Satanists square off on abortion (Yes, really)
The UK Church of Satan says it supports a variety of views on abortion. But is the church real?
July 9th, 2013
03:27 PM ET

Satanists square off on abortion (Yes, really)

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN)- Are Satanists for or against abortion? Apparently, there's a hot debate.

A group calling itself the "UK Church of Satan" on Twitter says it's open minded, tweeting out "Why Wouldn't Satanism be pro-life?" on July 5.

But the High Priest of the New York-based Church of Satan says it's squarely in the abortion-rights corner.

How to settle this diabolical duel?

Let's back up first.

As Texas legislators debated a law last week that would restrict abortions in the Lone Star State, a group of abortion rights protesters tried to drown out a group of anti-abortion protesters at the state capitol by chanting "Hail Satan!"

The phrase trended on Twitter. Megapastor Rick Warren rapped our wrists (and The Associated Press's, too) for not covering the "Hail Satan" serenade. Actually, pastor, our man Josh Rubin was on the ball.

The UK Church of Satan (assuming it's real) jumped on the trend, tweeting on July 3:

Which raises the question: What does Satanism represent?

We asked the New York-based Church of Satan, and we got an earful.

First of all, Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan, told us, there is no "UK Church of Satan."

"I have not authorized any of our UK members to create such a thing claiming to represent our organization, its members and our philosophy," Gilmore said. "So, whoever is behind that feed is committing a fraud."

Gilmore's group, which, unlike the UK church, has a website, also keeps a P.O. Box in New York City. (Radio City Station of all places. Watch out, Rockettes.)

As a matter of policy, the Church of Satan doesn't give out exact membership numbers, the magus said, but it's in the thousands.

"Our organization, founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, is worldwide," Gilmore told CNN in an e-mail, "and we have many members throughout the UK and none of them have heard of any self-proclaimed 'Church of Satan in England.' There was a hoax using a title like this a year or so ago as a political prank."

We put the question to the UK Church of Satan,  who said, "There is no 'UK' Church of Satan. It's worldwide. We represent and connect those followers 'in' the UK."

We've followed up with more questions but haven't heard back yet.

To be sure, the UK Satanists' tweets have been surprisingly unsulfurous.

Take this one, for example:

Or this sweet-natured nugget:

This is a church that worships the Prince of Darkness? And who in hell is JMG?

Getting back to abortion, here's what the supposed UK Church of Satan said:

Yeah, kinda, Gilmore told CNN. But there's much more to it than that.

Many Satanists practice "rational birth control," saith Satanism's high priest, leaving matters of personal morality up to individuals.

"We generally consider the use of abortion to be the purview of the woman whose body is carrying the child," Gilmore said. "We consider sexual experiences to be an indulgence between consenting adults that should be taken seriously, particularly when the possibility of pregnancy is concerned."

But the magus didn't appreciate hearing the name of his lord taken in vain.

"Shouting `Hail Satan!' to abortion protesters is both ludicrous and meaningless," said Gilmore, who's led the Church of Satan since 2001. "Only attention-seeking fools would do so."

Unsurprisingly, Satanists take a strong stand on separation of church and state, believing the government "should be entirely secular."

"So religion should neither force upon nor deny an abortion for any woman, in our thinking," Gilmore said. "Freedom with responsibility is the hallmark of civilized behavior to the Satanist."

Now that that's settled, what's the Satanic stance on gay marriage?


In a follow-up email, Gilmore made it clear that Satanists don't actually deify Satan. In fact, they're atheist, he said, and use Satan as a "symbol of pride, liberty and individualism."

"If you chose to mock us, then you should have done so based on what our philosophy actually is, rather than on an assumed `horror film' stereotype," the magus said.

Fair criticism. We'll try to improve our coverage of Satanism.

Oh, one more thing. Gilmore said the Church of Satan does approve of same-sex marriage.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Church and state • Culture wars • Satanism

soundoff (2,331 Responses)
  1. District 9

    Why would anyone want to abort what could be the next Satan?

