The Dark Lord is back in the headlines after a sect of Satanists crashed an anti-abortion rally in Texas earlier this month. We spoke to Peter "Magus" Gilmore, high priest of the New York-based Church of Satan, to see where they stand.
Metro: So are you a pro-choice believer? What does that have to do with Satan?
Gilmore: Satanism is a philosophy that supports individual liberty, which would naturally grant a woman sovereignty over her own body. But Satanism also calls for responsibility, which means that if one does not wish a child, then one should either be sterilized or diligently use contraception.
Is sexual experimentation important to satanists?
Satanism stands for sexual freedom, which means that any form of sexual expression between consenting adults is accepted. We thus oppose rape, pedophilia and sex with other species, since informed consent cannot be part of such liaisons. Satanism encourages the use of fetishism for those to whom it comes naturally, but does not advocate that people must experiment if that is not their inclination.
Do you support gay marriage?
Where does Satanism fit on the political spectrum? Is it like anarchy?
Satanism considers the social contract to be the basis for human interaction, and so law and order is a goal we seek so that society is stable and we can enjoy our lives. Satanists are free to choose whatever local politics to support that would bring them the most personal benefits. Anarchy is not something a Satanist would be likely to advocate since that can bring an instability detrimental to the pursuit of personal satisfaction.
Which current affairs topics do satanists tend to care most about?
Satanists are not like other groups that have collective causes. Since individualism is the basis of our philosophy, issues of concern are up to each Satanist. The philosophy promotes liberty, so Satanists who find political activity to be fulfilling might champion human rights issues. We Satanists also consider ourselves to be animals, like the rest of the species on our planet, and so some Satanists work with groups which help to protect endangered species. But there are no requirements from the Church of Satan that members must support any specific issue.