MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A famous internet meme tells people to come to the Dark Side because there are cookies. The Satanic Temple of Minneapolis (TST) turned that statement into reality when it hosted its 2nd Annual Bake Sale last Saturday. The bake sale is a fundraiser for the temple, and all money raised went to “combat fundamentalist legislation by supporting reproductive rights campaigns and [its] LGBT friends and family in [the] battle for separation of church and state.”
The event was held at Magus Books & Herbs, a metaphysical shop popular with local Pagans.Within 30 minutes of the start of the bake sale the line for vagina cupcakes and biracial brownies was all the way through the store. TST also offered cookies with gluten-free and vegan options. Two hours later they were completely sold out of everything.
Nikki Wakal, a Pagan living in the Minneapolis area reached the bake sale shortly before they sold out of everything. Wakal said that she wanted to support the local Pagan community. “I went for two reasons, to support Magus Books, which does a lot for the Pagan community, and second to support another Pagan organization.”
Ms. Wakal includes Satanists, as well as some other religions not part of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, as being under the wider Pagan umbrella.
She said that when she was there at 11:30 there was approximately 30 people still in line. The brownies and cupcakes were sold out, but she was able to get a cookie.Although TST members do not worship the devil, they do claim status as a religious group and have a defined mission. As noted on its site, “The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice.”
The Satanic Temple is often at the forefront of First Amendment, civil rights, and anti-child abuse issues, using a combination of savvy public relations, humor,.and lawsuits.
In January 2016, TST asked to give the invocation before the start of the Phoenix City Council meeting. The group noticed that the council appeared to prefer only allowing Christian clergy to perform the invocation, which they stated was discriminatory under the US Constitution. After some back and forth, the city council decided to forgo prayers prior to meetings and have a moment of silence instead. TST is currently pursuing the same or similar actions in other cities in Arizona.
Back in 2015, TST made international headlines when they created a large statue of Baphomet specifically to sit alongside the large Ten Commandments sculpture at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Spokesperson Lucien Greaves said, “The entire point of our effort was to offer a monument that would complement and contrast the 10 Commandments, reaffirming that we live in a nation that respects plurality, a nation that refuses to allow a single viewpoint to co-opt the power and authority of government institutions. This is the very essence of our explicitly secular Constitution. Any one religious monument on public grounds is intolerable. However, once one is allowed, it is orders of magnitude better that many should be represented, rather than a single voice claim unique privilege.”
Once the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ordered the 10 Commandments removed, The Satanic Temple felt the matter of religious discrimination was resolved and sought a new place for their statue of Baphomet.The Minneapolis Chapter of The Satanic Temple has, in recent years, focused more on LGBT issues. They are using a portion of the funds raised from its bake sale to support Minneapolis PRIDE activities. Similar to the national TST based in New York, the local chapter uses an irreverent sense of humor to get their message of benevolence and empathy across to all people.
In their invitation to the bake sale they noted, “You don’t have to sell your soul, just buy our cookies.”