While the Satanic Temple doesn’t align itself with any political parties, campaigns or candidates, the organization’s goals are in staunch opposition to the Trump administration’s crackdowns on reproductive health, freedom of the press and transgender rights. “We want First amendment [rights], we want women to have control of their bodies, and we want the LGBT community to have equal rights,” Morrison says. “Obviously with Trump and Pence being in office and with the administration that’s being put in place right now, we’re probably looking at a more aggressive stance” than in previous years. He says membership in the organization surged after Trump was elected, with thousands of members now spread among dozens of chapters around the world.
More than 1,000 backers helped the Satanic Temple surpass its $20,000 fundraising goal, but the statue of Baphomet — the mythical horned goat that has become a kind of mascot for Satanists — was never erected; a 2015 Oklahoma Supreme Court decision banning religious monuments on state property had already accomplished the goal of removing the Ten Commandments from the Capitol. Instead, the Satanic Temple took its 9-foot-tall Baphomet statue to Detroit, where it held a party that was billed at the time as the largest public Satanic ceremony in history, drawing hundreds of supporters. The group has since stepped in to exercise its religious freedom — and challenge the authority of religious groups, sometimes partnering with the ACLU to do so — in city councils, public schools and state legislatures across the country.