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An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/06/22


An interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson). They discuss: coming of age story and finding Satanism; Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple; Eastern Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Discordianism, United Church of Canada, Gretta Vosper, Lucien Greaves, and Satanism, and media coverage; bullies playing victim; Arizona; tacit self-perceptions of acting for God; tasks and responsibilities; legal battles; similar cases for other chapters; Anton LaVey and modern Satanism; the next steps; freedom from and freedom to, and “Militant Atheism,” and Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett; final feelings and thoughts; and psychodrama.

Keywords: Arizona, Michelle Shortt, Stuart de Haan, The Satanic Temple.

An Interview with Michelle Shortt (Chapter Head) and Stuart “Stu” de Haan (Spokesperson): The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter)[1],[2]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

Michelle Shortt has her AAS in Mortuary Sciences and briefly worked at a Funeral Home as a Funeral Director, Embalmer, and Cremationist. She left that field of work in 2012 and to work in the arts as an alternative model, performer, radio host, and personality where she is better known as Mischief Madness™.

Ms. Shortt has been a self identified Satanist since 2001 and made national news in January of 2016 with a fellow member of The Satanic Temple, Stu De Haan, in regards to the Phoenix City Council Meeting Invocation controversy. Michelle and Stu were announced as co-chapter heads to the Arizona Chapter for The Satanic Temple in February 2016. The invocation controversy continued with the denial from the Scottsdale City Council and their blatant discrimination against Shortt.

The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice. As an organized religion, we feel it is our function to actively provide outreach, to lead by example, and to participate in public affairs wheresoever the issues might benefit from rational, Satanic insights. As Satanists, we all should be guided by our consciences to undertake noble pursuits guided by our individual wills. We believe that this is the hope of all mankind and the highest aspiration of humanity.

The Satanic Temple – Arizona Chapter plans on starting various campaigns where they feel that religious liberty is jeopardized for minority groups.

For more information visit:

*This interview edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Scott Jacobsen: So to begin, let’s talk a little bit about the coming of age stories. How did you guys come to find Satanism, and was there any trend in your family around?

Michelle Shortt: I think everybody has their own coming of age story of coming to Satanism. We have this thing. It is like they are born Satanists. They always had this mentality where we value science and reasoning, and bodily autonomy. And when people discovery Satanism, it is almost like they’re coming home, “This is exactly what I’ve always been, and I didn’t know there was a name to it.”

I, personally, discovered Satanism at a very young age. I was 14. It was like an epiphany. Something dawned on me. And it was extremely influential in my younger years. If it wasn’t for the Satanic Bible, which is one of the most popular satanic pieces of literature out there written by Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan. Until this day, it is still extremely popular for most people to be introduced into Satanism.

I carried it with me throughout my adolescence and even today. Now, I have expanded my knowledge of the satanic milieu. Yea, that’s how it began for me. What about you?

Stu de Haan: I got to it through revolutionary politics in college. I had friends that were into it. I was in the metal scene. The imagery was always there. I knew people tentatively into the Satanic Bible. We consider it the start of modern Satanism. The Church of Satan had stuff that I was fully into. When the Satanic Temple came around, they had that kind of rebellious spirit, more of a romantic Satanism.

It was a kind of a push against the Establishment and arbitrary norms. Some of the Soviet anarchists identified as Satanists. You have Bakunin who is the father of anarchy. He identified for the same reason we do in The Satanic Temple. It was an outward statement of blasphemy, “I don’t agree with this. I don’t have to agree with this. This is something I am against.” If that mantle is something that you take as offensive or scary, then so be it.

That’s what I am. That was my introduction to it. As far as The Satanic Temple specifically, I saw a certain savviness to Lucien’s Law. We never asked for anything to be removed. We only want to add to it. There is a sort of different legal method which we use for things like that. It is a kind of exposure of hypocrisy. So you’ll have politicians saying, “We embrace all religions…”

2. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: “…We pass these laws for freedom of religion.” We know every time somebody passes a freedom of religion law. Someone is about to lose their rights.

3. Jacobsen: [Laughing] Of course.

de Haan: Satanism is the embodiment of exposing that, and fighting against that.

