SALEM, Mass. – The Satanic Temple has become the first Satanic church to be legally recognized as a legitimate religion by the IRS, giving it a tax-exempt status.
The Salem, Massachusetts-based organization announced their new status on Wednesday.
The Satanic Temple said in a statement on their website:
We are pleased to announce that for the very 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.
The 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.
The Satanic Temple maintains that they do not believe in or worship a literal devil, but rather seek to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will."
In August of last year, the church made national headlines when they unveiled an 8-foot Baphomet statue at the Arkansas State Capitol in order to protest a Ten Commandments monument on capitol grounds.
In December, the church was allowed to display a Satanic statue alongside a Nativity scene and Menorah in the Illinois Statehouse.
In 2015, the Satanic Temple faced controversy in Detroit when they unveiled a Baphomet statue at a location on Joseph Campau Avenue.