Recently, at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting in Alaska, a Satanic Temple member was allowed to open the government meeting with the phrase “hail Satan”, which led to a walkout by several residents and officials. Iris Fontana delivered the invocation, which was the first time that a member of the Satanic Temple was permited to give the invocation since the borough changed its policy last November. Prior to that policy change, those who wanted to give the invocation had to belong to an official organization with an established presence on the Kenai Peninsula. However, the ACLU of Alaska brought a lawsuit against the borough in 2016 and asserted that the policy was unconstitutional. The case made its way to the Alaska Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled that the borough’s policy was unconstitutional. This led to the borough changing the policy. Fontana’s invocation stated, “That which will bend must break and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise. It is done, hail Satan.”
The invocation was not met without protest. Several members of the borough left the meeting in protest. There were also around 40 protesters at the meeting, some holding signs such as “reject Satan and his works” and “know Jesus and his love.”
The Satanic Temple, founded in 2013 and active in thirteen states, is well-known for its activities in church and state issues and its promotion of secularism. It is different from the Church of Satan, which was founded in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey. In April, they announced that they had received tax-exempt status from the IRS, making it comparable to a church in the eyes of the law. Since its founding, they have been active in the legal arena, countering Christianity.
In 2018, the Chicago chapter of the Satanic Temple forced officials to display a “Snaketivety” statue next to the Christmas tree in the Illinois statehouse rotunda. In 2016, the group, to counter evangelical Christian Good News Clubs, created their own after school Satan clubs at public schools. The main goal of this group is to end what they believe is favoritism towards Christianity found within the United States government and to propagate secularism through both legal and evangelistic means.