Religion News Service reports:
The Almighty may not think the Satanic Temple is a church. But the taxman has given it the thumbs-up. The Satanic Temple, which is featured in a documentary called “Hail Satan?,” announced this week that the IRS now recognizes it as a church.
That recognition means the group can now get the same benefits as religious organizations — including tax exemption and protection from discrimination.
In a statement, Lucien Greaves, founder of the media-savvy group, said that “accepting religious tax-exemption — rather than renouncing it 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 has given a statement to The Friendly Atheist:
“I couldn’t help but to first revel in imagining the bitter frustration of the lawyers in Arkansas, and Senator Stanley [Jason] Rapert, who were hoping to rest their entire legal defense against our claim of religious discrimination on the argument that we are not a “real” religion. With horror, they must realize now that their 10 Commandments monument on Little Rock capitol grounds must come down, or our Baphomet monument must be erected.
“I thought of Mat Staver and the Liberty Council, who offered pro bono support to any school district wishing to deny our after school club on the grounds that we did not deserve religious recognition. I also thought fondly back to the time that our After School Satan Club was granted nonprofit status, and the conservative Judicial Watch blamed Obama’s reign of terror.
“Surely, we can count on them to maintain a hypocritical silence regarding this outrage of religious equality committed on the Trump administration’s watch. My first thought was of holding up a gloating middle finger to them all.”