The Satanic Temple has a thriving LGBT community, according to one of its most senior figures.
Ash Blackwood, who established a Satanist chapter in New York City, spoke to Vice about how the movement has become a hub for LGBT people.
Mr Blackwood explained to the outlet that in contrast to a lot of organised religion, Satanism has fostered an “enthusiastically accepting atmosphere for LGBTQ people”.
Its inclusive platform has paid off – and Satanic Temple founder Lucien Greaves added that he wouldn’t be surprised if more than half of the congregation identifies as LGBT.
He said: “It’s not a big deal, we don’t have strict separations or definitions of our gay membership, our trans membership, or anybody else.”
Despite its name – intended to freak out Christians – the Satanic Temple is essentially an atheistic movement, explaining “we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan”.
The group explains: “To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”
The movement is also proud of its pro-LGBT record, while using its status as a quasi-religious group to challenge the seeping of religion into secular government activities.
It adds: “The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.
“Politically aware, Civic-minded Satanists and allies in The Satanic Temple have publicly opposed The Westboro Baptist Church, advocated on behalf of children in public school to abolish corporal punishment, applied for equal representation where religious monuments are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, exposed fraudulent harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners and claims in mental health care, and applied to hold clubs along side other religious after school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations.”
Naturally the news has freaked out the evangelical anti-LGBT lobby online.
A California pastor recently claimed that Satan is responsible for gay weddings.
The claim comes from pastor Jim Garlow, the pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego
Speaking at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, Garlow suggested that gay couples getting married is a Satanic plot.
Related: Devil statue with giant erection appears in public, and no-one knows why