    July 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Acegirlshusband

      Well, maybe they think if it COULD be aborted, its not really Satan's little scion.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Johnny

      Just in case it is the next Jesus instead?

      July 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  2. Hooligan

    I find this to be a strange stance seeing how satanism is about SELF preservation and their teachings are about making ones self happy over all others.

    It should be called the church of ME rather then the church of satansim since they dont believe in satan at all.

    July 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  3. Chris

    The Church of Satanis no better than the Church of Christ. Both are made up mumbo jumbo inspired by the exact same doctrine, granted partaking of different sides of that spectrum.

    You want to be the adult equivalent to your 8 year old self who believed in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny? Believe in a religion.

    Want to be a free-thinker who uses science and logic to determine his place in the universe, etc? Join the Church of rationality and actuality and become an atheist.

    July 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • For the 432nd time today . . . oh forget it. Nobody bothers to know what they are talking about

      Aside from being totally wrong, that was a great point

      July 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • FatSean

      Why? Tribalism. This is ingrained in humans. Hundreds of religions and sects. Why not pick a brand that reflects your opinions in the domain of religion? In 2013 the statement of religious belief is simply posturing. Don't take it so seriously!

      July 9, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Chris

      I tell you what. You keep believing in your religion and your "god" and I'll be believing in my science and my logic. Some of us don't need a magical blanket to protect us from life, death, our world, the universe, and those nagging and unanswerable questions of "Why"?

      July 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Chuckling

      Chris: You are showing YOUR ignorance. The fact that you think one has to choose science or religion shows that you are either confused about science or religion. They do indeed support each other. Stop being a lazy atheist and look into it.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  4. lionlylamb2013


    July 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      LaLa, you are the absolute Grand High Poobah of Stupid.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • laura

      don't watch the video it's a virus!

      July 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  5. Next1

    People from UK will never stop to amaze me. I wonder what kind of stupidity they will come up with next time.

    July 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tony Blair

      Maybe troll on the CNN belief blog as Next1. That must be rock bottom.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  6. mauicom

    Although their are Satanists who call themselves Theistic Satanists which denotes belief in Satan as a deity, the majority of Satanists are atheists thanks in no small part to the work of that rapscallion Anton Szandor Lavey (a carny at heart). The third rate hack blog author says "But the magus didn't appreciate hearing the name of his lord taken in vain.", though he should well know the Church of Satan is Atheist. How colud he know? I looked up their website and clicked on FAQ. It was the first thing mentioned.

    Meanwhile I bet the CoS gets a nice little bump in membership registrations from this one eh? Now that's "Diabolical"! 😉

    July 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
  7. josh

    It's actually funny that a Satanist twitter page is pro life. And even more that its talking about being happy and full of love. The honest truth is that usually satan-minded individuals hate everyone including their parents. So this whole loving feeling they talk about is pure bull. Lets *suppose* if someone looked at the core of what satan represents. Satan does not care for human life, only to oppress his people and others. He doesn't even care for those who follow him.

    July 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • For the 431th time today

      They don't actually believe in Satan. Really. It's just a stupid name.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • Lucifer

      Well Josh, you seem to know a lot about satanists. Why don't you visit the church of satan webside and find out what they actually believe. That is if you have the balls to look at their site.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Shelby

      Atheists calling themselves Satanists are trying to usurp the name from real Satanists who really do worship Satan and do believe he is more powerful than God. They're no better than the new age crowd who are trying to usurp the word witch from real witches.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Dr. Evil

      . . . from . . . real . . . witches . . .


