Seattle's Satanic Temple chapter is campaigning against a "In God We Trust" sign set to be put up in a Clark County public hearing room in Vancouver.
The county council voted to accept and display the sign last month after it was donated by a nonprofit organization.
They said the sign is not "promoting" or "establishing" a religion, but merely reflecting an historical fact and a motto that appears on our federal currency.
The Satanist group says if the council actually hangs the sign, they will demand a sign of their own. Their sign, they say, will indicate it is sponsored by Seattle's Satanic Temple and will read "E Pluribus Unum" or "From the Many, One."
Clark County Manager Mark McCauley says they "will" hang the "In God We Trust" sign, but doesn't believe the Satanist sign "would be welcomed by the county council."
This conflict will play out in the coming days and weeks.
The story behind this episode---the back story, is both revealing and informative. It is also heart breaking.
Lilith Starr, who founded the Seattle Chapter of the Satanist group last year, told KING 5, "We see Satan as our symbol of the rebel against tyranny." God, of course being the tyranny against which Satan rebelled.
This story has now become national news. Citizens, conservatives and people of Christian faith are watching to see the outcome because it is important to them. Atheists and Satanists are watching to see how it plays out so they can create new strategies going forward.
Lilith Starr told KING 5 their main goal is to engage in activism to separate church and state, but they're worried Seattle won't offer many fights, suggesting the battle against God has pretty much been won in Seattle.
"So in a way," she says, "we're really excited it happened in our state and that we get to help."
Amy Whims, a member of the Seattle Satanic Temple told KING 5, "This gives us our first opportunity to make a difference"---"To be able to go out and make a difference in the world and have people who will do that with me." Whims says she sees the Satanic Temple as a "religion of rebels."
Starr founded the Seattle chapter of the Satanist group late last year. KING 5 reported on the formation of the chapter last November. The group's first official meeting was in December.
KING 5 said at the time, "Lilith Starr practices a premeditation ritual every morning."
Lilith begins her day with "Ave Satanas," lights a candle and rings a bell.
The phrase means "Hail Satan" and is practiced by many Satanists.
You wonder how a person gets to this place---worshipping Satan and putting such effort into rebelling against God.
Lilith says she had basically "given upon on life." She was depressed and addicted, she had tried 12 step programs, but nothing had worked.
She says, "They had this insistence that God would fix it for you."
"It was Satan" she claims who really turned her life around.
"But not Satan," she says, "just the idea" because "we don't believe in any supernatural beings, God or Satan."
She, her husband and their group of followers have, she says, "found energy " around "organized atheism."
Starr remembers growing up as an outcast. She says Satan gives her and others a sense of belonging.
She has also written of how she has seen other young adults who were scared from traditional, restrictive Christian beliefs.
"But," she says, "you are the one who is empowered to change your own life, there is nobody you can turn to, especially a supernatural God."
Neither the "sense of belonging" or the "energy" she claims in "Hailing Satan" seems to be delivering for her.
On October 6, 2014, having been a Satanist for some time and preparing to request permission to form the Seattle Satanist Temple, she wrote to her followers:
"I gaze at the full moon as I take a hit of the pot, something I seldom do thanks to asthma. All is well with the world again. My depression has cleared since my anguished trip to the doctor this afternoon...I look back at the round moon, and think of my inner struggle between dark and light, the extremes that tear at me in every second, pulling me apart...I think of how long I've struggled to find the right magic for the full moon, when the dark moon has always claimed me body and soul."
This is the profile of a young woman who is desperately searching for Truth and purpose and wholeness.
It is a snapshot of Satan's finest, most destructive moment...appearing to be an angel of light, while roaring and destroying as a lion.
It breaks my heart.
Before Paul outlined the sins that are so destructive in Romans chapter 1, verses 21-32, he gave a clear solution to the perversion and the confusion. In chapter 1 verse 16 he wrote to the church, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..."
Can you imagine the transformation in our lives and culture, if the church would focus more on the "power" and less on "relating" to the culture?
Deliverance. Restoration. Purpose. Wholeness. Freedom. Eternal Life.