By Matt Lebovic, The Times of Israel, 10/26/2016
SALEM, Massachusetts — Just in time for Halloween, a controversial Satanic temple has set up its international headquarters in Massachusetts’ beloved Salem.
Located one-mile from historic sites tied to Salem’s 1692 witchcraft hysteria, the building — a former funeral home — was inaugurated last month by activist Malcolm Jarry, a self-described “secular Jew” who co-founded The Satanic Temple (TST) in 2013. Jarry is a pseudonym, and he refuses to be photographed.
The temple houses an art gallery in honor of Baphomet, a “sabbatic goat” representing the universe. Behind the two-story building, an eight-foot tall statue of Baphomet sits in a plain shed, where visitors can pay to view it.
With up to 50,000 members in chapters around the world, TST has garnered colossal media attention in the last three years. Chief among Jarry’s causes are marriage equality and women’s reproductive freedom. Any issue related to the government using religion to restrict individual freedom is also likely to engage temple leaders, some of whom staged a 2014 “Black Mass” at Harvard University to push the envelope on religious freedom.
Outside of New England, TST has taken legal action against the placement of edifices of the Ten Commandments in civic settings, including statehouses. To illustrate how such displays violate religious freedom, the temple has insisted it be allowed to erect goat-headed Baphomet statues in the same locations. TST is also planning to take on some schools’ use of isolation, denial of bathroom access, and corporal punishment of children.
For the 49-year-old Jarry, there is not much conflict between being Jewish and a Satanist. As a matter of fact, the two identities have come to inform each other, he said.
“I see it like Buddhism,” said Jarry. “Satanism is something that can co-exist with being a Jew,” he said.
In addition to Jarry’s belief that Judaism and Satanism can co-exist, there are parallels with how Judaism and Satanism have been branded by their detractors, he said.
“The false accusations that have been thrown at Jews historically are similar to what some people say about Satanism,” said Jarry, mentioning accusations of blood libel and — more recently — fabricated allegations that Israel perpetrates genocide against Palestinian children.
“I do not accept when people delegitimize Israel or use lies to marginalize Israel,” said Jarry. “I am an unwavering supporter of Israel, so long as it remains democratic, pluralistic, and protects human rights.”
“The secret of the blood is not known to all Jews, but only to the chakim [doctors] or the Rabbis and the scholars, who therefore carry the title “Conservatori del Mistero del Sangue” [Conservators or Guardians of the Blood Mysteries]. They pass it on by word of mouth [oral tradition] to the Jewish fathers. They in turn reveal it to their sons [as a rite of passage as well as a cult initiation ritual] who regard this as a great honor. They make terrible threats of punishment in one of them betrays this secret. [Very common in secret societies – Masonic ceremonies involve similar death threats]. When I was thirteen years old… they took me aside [initiatory secrets are revealed] and described to me the hatred of Christianity [revealing the target and purpose of the sect]… and that God ordered the Christians to be slaughtered and to collect their blood… My Son, he said as he kissed me, I have placed my trust in you. With these words he put a crown on my head [symbolizing the formal rite of passage into the cult] and explained to me the Blood Secret, adding that Jehovah had revealed it to the Hebres and commanded them to practice it. I was in the future, [transgenerational transmission of the traditions] possessor of the most important secret of the Hebrew religion.” – Grand Rabbi Teofito, 1803, FreudsMafia.com, pp. 77-78