      July 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Chris

      How's being a Satanist and Different than being a Christian? Both are equal halves of the same story? And assuming you do believe in such nonsense, who's to say the followers of Jesus are really the pure, good, and moral ones? Perhaps God conned you all and it is he that is evil and Satan that is good. That would certainly explain the Satanists pro-life, pro-love, pro-peace stance.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • josh

      I don't have any intention of being a believer of satan. maybe your too conceited to understand what satan represents. do you believe everything you hear that caters your ignorance. and you say satan loves but yet you don't. you no understanding of what you speak therefore you are already judged. You think satan loves you? he hates you but you still love him for his lies. I have no intention to be as blind as you. may you see in your future endeavours and be blessed.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • josh

      for those who are though interested in learning more about "Satanism" you should check out http://www.goodfight.org/a_co_sataniccults.html. This link gives you a in-depth look at true meaning of what a true Satanist represents.

      July 10, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  8. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Anyone who believes in "satan" is as ludicrous as those who believe in "god"! Gimme a break!

    Ooooh, I believe in a chrome-plated teapot that resides somewhere out in the Kuiper Belt. HA HA HA!

    No, no, wait. It's actually solid gold and is somewhere between Jupiter and Mars. HA HA HA!

    July 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • For the 430th time today

      They don't actually believe in Satan.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
  9. Lucifer

    "Fair enough criticism. We'll make sure our coverage improves."
    CNN, your reporting is always cr@p no matter what the subject. Why would it change now?

    July 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Kroth the Bunny-Hammerer, Minion of Tim the Condiment-Applier

      Daniel Burke is trying to be the Belief Blog's shallowest, most ill-informed journalist, but it's stiff competetion for that honor.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  10. The Message

    The fight thus continues between Good and evil. We, who bring God's word to the spiritually dead and lost are not always appreciated, but God's Word Shall Live On Forever and Prevail! There are many who are obviously followers of anti-Christ and as such being in denial of their true God in Heaven don't realize that their soul is imperiled. You can always tell, unequivocally, by what they are saying when they deny that Jesus is the Christ.

    "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is anti-Christ, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." - 1 JOHN 2:22-23 (KJV)

    July 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Kroth the Bunny-Hammerer, Minion of Tim the Condiment-Applier

      We atheists DO appreciate you saying that stuff. Howl it from every street corner! Post it on every blog! Put it on billboards!

      You are the best recruiters for secularism we could ever hope for.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Believability in anything other than Godliness ideals and principles along with principalities and statehoods are tantamount imbecilic issuances or a depraved mind whose only measures are infantile inequitable issuances of "demonocracies".

      July 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Kroth the Bunny-Hammerer, Minion of Tim the Condiment-Applier

      The Alzheimer's is getting worse, eh Lamby?

      July 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Kroth the Bunny-Hammerer, Minion of Tim the Condiment-Applier,

      The only illness I have came from my desires to become socially accepted but alas, I need no social enchantments for my sanity's sakes. I can see where others dare to not tread. I hunt out that which others can't trail. I seek out the slow ways of the common snail.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • The Message

      Yet Kroth, your anti-Christian words with an aim to divert God's children away from Him would obviously mean that one more lost soul to many more would join the rest who are now living in limbo in eternal darkness after they passed-on and were judged accordingly by God. That is truly nothing to be proud of since such a sentence is for eternity. And your message to the ears of many who would prefer that darkness no doubt resonates in their ears. But the Light of Truth which is of God so frightens you and those like you that you are literally withering away in denial preferring to live in such darkness by your being lost to God's word of Truth. But that choice is entirely yours.

      Do not however blame us when you get to your appointed place for we having wanted to help you while you still had a chance here on Earth to become Born Again in Jesus Christ thus, Assuring Your Salvation and your soul being sent to God for eternity to be able to enter into Heaven. Life is not permanent here you must surely know. No one knows if they will be around tomorrow in order to join the family of Christ, therefore, Do It Now. Choose to Err instead on the side of caution and to hell, literally, with your non-Believer satanist friends who do not have your best interests and/or salvation in mind and who plainly and frankly do not care about where You will spend eternity.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Johnny

      Let me translate that last post:

      Your going to be in big trouble when my daddy gets home you poopy pants.