Shortt: That’s how The Satanic Temple has gotten so popular. It is because of our activism. As a Satanist, I identified with that aspect of The Satanic Temple. Other satanic organizations, they look down upon any kind of activism. It is more like a philosophy to acknowledge your full potential in whatever outcome that is: artist. You can be a doctor, or a lawyer. To your own fullest potential, that is what Satanism is to most people.

For me, it was extremely boring to just not to have that sense of community, not have that sense of impact. It was more hidden in the shadows – your Satanism. With The Satanic Temple, with it being in the media, with it combatting arbitrary tyranny that we see with our system, that’s when a lot of Satanists decided to associate themselves with us, because there was a bigger purpose than to gloat in your mother’s basement about all of your accomplishments.

4. Jacobsen: [Laughing] With both the individualist and non-communal form, with the Church of Satan that you’re describing, and then the communal form of that, that you’re describing with The Satanic Temple, do you think each has their place within the discourse?  

de Haan: Yea, absolutely. If you ask 10 Satanists, you’ll get 10 different opinions.

5. Jacobsen: [Laughing] Or 11.

de Haan: [Laughing] Yea, exactly. That’s why we call this a milieu, where there is a historical context throughout the ages for what is called “Romantic Satanism.” It is from the 1600s. None of the people who are the founders of Romantic Satanism were actually Satanists. They are only considered in hindsight based on the literature they wrote. Then in the 1960s, which is considered year 1 of modern Satanism – says LaVey, they had individualistic Satanism, save for the romantics.

They didn’t know about each other. The information spread around.

Shortt: It was around organically forming through art and literature.

de Haan: This is a very American thing. This was the time people were officially identifying as Satanists and claiming this as their religion, the Church of Satan. There’s something that I want to make clear. It was never devil worship. It was always a non-theistic metaphor. But even in the Church of Satan, you have what are called grottos, which were the various locations people would meet.

They weren’t public. The Satanic Temple is very public. Most of us came from agnosticism or atheism, or something happened where we rejected religion pretty vehemently. This is the first time in my life and most others in The Satanic Temple, where we have that sense of community, which you have in a church setting.

6. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: We have that now. There are people who are either outcasts or didn’t feel status quo. We were kind of giving a community to those people. We found it in ourselves as well.

Shortt: To answer your question, there is room for all. There is room for all kinds of Satanism, and all denominations of Satanism in the same way there is room for all kinds of Christianity. There will be sub-sects branching off and doing their own thing. There is nothing static or canon. Although, the Church of Satan would like to think that their stuff is the canonized Satanism. It isn’t. There are so many types of sub-sects.

de Haan: Also, there is an irony to it. In the Satanic Bible, it talks about trying to stray away from dogma intentionally. Yet, what happens is people who adhere to certain groups try to claim ownership, “No, ours is the more real one!”

7. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: But to us, we reject that. There’s no right way to do it. There are some certain sensibilities that we have individually. For instance, I don’t believe that theistic Satanism is actually Satanism. I think it is a reversal of Christianity. You might find different opinions within our ranks on that as well. It depends on sensibilities. Like she said, there is no canon that we speak of, that we have yet. I don’t reject LaVey. Some do. Personally, I don’t.

Shortt: It is all part of the Left Hand path. It is a big umbrella for all of the different religions that put the self first and foremost. The advancement of the self.

8. Jacobsen: You see this in those that don’t put the self first too. For instance, the current Catholic Pope—I believe Discordianism likes to joke that that’s the guy who thinks he’s the only Pope—basically, he is liberalizing much of, not necessarily church doctrine but, perception in the public eye of the Catholic Church. He’s even meeting with the leader of the second largest sect of Christianity.

250-300 million, which is the Eastern Orthodox Church, they met with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, in Cairo of all places! There are times of meetup, I guess. But when you were talking about alternative places for people who don’t really find themselves buying majoritarian mythologies very much, two things came to mind.

One was a United Church of Canada Minister. For context, the United Church of Canada is probably considered the most liberalised Christian church in Canada. I use it as a benchmark. Whatever is controversial to them, it is what Christianity will allow in this country. Not sure about America, things are different in America. The minister’s name is Gretta Vosper.

