Trick question: What do Satanists and Christians have in common? Well, not much —except both groups apparently aren't sure what their stance is on abortion.
While Christians have long been split into pro-life and pro-choice camps, the last thing I would have ever expected is for a similar split to take place in the Satanist community. But apparently, that's exactly what happened earlier this month when Satanists from two different factions squared off in a heated debated over abortion, with one group even labeling certain protesters' chants "diabolical."
The devilish rift within Satanism began two weeks ago when Texas lawmakers debated a controversial initiative to limit Texas abortions. During the debate, a few pro-choice protesters apparently attempted to drown out the voices of pro-lifers by (satirically) yelling "Hail Satan!" Because the hashtag #HailSatan quickly gained traction on Twitter, the UK Church of Satan — which as far as I can tell is not an official organization — weighed into the debate on July 3:
Unfortunate to see Satan's name used in such a diabolical manner. Another example of what 'Satanism' doesn't represent. #HailSatan
— UK Church of Satan (@UKChurchofSatan) July 3, 2013
After receiving a somewhat surprised reaction from a few Twitter community members, the group expanded on its views:
Why wouldn't Satanism be pro-life? What else is there? We are all free to make choices. Agreeable or not. Everyone is entitled to choice.
— UK Church of Satan (@UKChurchofSatan) July 5, 2013
Whatever British Satanists might believe, a few American Satanists apparently weren't very happy with this stance. As Magus Peter H. Gilmore, high priest of the Church of Satan, told CNN, the UK Church of Satan doesn't even exist.
"I have not authorized any of our UK members to create such a thing claiming to represent our organization, its members and our philosophy," Gilmore said. "So, whoever is behind that feed is committing a fraud."
He added that the "organization, founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, is worldwide and we have many members throughout the UK and none of them have heard of any self-proclaimed 'Church of Satan in England.'"
In a victory for pro-choice activists everywhere, the head of Satanism proclaimed that the Church of Satan does indeed consider "the use of abortion to be the purview of the woman whose body is carrying the child."
Whatever Magus Gilmore says, however, it seems that the UK Church of Satan is not ready to renounce its pro-life stance:
(2/3) But life is sacred and should be valued as such. We all have the abilty to create life and care for it. If we choose.
— UK Church of Satan (@UKChurchofSatan) July 9, 2013
Looks like Texas Republicans have a new ally!