The Satanic Temple announced Wednesday that the IRS granted it tax exempt status as a religious nonprofit, claiming it as a victory against theistic organizations’ “exclusive rights.”
The Satanic Temple claimed in a social media post that its new status would place it on equal footing with other religious organizations, giving it “the same access to public spaces” and enabling it “to apply for faith-based government grants.” The temple’s claims seem redundant, however, in light of the fact that any 501c3 organization, religious or otherwise, is qualified to apply for government grants. There are also no government grants exclusive to faith-based institutions.
“We are pleased to announce that for the very first time in history, a satanic organization has been recognized by the United States federal government as being a church,” the temple’s statement read.
“This acknowledgement will help make sure The Satanic Temple has the same access to public spaces as other religious organizations, affirm our standing in court when battling religious discrimination, and enable us to apply for faith-based government grants,” it added.
The federal government states clearly, however, that when approving grants it does not discriminate against nonprofit community organizations based on their religious character or lack thereof.
“The federal government does not discriminate against non-governmental organizations on the basis that such organizations have a religious character. Faith-based organizations are eligible to compete for grant funds on the same basis as all other non-governmental organizations,” reads a statement from the Health Resources and Services Administration website.
“Decisions about grant applications and awards will be made based solely on the competence, capacity, and actions of the provider, not whether it is a secular or faith-based provider,” it said.
Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, decided to pursue tax exempt status for the organization in response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 religious freedom executive order. Greaves claimed that achieving tax exempt status was necessary to ensure that other nonprofit organizations have the same rights as religious organizations.
“As ‘the religious’ are increasingly gaining ground as a privileged class, we must ensure that this privilege is available to all, and that superstition doesn’t gain exclusive rights over non-theistic religions or non-belief,” Greaves wrote in a newsletter, according to Rolling Stone.
The Satanic Temple did not clarify which rights Greaves believed were in danger of becoming “exclusive” to theistic organizations. The temple’s new status also did not secure any new rights for non-religious nonprofit organizations.
Representatives of The Satanic Temple did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by the time of publication.
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