Washington state’s foremost domestic terrorist Matt Shea showed up to protest Satan on Friday. I haven’t spoken with Satan about it, but I assume he’s happy to have Shea’s flagrant disassociation. I certainly would be.

Yes, on Friday, the Satanic Temple’s Washington State Chapter–formerly the Seattle Chapter, now expanded to better broker evergreen heresy everywhere–conducted a ritual on the steps of the state capitol in Olympia.

Ritual leader Angel (good name) delivered an invocation that seemed to be a free adaptation of Anatole France’s The Revolt Of the Angels–this bit right here:

“He was the most beautiful of all the Seraphim. He shone with intelligence and daring. His great heart was big with all the virtues born of pride: frankness, courage, constancy in trial, and indomitable hope.

“Yaweh showed himself to be opposed to all that I found desirable and good: liberty, curiosity, doubt. These feelings drew me towards the Seraph. I admired him, I loved him. I ranged myself on the side of Lucifer, and knew no other aim than to share his lot.”


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Hang on, I’ve got something in my eye. Also I’m tearing up because of my emotional response to the words. They’re both happening at the same time, it’s very inconvenient.

Speaking to WNPA News Service’s Cameron Sheppard, Satanist Justin Harvey-John Ashby qualified the chapter’s “primary values” as “empathy, reason, bodily autonomy, and justice,” which incidentally are the last four spaces on my Beelzebingo card.

Sheppard also noted the presence of some cultish counterprotestors (the second biggest source of blowhard-related audio interferencel, after the Pacific wind itself), including “some younger Christians [holding] a sign that read ‘Satan has no rights.’”

That statement is demonstrably untrue, particularly if we cleave to the idea of Satan as a title rather than a specific character and thus that anybody can be/is Satan.

That seems a little nuanced for this crowd, but then they don’t really understand a lot of basic and un-nuanced ideas about religious freedom either, so why not fail big?

To be frank, the news service really buried the lede by relegating this additional detail to only a photo caption in the story: “Rep. Matt Shea prays with members of a motorcycle ministry as Satanists conduct their ritual.”

Referring to him as “Rep. Matt Shea” strikes me as downright diplomatic, considering that “alleged terrorist Matt Shea” would be just as accurate.

Shea, an interminable six-termer who looks exactly like if Marvel aimed their magic de-aging software at Mike Pence and almost completely fucked it up, probably shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the ritual site, given his documented history of promoting violence against religious minorities.

As NPR’s Vanessa Romo reported in December, “independent investigators commissioned by the State House of Representatives found that Shea planned, engaged in, and promoted three armed conflicts of political violence against the US government.”

Three is a lot, considering that the preferred number is–and I had to look this up just be sure–zero.

Suspicion of just one act of armed political violence is enough to get you jailed or bombed if you’re, say, poor or black or Muslim or a Communist. No matter how permissive we’re feeling, Shea is way over the limit–selfishly fucking up the curve for everyone else, truth be known.


matt shea terrorist satanists

It’s called restraint, Matt.


Per Romo, Shea’s turn-ons include “militias, weapons, stockpiling ammunition, the Bundy Ranch, special forces, and snipers,” which is a pretty sound illustration of why Rodgers & Hammerstein set the lyrics of My Favorite Things in stone 60 years ago and never invited further collaboration.

Matt Shea still has a job, because Washington Republicans evidently feel that letting a terrorist create–let me see, what does a legislature make again? Oh right: laws–poses no conflict of interests. But they force the Satanists to do their business outside.

Just so we’re clear, TST Wash showed up on Friday to promote “frankness, courage, constancy in trial, indomitable hope.” Whereas Matt Shea’s agenda is killing non-Christians who refuse to accept a theocratic government.

I’m not being hyperbolic, he actually said that–in a manifesto that he for some reason felt like it was a good idea to share with anyone ever. We wouldst not like the taste of Shea butter.

The unfortunate fact is, what either of these parties actually say or believe doesn’t make a difference to a lot of observers. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” and all that, (I forget who said that. Eh, it’s probably not important…), but many folks are just judging the fruit by its peel.

That’s frustrating. Also irresponsible. And grossly ignorant, provoking, gratuitously dishonest, and potentially damaging to the very foundations of our society. I may have forgotten where I’m going with this.

For all that, these distinctions still matter. For one thing, as we’ve argued before, when the status quo is already this bad, moving the needle even the tiniest bit in a better direction is, in a way, changing the world.

More importantly, in my opinion it’s important for Satanists to interrogate our own beliefs, assumptions, practices, and prejudices at least as hard as we do anyone else’s. To be a revolutionary, a prosecutor, or an adversary is at least as much a question of confronting ourselves as the world.

And when we do find the courage for those personal confrontations, where can we look for an empirical example that will hopefully distinguish and acquit our own most important values?

In this case, at the space between the Satanists of Washington and the Matt Sheas of the world. Space in which we will find our resolve, in the face of both our own doubts–and Matt Shea’s certainties.

In other words, while it sounds shallow to say something like, “If Matt Shea is against us then we must be doing it right”–fact is, sometimes you catch big fish in the shallow end.


matt shea terrorism satanists

Not a hundred percent sure our license covers this though.