[Content warning that some of the below deals with Nazism, and linked articles contain Nazi imagery.]
So, for those not down with the devil, there are roughly three “branches” of modern-day satanism. The first, and oldest, is the Church of Satan, founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey, and is sort of a kind of decadent, antitheist humanism with a heavy goth aesthetic. Notably, it does not actually believe in or worship a literal devil; instead, the concept of Satan is used more as an allegory for both opposition to what the Church believes are the fundamentally destructive teachings of mainstream theistic religions, specifically Christianity, and for an alternate set of guiding principles based on self-determination.
The second most well-known branch is the Satanic Temple, founded in 2012. Like the Church, it’s a “nontheistic religion” that sees Satan in allegorical, rather than literal, terms. It’s also the politically active satanic denomination; if you ever hear new stories about satanists wanting to build statues of Baphomet outside courthouses or include ethics classes in schools or demand access to abortion on religious freedom grounds, it’s almost certainly these guys behind it. The Temple’s faith-driven political affiliations are heavily progressive—like the Church of Satan, the Temple’s tenets are basically a kind of egalitarian humanism with a heavy focus on the autonomy of the self—and their activism is pushback on the encroachment of (usually) fundamentalist Christianity in secular public spaces (Ten Commandments statues in places of law and government, mandatory Christian prayer in public schools, anti-abortion legislation, etc.).
Then there’s… everyone else. This is a loose group of everyone from unaffiliated LaVey-esque satanists who believe in and worship Satan/Lucifer as an external supernatural being, to anti-Christian rebellious edgelords, to, well. Satanist Neo-Nazis. Which is apparently A Thing, even though one might assume Neo-Nazism to be incompatible with satanism either due to, a) its close ties with (white) Christianity and/or certain forms of Asatru/heathenism,1 and/or b) its authoritarian leanings, which would seem at odds with the whole “do what thou wilt” component of most satanic teachings.
Nonetheless, this kind of right-wing satanism2 does, indeed, exist and fits the public perception of the religion better than the more common denominations, in part because it advocates for things like human sacrifice,3 as well as ritual magic, social isolation, and the championing of general illegal and anti-social behavior. It’s this, as well as its general eschatological bent, that tends to tie right-wing satanism in with neo-Nazi movements; both believe the world is “ending”/in peril/ready for “rebirth”, both like inventing elaborate bullshit conspiracy theories to justify the murder of minority groups, and both like to fap to their facile headcanons of figures like Nietzsche and/or concepts like “Western civilization”.
Anyway. The point of all of that was to give the background to the fact that there is, apparently, currently a schism in the modern alt-right over exactly how much satanism members are prepared to tolerate to get to race war (also see here). Which is kind of… like, y’all remember 1980s “Satanic Panic” and how it all turned out to be invented bullshit that ruined peoples’ lives for no reason? Well go figure, I guess, because now in the 2010s we’ve got Satanic Panic 2.0, except this time it’s, a) real, and b) has actually killed people. Ugh.
- Not a religion known for its mainstream tolerance of anti-establishment/Satan-like figures, as any Lokean will tell you. [↩]
- Also see: the irony of having a right-wing incarnation of an otherwise ostensibly left-hand path. [↩]
- Notably, it encourages adherents to join police or armed forces in order to achieve this. [↩]