Church of Satan Policy on Politics
What constitutes the Church of Satan’s stance on any number of political issues is a topic often broached by students working on papers, journalists of varying stripes and intelligence, and other assorted researchers, trolls, or people with some form of axe to grind.
Here is what we consider to be the briefest answer:
“As has been said many times before, one’s politics are up to each individual member, and most of our members are political pragmatists. They support political candidates and movements whose goals reflect their own practical needs and desires. Our members span an amazing political spectrum, which includes but is not limited to: Libertarians, Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, Reform Party members, Independents, Capitalists, Socialists, Communists, Stalinists, Leninists, Trotskyites, Maoists, Zionists, Monarchists, Fascists, Anarchists, and just about anything else you could possibly imagine. It is up to each member to apply Satanism and determine what political means will reach his/her ends, and they are each solely responsible for this decision. Freedom and responsibility—must be a novel concept for those who aren’t Satanists. We take it in stride. Members who demand conformity from other members to their particular political fetish are welcomed to depart.”
—High Priest Peter H. Gilmore,
from his essay “A Map for the Misdirected”
To elaborate for those who have some political ideal which they wish the Church of Satan to tout for them: The Church of Satan does not have an “official” political position. Note that individual members frequently do have political positions.
If Satanists wish to make their own political viewpoints known, then they present their concepts and are prepared to back them up with references and reason in whatever forum being used for this display. If our members decide to debate or dispute each other’s positions, we caution them to take the time to do so in a respectful manner. Remember our primary House Rule.
The Church of Satan is not going to demand that members conform to any particular political point of view, nor should our members expect the Church to assist them in forcing others to assent to their own positions.
If you seek out Satanists in their online or offline haunts, you will encounter individuals who assert positions that span the political spectrum. This includes our members from countries all over the world, each with their own political diversity which might surprise those who have not done their research. For a Satanist to expect, much less demand, consensus on any given issue, beyond basic advocacy of individual liberty within local laws, is an enterprise which is probably as masochistic as it is insane.
So it is wise to always keep in mind that as we’ve said above, the Church of Satan is a loosely knit cabal of individuals whose political opinions may (and do) vary. Those members who wish to involve themselves in politics do so in accord with the political and social ethos they individually uphold. The Church of Satan itself is not a political organization and doesn’t operate as such. There is no requirement that members must involve themselves in any form of political activity whatsoever.
Some naïve idealists seem to think that the Church of Satan as an organization risks irrelevancy if it does not become an advocate of certain political positions—usually their own pet issues which are assumed “must” be shared by other Satanists. This fear is based upon the assumption that the Church of Satan needs to change the world or risk “fading into obscurity.”
Satanism is a deep structure of practical, realizable ideas and most of us find the mantra that “political action is required to justify your existence” is just nonsense. The entire point of Satanism is that the Satanist does not have to change or improve reality, or make the world better, or attract attention from others by struggling to correct what one or others perceive to be the world’s wrongs. The fundamental point of Satanism is that the Satanist can control his own world without having to change anyone else’s first. This is essentially what choosing yourself as your own God is all about.
If there were only one copy of The Satanic Bible in existence, the person who read it and understood it would benefit just as well. There is no need for some collective action or group behavior. The primacy of the individual is assumed throughout Satanic doctrine. It follows then most emphatically that we are not martyrs. We Satanists do not exist to serve any political agenda.
The emotional drive to “change the world” is a common stage of early adult development typically beginning around age 16 and lasting until around age 24. Usually, individuals who become aware as to how the world actually functions—rather than being lost in a fantasy wherein they will be some sort of savior figure—come to realize that idealism (such as changing the world) is less important than the principle of getting what you want for yourself. That latter position should be an obvious development particularly for Satanists since we don’t hide our understanding that Satanists tend to be lone wolves and not herd animals. Because Satanism is intended to respect reality as it is (and not as anyone thinks it “should” be), it usually does not take long for a truly aware Satanist to set aside politics in favor of direct, personal efforts for selfish goals.
Overall, politics simply tends to be viewed by most Satanists as interesting, worthy of attention for upcoming changes, and even fun to play with when appropriate. However it is never a “cause” that we must live for. We, ourselves, our lives and love of life, are the only “causes” that we endorse without hesitation. Everything else is pretty much up for debate. Satanism itself is not a cause, rather it is a tool for advancing ourselves and those people and things which we deem to be of merit. Hence the Church of Satan first endorses autonomy for the individual as a primary, allowing the individual to then decide for himself what political viewpoints are most agreeable to him. If an individual decides that he attains pleasure through participation in political advocacy movements and organizations, he should realize that it is his own pleasure in participation that is the goal and the Satanic aspect of his actions, not necessarily the political agendas he is working to achieve.
Thus, the Church of Satan will not “fade” because we do not need to win any external approval to exist. We as an organization only need to continue as we have for over four decades to offer the tools through which our members may see through the conceptual traps that enslave the masses.
This article was a joint effort of the Hierarchy of the Church of Satan.