Hail Satan? Telegraph Article by Andy Moore

Posted 20 August 2019

Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colourful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is a provocative, charming and hilarious new documentary.

The Satanic Temple, though they trade in satanic imagery, doesn’t actually believe in Satan. Instead, they’re using the idea of religious freedom to challenge corrupt authority and the religious right’s influence on US politics.

Setting up a new series of anarchic public actions, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humour, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some unexpectedly profound ways.

One of the Temple’s principal aims is to draw attention to the hypocrisy of a society that is, on paper, built on religious freedom and religious pluralism, but in practice often promotes monotheism. Specifically, Christianity.  

In Hail Satan? we follow one of the most amusing manifestations of this “trolling” of the US government and the religious right. The Temple successfully raise funds for, and construct, a giant bronze statue of Baphomet, an occult deity who takes the form of a creature with the body of a man and the head of a goat. Sat astride a giant throne with angel wings protruding from his back and two cherubic children at his sides, the statue is a striking bit of theatre.

The Temple push to have the statue installed on government grounds in places where monuments to Christianity – such as stone tablets depicting the Ten Commandments – have been erected. Their ultimate goal is not to have the Baphomet installed, but to draw attention to what they see as the fundamentally unconstitutional connection between church and state that the Ten Commandments statues represent.

One of the most compelling characters we hear from in the film is Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesman for The Satanic Temple. A social activist, religious freedom advocate and Harvard graduate, Greaves has provided much of the intellectual leadership of the movement. Sharply dressed in black and with one clouded eye, he cuts a striking figure. He’s also tremendously articulate, and speaks with great clarity – and with more than a hint of mischief – on the issues that animate him regarding religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

We’re incredibly excited that Lucien Greaves will be joining us for a live Skype Q&A after our 8.45pm screening on Friday the 23rd August. Join us for what promises to be a devilish discussion!

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