She lost her faith while in the church. She went from the progression of theist to deist to atheist. Her congregation were fine with the minister. Recently, late 2016, she was under review for her suitability for being in the church. She was giving – for that particular group – moral lessons. Another case I was thinking about was the secular church in, what some would consider the equivalent of the Bible Belt in America, Calgary, Alberta.

So I think there are ways this stuff is cropping up more, and more. And it is heartening to hear this. Media representation is interesting. The United States has very powerful public relations, previously termed propaganda, industry. When I watch interviews with Lucien Greaves, for instance, there’s talking over him. There’s stereotypes. There’s not taking him seriously.

Any bad journalistic practice. He undergoes. Is there a bettering trend in the representation of the media of Satanism?

de Haan: No.

Shortt: No. A Fox News thing posted an article for our veterans’ memorial in Minnesota. First line: “Devil Worshippers Erecting Monument in Bell Plains.”

de Haan: It’s like they won’t even give the courtesy of a Google search, sometimes.

9. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: If you want to see how we’re treated personally, you can Google it. A councilman in Phoenix, Arizona compared us to ISIS. Michelle and I have personally been called terrorists by public officials. We’ve been called bullies, as they tell us to go to hell.

10. Jacobsen: These would be the same person, same personality type, that would bully you in work and then would play the victim.

de Haan: What we see in Christianity a lot is if they don’t get 100% of their way 100% of the time, they play the victim.

11. Jacobsen: [Laughing] of course.

de Haan: That they’re being persecuted. Part of what we do is expose this. I think a lot of stuff people don’t realize is going on until you have someone who comes up, and who is an easy standard to call the ‘wrong religion’.

Shortt: We definitely do not see them being any fairer in their representation of us at all, to answer the question. In fact, almost anything like pizzagate. Or the satanic panic being underway with religious freedom now being the thing. It’s going to happen.

de Haan: Moral panics are on the rise. It is a bit concerning. As they are calling it in the Trump Era, the Post-Fact Era, the facts simply do not matter anymore. What makes you maddest? That’s the truth. You see the things like pizzagate. Where a pizza parlour, they say they’re going to have children sacrifices in the basement. In 2017, this is a throwback to the McMartin babysitter case, which happened in the 80s.

You’re seeing stuff like this happening. Luckily, you have debunking of this pretty quickly. People know about Snopes, and so on. Michelle and I have been the subject of conspiracy theories in Phoenix, in our own cities. There are websites slandering us personally. It is what we deal with, especially if you’re in a leadership position.

12. Jacobsen: Is Arizona any better than the general country, or is it markedly worse in some way?

de Haan: Legally, it is worse. We are considered a battleground state right now, but, from a person-to-person perspective, it is calm right now. We don’t have people protesting our events or yelling at us. We get a lot of death threats online, but that’s the internet.

13. Jacobsen: [Laughing] it’s amazing that it has come to that.

de Haan: [Laughing] yea, but legally, they don’t care. They see that it is not worth the lawsuit, so we’ll give you the 2-minute invocation. Whatever it is that we’re doing.

Shortt: They love to pander to their Christian constituents here. It makes them look good by telling the Satanists, “No, we are in our full legal right to do so.” They will do it anyway.

14. Jacobsen: There is also probably the tacit self-perception of, “I am enacting God’s will in some way. Therefore, I can act in poor taste to those that are against him.”

de Haan: It is moral grandstanding.

15. Jacobsen: Very good point.

de Haan: What is happening is if you take the moral path, anything that is not the moral path obviously is the bad guy. It is black and white. Do not have any introspection. Do not have any analysis of the actual situation. That is another part of the era that we’re in, which is the moral grandstanding. I think the internet perpetuates that.

16. Jacobsen: So when you’re running The Satanic Temple of Arizona, what tasks and responsibilities are coming along with this?

Shortt: Stu and I divide the tasks. We were the first chapter to have two co-chapter heads together. It has worked really well. We work in tandem. He does most of the legal stuff. Because of his work field, as a lawyer, he does legal representation or all of TST. I have now assumed leadership as sole chapter head. He is my spokesperson. Things still run the same. I am the one who pays attention to the details.

I assign tasks. I organize people. I run the social media. I run the website. We have an excellent team of 13, which includes 11 other council members. They each their own set of skills. We have a graphic designer. We have a web guy. We have people who are good with art. So everybody has their own job. They are all extremely motivated to do things. It is great when you have team members that you don’t have to get on their case to get stuff done.

