However, according to an Instagram post shared by the Temple earlier today, the tax-exemption doesn’t seem to be their first priority.
In the post, the Satanic Temple say the new acknowledgement will grant them access to grants and legal rights that they never had before. Additionally, the new ruling means the Temple will have access to more public spaces.
You can read the newly-classified church’s statement below.
“We are pleased to announce that for the first time in history, a satanic organization has been recognized by the United States federal government as being a church. The Satanic Temple recently received notice from the IRS affirming our status. This acknowledgement will help make sure the Satanic Temple has the same access to public spaces as other religious organizations, affirm our standing in court when battling religious discrimination and enable us to apply for faith-based government grants.”
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While the Satanic Temple has previously denounced the idea of tax-exemption for churches, a story with Patheos reveals co-founder Lucien Greaves says exemption is necessary for the Temple to gain even footing with other religious estates.
“In light of theocratic assaults upon the Separation of Church and State in the legislative effort to establish a codified place of privilege for one religious viewpoint, we feel that accepting religious tax exemption — rather than renouncing in protest — can help us to better assert our claims to equal access and exemption while laying to rest any suspicion that we don’t meet the qualifications of a true religious organization,” Greaves says. “Satanism is here to stay.”
However, this is not the first time Greaves hinted at the Temple’s change of heart. In a 2017 newsletter, the co-founder said the Temple would have to “reevaluate” its stance.
“Another byproduct of this turn of events, of course, is that the Satanic Temple must reevaluate its prior principled refusal to accept religious tax-exemption.
“It appears that now is a time in which a more principled stand is to meet our opponent on equal footing, so to as balance, as best we can, what has been a frighteningly asymmetrical battle,” Greaves continues. “As ‘the religious’ are increasingly gaining ground as a privileged class, we must ensure that this privilege is available to all, and that superstition doesn’t gain exclusive rights over non-theistic religions or non-belief.”
What do you think about the Satanic Temple’s new status? Sound off in the comments below.