By J.T. FETCH, WRGB
ALBANY, N.Y. (CIRCA via WRGB) — On a cold, rainy night in Albany, New York, there is a meeting of the Satanic Temple taking place.
There are 17 chapters of the Satanic Temple nationwide, and Circa partner WRGB-TV was given exclusive access to the Albany chapter of the Temple, which has dozens of members, to find out what it means to be a Satanist.
"We are a religion; we have core tenets, core beliefs," Sekhmet said. "We are a group of people who believe strongly and passionately about something, and if that's not a religion, I don't know what is."
Desjardins and Sekhmet chose their pseudonyms and asked WRGB not show their faces in the video above. They took the news outlet through the tenets of their religion, which holds beliefs some may find surprising.
- "One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason."
- "The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own."
- "People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and remediate any harm that may have been caused."
Dex explained, "We're not devil-worshipers. We actually don't believe in anything supernatural."
Sekhmet added, "We don't worship Satan. It is a matter of taking responsibility, going out into the world, and being the best that you can be."
The Temple has made headlines across the country. Last December, the Temple was successful in getting a Satanic statue placed in the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse, much to the ire of some residents who protested it.
Temple members also displayed a statue of the goat-headed, winged creature named Baphomet in Arkansas last summer to call for the removal of the Ten Commandments from Capitol grounds.
"When you do see Baphomet on any state capitol's lawn? It is in direct reaction to some form of religious tyranny," said Sekhmet.
Collin first found out about the Temple through its demonstrations in other states, and says he's happy he found like-minded people in the Albany chapter.
"The more I looked into the group, the more I found their values aligned with mine — it’s a subtle rebellion," he said. "I don't believe in Satan, but I like that symbol — I didn't realize that I was going to connect with these people so deeply and it's been fantastic."
"We are a group of people who believe strongly and passionately about something, and if that's not a religion, I don't know what is."
Satanic Temple members say they want to continue to help those in need throughout the region. On the night WRGB met them, they were gathering donated menstrual products, which they brought to local nonprofit Equinox. The group coined it the "Menstruatin' with Satan" campaign.
"We're upholding our beliefs, while trying to give back to our community," said Sekhmet.
The Albany Satanic Temple’s Menstruatin’ with Satan drive collected a total of 6856 individual tampons, 4974 individual pads, 23 menstrual cups, and 40 packages of hygiene wipes. Thank you to Equinox, to our donors, and to Exhumanity. Hail Satan! pic.twitter.com/seF4LlbhJq— The Satanic Temple Albany Chapter (@TSTAlbany) February 16, 2019
Collin added, "We're not here to threaten anybody. We're your neighbors. We're friendly people; we just want to make the world a little bit better like everyone else."
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