Not a day goes by that a group that calls itself “Queer Satanic” (despite admitting to the fact that they don’t identify with Satanism, which they have described as “cringy”) aren’t trying to convince people of the unlikely charge that The Satanic Temple harbors unacknowledged antisemitism. The fact that one of TST’s cofounders, Malcolm Jarry, is a Satanist Jew, outspoken defender of Jewish rights in the face of antisemitism, with grandparents who were Holocaust survivors goes unmentioned, though he is sometimes of accused of being a “Zionist Nationalist” by the same people who describe TST as antisemitic.
The charge of antisemitism rests on comments made by Lucien Greaves, literally a full 20 years ago, in which he stated harsh criticism of the Jewish religion. Greaves described the Jewish religion as being fair game for ridicule while explaining that he did not feel that it was okay to discriminate against people in any way for being of Jewish lineage. While this aggressive anti-theism was later described by Greaves as a poorly articulated and embarrassing commentary that he no longer stands by (preferring instead to respect all faiths so long as they respect other people’s rights to not conform to their beliefs), it never was the radical right-wing tirade that Queer Satanic hopes to convince people it was.
Queer Satanic ignores 10 years of commentary by Lucien Greaves where he has published op eds opposing white supremacy, and describes Nazism as “opposed to our core principles of pluralism, equality, reason, and compassion,” going on to explain, “There is simply no way to reconcile being a Nazi and a Satanist simultaneously, from The Satanic Temple’s understanding of Satanism. Our central mythology — that of the Miltonian Satan rejecting tyrannical homogeneity and forfeiting Heaven in favor of individual liberty — leaves no room for a Nazi-sympathetic interpretation.”
Greaves has sometimes posted death threats that he has received from White Nationalists, whom he has openly mocked when they have come to protest him (see his opening remarks at this rally: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjDznY-fW5c&t=56s ). None of this does anything, according to Queer Satanic, to absolve him of the statements he made 20 years ago, which they insist must be the true reflection of who he is forever, regardless of anything he may do afterward. And the only valid interpretation of Greaves’s 20-year old words, Queer Satanic is certain, is an interpretation that paints him as always and forever a supporter of everything that he has inexplicably fought against since.
Queer Satanic are particularly angered by people in TST who disregard their obsession with the old audio clip, who they accuse of turning a blind eye toward antisemitism and White Nationalism. To them, there simply is no other way to interpret Greaves’s past, and to even try is to allow oneself to be absorbed into fascism.
By these standards, Queer Satanic themselves are undeniably antisemitic fascists. Speaking to a right-wing Christian “journalist” for Newsweek magazine, where Queer Satanic made a series of claims that have been proven to be complete lies (such as the claim that a lawsuit with TST brought one of them to bankruptcy), Queer Satanic admitted that Greaves’s comments, so offensive to them now, were not at all unknown to them when they decided they wanted to be members of TST in the first place. According to Newsweek, ““When we started, there weren’t any red flags,” said [David Alan] Johnson [of Queer Satanic]. All four [members of Queer Satanic] were aware that Greaves had some major baggage in his past; specifically an embarrassing podcast in 2002 where he made anti-Semitic remarks.” This is also the same Newsweek article about Queer Satanic that spoke to “Salome Demeur,” sometimes known as “Salami,” who the Satanic Herald revealed to be in a relationship with an actual Nazi.
If we are to take Queer Satanic’s own claims seriously, we can only conclude that their participation in TST, which they joined despite admitting that they do not identify as Satanists and never have, could have only been the result of them not caring about the antisemitism and White Nationalism that they felt certain were a part of the organization.
They were willing to accept both antisemitism and White Nationalism up till the point that TST would not allow the members of Queer Satanic to hijack TST’s social media pages for their own usage (which is what TST is suing Queer Satanic for now, despite Queer Satanic’s constant lies claiming that they are being sued in an effort to silence their criticisms).
If Queer Satanic are correct, and there is no way to interpret Greaves’s 20-year old comments as anything other than sympathetic to fascism, and if there is no redemption for him since then, then they have admitted that they were willing to overlook fascist sympathies at a time in which they joined TST because “they were doing things and I wanted to do things,” as David Alan Johnson explained to Newsweek. But perhaps none of this should be a surprise given Queer Satanic’s history of engaging with the far-right when they think it might benefit them.
Queer Satanic already has a full history of coopting identities from marginalized groups that they don’t belong to, so we can’t be certain to what degree Queer Satanic’s Leah Fishbaugh takes her proclaimed Jewish identity seriously, but if Malcolm Jarry’s Jewish credentials don’t free him from suspicion of antisemitism, it certainly can’t protect somebody who once pretended to be a Satanist so as to join an organization that she herself now admits she believed to be antisemitic.
Queer Satanic directed a lot of outrage against blogger and TST minister Stephen Bradford Long who wrote an essay confronting Greaves’s now-ancient comments, because Long dared to draw the conclusion that Greaves was expressing “poorly articulated anti-theism” rather than antisemitism.
But if it is truly impossible to understand what Greaves had said as something other than antisemitism, then what is Queer Satanic’s excuse for joining with TST even when they knew about this?
It is one thing to disregard the commentary because you do not believe that it was truly expressing something reprehensible, but it is another thing to insist that the commentary is an explicit endorsement of Nazism, and to accept it anyways.
Either Queer Satanic knows that there are other valid ways to interpret Greaves’s 20-year old words that do not express a sympathy toward fascism (and that he could have even changed his opinion on some things in 2 decades), in which case they are lying now, or Queer Satanic are telling the truth, and they don’t feel that the old commentary can be interpreted as anything other than a declaration of fascism, and they simply did not care about that until they were told to give back social media pages they had stolen from TST.