from them.

14. Jacobsen:
What do you consider the main threat to ethical culture and Unitarian Universalism in America? What have been perennial threats to them?

Poppei: I’m not sure I think in terms of threats in this way. Injustice and bigotry are threats to all people, and we work against that. Not sure what this question might mean.

15. Jacobsen:
What are the common problems of community found at Washington Ethical Society?

Poppei: Like any community, we have conflict–that comes from people being in relationship with each other! We are a diverse community, with many backgrounds and beliefs represented, which means we don’t always like the same music or styles of speaking. But that also is part of the richness in our community, and most folks really love the opportunity to learn from each other.

16. Jacobsen: How can people become involved with or donate to the American Ethical Union or the Washington Ethical Society?

Poppei: They can check out our website at www.ethicalsociety.org and click on the “give” button on the top right to donate…or explore the rest of our website to learn about our activities. To find other Ethical Societies, check out http://aeu.org/who-we-are/member-societies/ and to find other Unitarian Universalist congregations, try http://www.uua.org/directory/congregations.

Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Minister Poppei.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Senior Leader & Unitarian Universalist Minister, Washington Ethical Society (Ethical Culture and Unitarian Universalist).

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 8, 2017 at http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei [Online].June 2017; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2017, June 8). An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A, June. 2017. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2017. “An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 14.A (June 2017). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Minister Amanda PoppeiIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2017, ‘An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 14.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 14.A (2017):June. 2017. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Minister Amanda Poppei [Internet]. (2017, June; 14(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-amanda-poppei.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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