Things are moving along very swiftly. We are always coming up with new ideas for community outreach, since we’re at a standstill with the legal stuff. Stu is working on a bunch of law suits. He’ll tell you in a minute. But I do the at-home community outreach for charities and making sure people have easy access to me, to ask questions, especially now that we’re already focused on activism so much.

People want to know more about Satanism. We want to start a book club.

de Haan: We have a lot of delegating. Michelle is good at that. We have people coming and asking, “What can we do?” Michelle is like, “Well, what can you do? What do you want to do” Some don’t want their family to know about it. They want to come to the events. The way we think about it is three things: political action, civic actions, and then there’s the parties/public rituals. We do Satan in the park, which is a BBQ for everyone to meet each other.

The cultural aspect is letting people know about the books. It is not in a vacuum. So we’re working with a couple people including Lucien Greaves to come up with recommended reading for people.

17. Jacobsen: What is going on with the law? What are the legal battles? Who are you battling with?

de Haan: The general overview, I break it down to a few categories. We have invocation campaigns. This is nationwide. A lot of people didn’t realize that before these city council meetings. They do a prayer, a Christian prayer, like 90% of them. They say it is open to everybody. It is a ‘public forum’. It is not a complete open forum. When we ask to give an invocation, it gets shut down in a number of ways.

We had two of these things happen here in Arizona. One in Phoenix, they changed the system so only chaplains could only give the invocations. That way the public couldn’t meddle with a religion that wasn’t their favourite.

18. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: They literally told us to go to hell and put it in a newspaper.

19. Jacobsen: Oh lovely.

de Haan: Then they ran a campaign slogan that they got rid of the Satanists in the open forum that everyone is welcome in.

20. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: The way the community has responded has been different in every city. It has never happened the same twice. There are various legal problems with that. There is case law that says you don’t have to be a theistic religion, and you can’t viewpoint discriminate as long as it isn’t profanity. Of course, our invocation is very respectful, about empathy. The horrors of empathy!

Shortt: [Laughing].

de Haan: [Laughing] they shut us down so viciously over that speech on empathy – and things like that. The second category is reproductive rights. In Missouri, that’s the battleground for that. There was only one abortion clinic in the state. In order to get an abortion, you had to get a 72-hour waiting period.

21. Jacobsen: Holy smokes.

de Haan: We had a waiver saying, “I am not going to have a 3-day waiting period to read Christian literature against our religion.” Now, there is a federal lawsuit pending, which has been pending for a while on that one – before we got involved, really. That’s one big issue right now. A third category is the After School Satan Club. There’s something called the Good News Club. It is a very Right-wing Christianity. It is not mainstream Christianity.

It is fire and brimstone old school Christianity. It is about day cares in public schools. We have no problem with private entities. But when it is the public and the taxpayers involved, and you’ve got public schoolchildren, they are being told that they are going to hell if they get an abortion. We find these things damaging. So we are going to have a secular after school club called After School Satan. Ironically, the only chapter able to push that through was Salt Lake City, Utah – Mormon territory.

22. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

de Haan: We have some theories around that. Them being a minority religion themselves within the aspect of Christianity. So we are working on that, to see what legal ramifications – if they are only letting Christians have an after school program. The fourth category is our monument campaigns. That’s the one that is very tangible. It is one people notice first because we have an 8-foot tall statue of Baphomet made out of bronze.

Whenever they try to erect these 10 Commandment statues in front of government buildings, we petition to put ours up, then all hell breaks loose.

23. Jacobsen: [Laughing] do you put it facing it?

Shortt: [Laughing].

de Haan: We have a public grounds committee that we go through. Actually, there was some movement on that. In Arkansas, they decided to go through with it without giving us legislative approval. We are looking at that lawsuit as well. I would say those are our four main legal aspects going on throughout the country.

24. Jacobsen: Is it similar for other branches, other chapters?

de Haan: Well, we only have one statue. We don’t have all the resources in the world. The Oklahoma one was taken down when Scott Pruitt was the attorney general there. Lucien Greaves has a great statement as to what an incompetent asshole that guy is. But jokes on us because he got elected to head of the EPA.

Shortt: [Laughing].