      July 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  11. vivdrummer

    Let me just say that I, for one, don't bow to anyone. Not God, not Satan. I think for myself.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • For the 429th time today

      They don't bow to satan either. In fact, they don't even believe in him.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      While it's kind of ignorant for people not to research the group before commenting you have to also lay the blame on Burke for misrepresenting them and on the Satanists themselves for picking such a damn silly name.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • For the 429th time today


      As to the name, I think it's kind of a "Moon Unit" kind of name: it sounded really clever on acid, but later, when they were sober and stuck with it, well, it just wasn't that amazing an idea after all.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Saraswati


      "t sounded really clever on acid, but later, when they were sober and stuck with it, well, it just wasn't that amazing an idea after all."

      LOL, yeah, a likely origin. I suspect it's sustained only by a continually changing set of tripping 19 year olds who like the satanists before them also think it's funny for a while.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Jen

      If you bow to something imaginary are you actually bowing to anything?

      July 10, 2013 at 7:54 am |
  12. HA!

    Very funny...the only thing more ridiculous than the theory of God is the theory there is a master of evil called Satan...how much BS will the world put up with before we take that GIGANTIC leap forward in our history and move away from the fairy tales...

    July 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  13. Clarke

    What ever floats your boat!

    July 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  14. Petr

    I havn't had a very high opinion of Satanists since they did 911. Like any religion some of them are good people who keep their beliefs to themself but the others give me shivers.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Bun Bugsy

      I really hope you are kidding. I really really really hope you are kidding

      July 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Akira

      9/11? Really? That's a new theory. Reynold's must love you.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Kroth the Bunny-Hammerer, Minion of Tim the Condiment-Applier

      I think it is great the Satanists invented the 911 emergency number. That's better than anything Jesus did.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Astonished

      If they were Satanists, why did they claim they were doing it for Islam??

      July 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The 999 emergency number is more satanic than 911 ... an inverted 666. Maybe he's just thinking the wrong country?

      July 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Charlie Brown

      Petr-I don't think satanists had anything to do with it although you never know. To me it seems like they're just another wacky cult but harmless.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Dave

      how does The Satanic Verses play into all this?

      July 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  15. Carol R

    I don't believe anyone shouted anything about Satan ,therefore Daniel Burke should have to PROVE what he says started this entire thing. I don't think he can.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      Look at the video.


      July 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm |

    • Could Daniel Burke and faith be one-and-the-same person?

      July 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

        I would never hide my identity. Cheesy and dishonest. When I have something to say, you'll hear it.

        July 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  16. TMJ

    Wow. I remember when CNN was a reputable news source and not a FOX news wannabe.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  17. lionlylamb2013

    Our time seems ripe for de-weeding the general populace via WWIII. Blame me for its fortuitous coming for as an advocate for all things godly in God, I can visualize what the general populace refrains from seeing. For I was born in the year of the double-stamped nickel and lived out 33 years of being free of any religious valuations. Since my 33rd year, I was inundated with spiritually unpleasant visions and socialized ills.

    Now 58, I can see quite plainly the incantations of the aristocrats and politicians and the religious movements along with the many social circles of non-complacencies ripping away the very fabrics of humane practices. My being but a religious advocate for humanisms continuation depends upon my being judged when I die and am placed upon God's judgment throne. With Christ being my defender and in defense of civilization's ongoing ways, I will humbly ask that this world will be spared God's wrath until the grip of perversion enables civilization to come full circle and they see their agonizing faults.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Skippy Peanutbutter

      You have gone from blaming the firefighters to a bizarre fire-lane-the-U.S. scheme to wanting large parts of the world killed because they don't agree with you, all wrapped in the most puerile prose possible.

      You've had a very busy day!

