President Donald Trump is only a year and a half into his presidency and he remains one of the most controversial political figures of the day. Despite this, evangelical Christians have expressed their faithful support for him and his conservative policies.
But on the other side, The Satanic Temple (TST) has been very public about its efforts to challenge evangelicals and their positive relationship with the administration.
Founded in 2012, The Satanic Temple (not to be confused with the Church of Satan) is a non-theistic organization that has gained prominence since President Trump's election. The group reported it gained "thousands of new members" after Trump won the presidential race.
"The Satanic Temple attracted 'thousands' of new members in just the first 36 hours after the election of Donald Trump," the group reported. "The 4-year-old temple, which had a pre-Trump membership of around 50,000, has never before seen a spike in registration nearly this big."
"We're definitely a resistance movement," spokesperson and co-founder Lucien Greaves said after a speech outside the University of Colorado Boulder. "We stand in stark opposition to this idea that we must unify under a single religious banner."
"We're on the front lines of some of these battles against theocratic encroachment, especially with characters like Mike Pence holding such a high office," he added.
Since the election, The Satanic Temple has launched multiple campaigns aimed at challenging Christian influence in the political sphere. One example is their After School Satan Clubs.
"The very reason we started the After School Satan Clubs was to offer an alternative to coercive religious proselytizing inflicted on children through evangelical after-school clubs, and we only offer our club in schools where the evangelical presence already exists," Greaves said in an interview. "The schools have to understand, if they allow evangelical clubs, they can't turn away the Satanists."
Other efforts include advocating for abortion rights and the erection of Satanic monuments.
Last month, The Satanic Temple, protested Arkansas' approval of a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds. The group said the Christian statute was a violation of the "First Amendment and religious plurality."
They filed a lawsuit and erected their own 8-foot statue of the occult deity Baphomet on the same grounds.
It is all in an effort to rally against "Evangelical Nationalism" and the "Theocratic Right," Greaves says. "They are taking over the public offices and overturning Liberal Democracy," he said in an interview.
Ultimately, the group is about glorifying rebellion. They claim they don't even worship Satan or believe he is a personal being. Instead, they focus on rebelling against "tyrannical" authority, secularism, and theism.
"We do not promote a belief in a personal Satan," TST says on its website. "Satan is symbolic of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds. Satan is an icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer… the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions."
He says that some hardcore Satanists try to infiltrate churches and other Christian organizations to sabotage them.
Whether they are a political group or not, former Satanist John Ramirez told CBN News that Satanic power is very real, and Christians should not underestimate the power of prayer to fight against dark spiritual forces.
"It is those believers, it's that group of people, those intercessors that gave me such a beatdown in the spiritual," he said.
In his book, Armed and Dangerous: The Ultimate Battle Plan for Targeting and Defeating the Enemy, Ramirez details why Christians need to pray more effectively.
"I wrote this book because I wanted Christians to know that it's not only a defense spiritual warfare, but there's an offense spiritual warfare," he said. "We need to keep the devil, the devil in his place."