25. Jacobsen: Soon to be non-existent based on the one-line bill.

de Haan: The whole point is that the more incompetent they are then the higher in government that they go right now.

26. Jacobsen: Yea.

de Haan: Do you want to talk about our civic stuff?

Shortt: It is our community outreach campaigns. We have a charity run called Menstruatin’ with Satan. It was a charity brought up in Boston chapter. All chapters have to write a proposal for any kind of idea that they want to implement in their chapter They wrote the proposal, which got approved and did very well once they got it running in Boston. So it was basically an idea that was up for grabs for other chapters to piggyback on and do in their own communities, just to get people active.

We can’t be suing everybody all of the time. We are running out of resources to do that. There are other things that we want to make our presence known within the community, to show that we are Satanists and to show that we are still trying to do good for everybody. It establishes us more as a religious presence. So we have Menstruatin’ with Satan. We collect pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. Anything that helps people who have menstrual periods.

We like to include our transgender friends as well. That’s one of our tenets: “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.” Menstruation is definitely something that get swept under the rug, as something that is icky. Nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to think about it, especially when there’s homeless people. What do you they do when they have their menstrual cycle and can’t do anything about it?

This is a way to help the disadvantaged. Also, we plan to adopt a highway fairly soon. Our friends in Colorado. They went to do the first adopt-a-highway. We will probably piggyback on that idea as well.

27. Jacobsen: You noted in the earliest parts of the interview about Anton LaVey, as per his description of it, that, basically, modern Satanism began in about 1960. Then Margaret Sanger, with the pill, came in 1960, on the nose. I note trends, where there are converging movements. You’re describing with Menstruatin’ with Satan, as well as Margaret Sanger and reproductive health rights – equitable and safe access to reproductive health technologies for women.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the same people that would be demonising – pardon the pun – Satanism in general are also the ones making direct, and indirect, attacks on women’s access, as you’re noting only one abortion clinic and having to wait 72 hours and having to read Christian literature about it—

de Haan: It is a shaming aspect. The mainstream religion here is very moralistic. They want to make it as shameful and painful as possible. We see it as sadistic. It is not pious. It is based on bad science, which is one of our tenets. That we adhere to the best scientific knowledge of our time. Of course, that evolves. If it changes, we adapt with it. We think that harming women because they made a decision to engage in an activity that they might not condone – premarital sex and what have you – and make the decision that this isn’t a life I can provide for.

They want to shame them. They want to punish them. That is very against what Satanism is about. We want to help people. We do not want to judge people for ‘sinful’ behaviour – so to speak. I don’t think it’s coincidental either. It was 1966-69 when LaVey started this. It was right in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. I don’t think any of this stuff is coincidental. I think this whole rise of theocracy, which is a whole other conversation. That has been traced back to Dwight Eisenhower and Reagan using that as his base.

Next thing you know, there is this blurring of the separation of church and state. You see it withering a crumbling, then you see Christians telling what the government can do. Gays can’t get married, then they can. Then there’s freaking out about that. I think the movements arise out of that.

28. Jacobsen: So what’s the next step? How do not only move the conversation forward in the public mind as you’re doing outreach – in other words, changing the conversation and enacting that change, but also specific initiatives other than general outreach that you’re likely to be engaged in the near and hopefully the far future as well?

Shortt: Like Stu was saying, we are going to be trying to develop the cultural aspect of our religion. The beauty of TST is reach chapter is fairly autonomous. We have our directives from the national council about how to proceed with certain actions like protests. It is more like developing that cultural aspect that we so dearly lack, especially since we have a lot of newcomers that have no clue where Satanism came from.

They want to know more, but don’t know where to go. We will develop the book list and try to get more people involved in the history of Satanism rather than just focusing on having protests against the next fad. So we definitely want to have a lasting impact that people can associate with the religion.

de Haan: One thing to too is people who think we’re trolls, so to speak. That we’re trying to troll the Right. There is so much more to it than that. That is something that we want to emphasize. The Christians hate us. The atheists hate us because they think we’re phonies.  So we get it from both sides. We also want to make clear. We don’t fight for the sake of fighting. We don’t battle things just because we can. There is a whole reason for doing what we’re doing.