      July 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Kind Skippy Peanutbutter,

      I never blamed the firefighters for fighting their wars but I am very angry at their leaderships ineptness for putting these "hotshots" in the line of fire way out in the wastelands where the fire was not doing anyone or any manmade structures any harm. Who I blame are these firefighters' leaderships for not utilizing their forces to in a manner that would have secured public structures from being scorched by placing fire breaks around any public structures before forest fires begin.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Skippy Peanutbutter

      You are very persistent in your stupidity. Why don't you call up the Arizona state wild fire department and tell them your little scheme? I'm sure they need a good laugh in this dark time.

      Or, if you don't want to put the effort into it, you can just accept that your idea is stupid beyond words.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Akira

      How in the hell are people supposed to fight fires unless they're actually there?? If you don't know anything about the firefighting strategy, which always carries risks, then why are you commenting?

      You are, indeed, blaming the victims, for dying while doing their jobs.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  18. Casey

    Glory to God in the Highest. May the Lord Jesus, Father of Truth and Love, protect us in these times of decline and hate.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Skippy Peanutbutter

      Actually, health, affluence, safety and peace have all continually improved as the belief in god has declined in America. Less so in the Bible Belt.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Athy

      Casey, that just sounds so silly to a nonbeliever

      July 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Casey: You DO realize that religious idiots have been saying that crap for 2 THOUSAND years now, right?

      July 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Casey

      Hey Skippy!

      Are you implying causality? You seem to be... and if so, your logic is flawed. The things you point to have been steadily improving for at least the last 400 years... while the massive decline in basic decency, and Faith in God has manifested within the last 15 – 20 years. If anything, this points to the exact inverse of what you propose. Although it's a stretch to correlate the two factors in any way.. but if we must, for the sake of conversation... I would say the high amount of success, and leisure time, has developed into a self-centered, hedonistic and narcissistic society that rejects anything that places bounds on personal behavior. There are other factors of course... especially with young impressionable minds that are highly subject to peer pressure and approval seeking. This seems like a more plausible hypotheses for the relationship in societal success and Faith than what you propose.

      July 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Casey


      Why must you hurl insults and call others an "idiot?" Are you so certain that you know the make-up of the Universe? Regardless, are you incapable of common decency? You seem to be just another bully who, in the best case, is intolerant of people who mean you no harm, cause you no issues, and only desire the best for you.

      July 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Casey, what do you expect us unbelievers to do? After all, isn't our fault that we are in these "times of decline and hate?" I think you can handle being called an "idiot." After all, instead of loving his enemies, as he commands you to do, god is going to do the opposite, and fry us forever and ever in a pit of fiery torture. And you call this "good." But yeah, we'll try to refrain from calling you any hurtful words. ::eye roll::

      July 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  19. lol??

    If it wasn't for the Trinity they wouldn't exist.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • LDV

      (2 Timothy 3:7)  always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth.

      July 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  20. lol??

    They are actually based out of mob city chicago and eat a lot of goatburgers and cheese at a Billy Goat Tavern.

    You see it on their symbol. wiki:

    Satanists use a pentagram with two points up, often inscribed in a double circle, with the head of a goat inside the pentagram. This is referred to as the Sigil of Baphomet. They use it much the same way as the Pythagoreans, as Tartaros literally translates from Greek as a "Pit" or "Void" in Christian terminology (the word is used as such in the Bible, referring to the place where the fallen angels are fettered). The Pythagorean Greek letters are most often replaced by the Hebrew letters לויתן forming the name Leviathan. Less esoteric LaVeyan Satanists use it as a sign of rebellion or religious identification, the three downward points symbolising rejection of Trinity.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Lee

      Another lying tidbit brought to you by the biggest Liar For Jesus Christianity ever spawned. Tsk, tsk. Commandment 9 BROKEN! Yer goin ta HELL!

      July 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Mike F

      The pentagram is one of the oldest Christian symbols and represents the cross, so inverting it would symbolize rejection of Jesus and what the cross represents.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Akira

      "Cheesebugah cheesebugah cheesebugah! No fries! Chips!"

      July 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • The Ghost of John Belushi

      It's "No Coke, Pepsi!"

      July 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.