The Satanic Temple is planning its first major rally, which will be held in support of Florida Gov. Rick Scott later this month for — which might sound ironic — signing a bill that allows for the possibility of prayer in public schools.
The religion’s founder Neil Bricke, who is based in New York, is expected to speak at the rally. Bricke uses an assumed name for Satanic-related business and would not reveal his real name to ABC News. The group also hopes to open a temple in New York in the next few months.
It may be telling that the Satanic temple will be located in New York and the group’s first rally, scheduled for Jan. 25, will be held in Florida.
“New York is a pretty good place for Satanism. Florida is too,” said Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves.
The Florida bill that has delighted the Satanists is Senate Bill 98 and gives students “sole discretion in determining whether an inspirational message is to be delivered” at a student assembly. The bill prohibits school officials from participating in or influencing whether an inspirational message will be delivered.
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Satanists feel that the policy “does a lot to support religious diversity,” according to Greaves.
“The Satanic Temple embraces the free expression of religion, and Satanists are happy to show their support of Rick Scott who — particularly with SB 98 — has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school,” the Temple said in a release announcing the rally.
“This is a great country. Everyone has a voice,” Gov. Scott’s press secretary wrote in an email to ABCNews.com when asked about the rally.
Greaves said that Satanism is an “unjustly maligned” religion.
“I think that Satanism is the very definition of a marginalized or misunderstood religion,” Greaves told ABCNews.com. “People don’t think of Satanism as being a compassion-based religion in the least, and they usually associate it with anti-human behavior.”
Members of the religion believe that Satan “has the compassion and wisdom of an angel,” according to the religion’s website. They believe that God is perfect and outside the sphere of the physical, so Satan presides over the universe as his “proxy.”
This is the religion’s first major rally and Greaves said that while many followers have expressed online interest in attending, he does not know how many will be at the rally. He also does not know the exact number of followers the religion has, but says it is in the “thousands” based on online activity from around the world.
The Satanic Temple formed in 2012. When their building opens in New York, Greaves said, “We would be the only real, active Satanic church that actually holds public services.”