It is more that aspect. That we’re trying to show to people. We don’t recruit. We don’t care about proselytizing. If this is for you, then you’re welcome. If not, then we don’t care.

Shortt: [Laughing].

de Haan: We don’t have to justify ourselves.

29. Jacobsen: It is very American too. It is freedom from and to, rather than just freedom to, but I am free to proselytize [Laughing]. It is also lopsided. You’re saying you are getting it from both sides. I guess the term “Militant Atheism” came into play when Dawkins gave the Ted talk on that. I believe that got a snicker, snicker, from the crowd. That started following his text with Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett.

Now, Hitchens is deceased. The religious Right, they are active. They are wealthy. They have a lot of power and influence, as opposed to the ‘atheist lobby’ in the United States. It seems increasingly active, but less wealthy and less influential.

Shortt: We do get it from all sides. The atheists, they – because they do not have a “sincerely held religious belief” that they can cite for not being able to have the same freedoms that those who do have religious belief can cite – see us, as Satanists, as having that which they lack, which is a religion. A sincerely held religious belief that we can put on the table and ask for equal representation.

We get it from atheist trolls using Satanism. We get it from other Satanists that don’t like The Satanic Temple, usually LaVeyans. That we’re putting Satanism in the public forum, where it doesn’t belong. Regardless of what any of them say, we have been the most successful for any organization fighting for religious equality within the government here. They are going to allow us the Satanists, and cause public outrage, or they are going to allow public practice, which probably didn’t belong there in the first place.

30. Jacobsen: Any thoughts or feelings in conclusion about what we’ve talked about today?

Shortt: We are growing at an exponential rate. It is quite awesome how many people come to us from everywhere. I try to keep our social media very active. We make ourselves very available to the public. I think the public sees that. I think ours is one of the more successful chapters. I don’t mean to toot our own horn.

de Haan: [Laughing].

31. Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Shortt: [Laughing] we are attracting people from all walks of life. There are those that come to us for the activism. There are those that come for the Satanism because they are outcasts and have nowhere else to go. We accept them regardless, whether you’re a Satanist or not. If you want to hang with our group, then that’s cool. You don’t have to be a Satanist. That’s not what we’re trying to do.

de Haan: We have another ritual coming up in November. We’ll do it at the quarry. We go down to this bar in Bisby. The owner is friendly with our cause. We do a satanic cleansing. We did one last November, where we dawned out own crowns of thorns. In Utah, they have the baptism ceremonies. They set you on fire to get rid of your own unconsensually given faith. It is all symbolic. There is nothing magic about it.

They are supposed to be meaningful to the individual. I really enjoy that aspect of it. The “psychodrama” is what we call it.

32. Jacobsen: The idea of the psychodrama reminds of – I forget who said it because it has been several months – someone stated that they were against the term ex-Muslim because it is as if you’re playing on the terms of that theology. If you identify as an ex-Muslim, then you, in a way, play into the hands of those who would call you an apostate. So they were more for not using the term at all.

I think it is a similar theme of those who are non-consensually co-opted into a faith.

Shortt: It gives a foreground of what to expect, what kind of guilt that person probably holds upon their shoulders.

33. Jacobsen: Right.

Shortt: Because as someone who is part of an ex-faith, they might have different quirks than someone who was ex- of another faith. I see your point. I find that incredibly interesting. Why not call yourself atheist rather than ex-whatever?

34. Jacobsen: Or, “Do you believe in X?” “No.”

de Haan: Religion is less to do with faith and more to do with identity. That’s what people are coming up with now. This is part of who you are, literally since you were born. I think people have a hard time detaching themselves from that, justifiably. But to us, finding this, it was an extreme liberation, “I found one that I chose.” It gives a deep sense of meaning.

Or sometimes, especially in the atheist community, there wasn’t one in the social aspect and a code of conduct to live by. If you’re an atheist, you don’t have that to live by, and to me it is very dry.

35. Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, guys.

Shortt: Thank you.


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Wasser, M. (2016, January 29). Phoenix City Councilman’s Fury Over Satanic Temple Prompts Social Media Civics Lesson. Retrieved from

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Michelle Shortt, Chapter Head, and Stuart “Stu” de Haan, Spokesperson, The Satanic Temple (Arizona Chapter).

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 22, 2017 at; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2017 at


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