Black Satanist Runs for California State Senate May 22, 2016 0:20:33 GMT -5
Post by Joanna on May 22, 2016 0:20:33 GMT -5
Black Satanist Runs for California State Senate
LOS ANGELES – If you're looking for a candidate endorsed by your local chapter of The Satanic Temple, Steve Hill (above) is your man. Hill is running for the senate. He grew up in the Midwest – St. Louis, to be precise – and joined the Marine Corps after high school. He spent five years in the service before moving to Los Angeles with the intention of becoming involved in the aerospace industry. After 10 years in the field, he made a pretty big change. He became a prison guard, working in two California maximum security prisons over the course of 10 years. Now, Hill works as a real estate appraiser and moonlights as a comedian. And if all goes as planned, Hill hopes to take a seat in the 21st district of the California state senate. Republican Sharon Runner, who currently holds the seat, is not planning to run again.
Hill has found a way to grab headlines: he's a Satanist. But that doesn't mean what some might think. Hill is an organizer for the Satanic Temple, which has chapters throughout the world, including Los Angeles. You probably won't find these Satanists sacrificing animals in the woods or carving sigils around an inverted pentagram. These Satanists are atheists, who use Satan as a figurehead for their beliefs, but do not actually believe in him. According to the Satanic Temple's website:
"It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. The Satanist should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world – never the reverse."
You're more likely to find these people in an act of political theatre these days than a dungeon. For instance, they held a ceremony to demonize Junipero Serra, countered anti-abortion protesters by dressing up as babies in bondage gear, and defend the separation of church and state by suggesting a Baphomet statue be placed next to a proposed Ten Commandments monument on public property in Oklahoma.
Like the rest of the Temple, Hill doesn't believe in Satan, and is actually an atheist. But there are a few things in which he believes. He is a Democrat and, according to Time, says he identifies with the Temple because of its "humanist approach that raises levels of consciousness." He describes himself as a politician outside the "establishment" who can't be bought. "I'm a Satanist as far as trying to get people to understand that I don’t believe in the devil any more than I believe in God. All of it is stupid," he says. "But if I have to tell people I’m the devil to get them to listen, then, OK, I'm the devil."
Hill told VICE that his wife is a teacher and one of his biggest issues is improving education on the Eastside of LA. He wants to bring money to under-served areas to provide better education and eventually jobs for kids. "[My wife] works in the bad part of town," he explains. "We've got high poverty levels, 82% of kids quality for free lunch, the grades are bad, especially when it comes to the African American kids. And none of the preachers are mentioning this shit." He noted it was the kids who became gang members that filled the prisons where he worked and that they were typically black or Hispanic. Hill, who is black, says he tells other black people, whom he says are typically religious, to stop praying. "Because we keep praying, and keep giving our money to these preachers and nothing ever happens," he insists. "Stop praying! We're at the bottom of this list for everything in this community. Schools, teenage pregnancy, dropout rate, incarceration rate. We're at the bottom of everything! These preachers, they don't go into the schools, and those schools are fucked up."
Source: Julia Bennett Rylah, laist, May 16, 2016.