1918

Evangelist J. Gordon “Black Billy Sunday” McPherson had acquired local celebrity status for his East Austin revivals. In one sermon, he condemned “… his Satanic majesty, ‘Kaiser Bill’ and the grog shops that are damning our boys and ruining the fair and beautiful girls of many homes.”

1939

General Sam Houston and Williamson County namesake R.M. Williamson viewed the sprawling Hill Country from Mount Bonnell. The alluring landscape led Houston to say “Upon my soul, Williamson, this must be the very spot where Satan took our Savior to show and tempt Him with the riches and beauties of the world!”

Williamson retorted, “Yes, general, and if Jesus Christ had been fallible, he would have accepted his Satanic majesty’s proposition.”

1974

Anton LaVey’s daughter, Karla LaVey, spoke to a crowd at St. Edward’s University about the Church of Satan, which she called a “law and order institution”.

She said that her father, a former police photographer and now an honorary police inspector in San Francisco, founded the religion after witnessing repeated tragedy and questioning “God’s ability to care for man.”

During her speech, she also admitted that “liberal trends in sexuality and religious practices have made the Church of Satan’s views similar to the ‘do what you want’ philosophy of today.”

Note: the Church of Satan should not be confused with The Satanic Temple.

1989

The Austin American Statesman reported that a woman told Austin police she was blindfolded and kidnapped by a man and woman who took her to Austin. For nearly three months, she said she was imprisoned in a windowless room while the couple read her materials related to Satanism.

But a week later police found out the woman had made up the entire story:

“Instead, (the woman) lived in a downtown Austin home for nearly three months and gave birth to a child at Seton Medical Center, said Sgt. Gary Richards, of the Austin Police Department assault unit.”

1992 – 2013

In what is now known as the Oak Hill Satanic Ritual Abuse Trial, the operators of a child daycare center in Oak Hill (Dan and Fran Keller) were accused of child abuse by the parents of a four year old girl receiving therapy for behavioral problems because of her parent’s bitter divorce, in which the mother had accused the father in court of physically and emotionally abusing their child.

The girl’s therapist was also the therapist for another child who made allegations against the Kellers.

​Being in the throes of the Satanic Panic that was sweeping the nation at the time, what started out as allegations only of child abuse quickly turned into a Salem-style witchhunt that implicated many other people (including two sheriffs and a district attorney) in a vast satanic ritual abuse (SRA) conspiracy.

The Kellers maintained their innocence, of both the child abuse allegations and SRA allegations, throughout the trial and their ensuing 20 years in prison.

In 2013, the Kellers were released on the basis of: no physical evidence of abuse, a retracted confession that the investigating officer did not believe, flawed medical exams of the children, testimony by a dubious “expert” on satanic ritual abuse, and the prosecution withholding information from the defense.

Click here for a fascinating 1994 article in the Texas Monthly about this case (with later updates made in 2009), which demonstrates a textbook example of Satanic Panic and how it gravely harmed innocent people.

​Unfortunately, while the Satanic Panic faded in popular memory after the notion of satanic ritual abuse was widely discredited by government and media as having zero basis in fact, a subset of the psychological community still believes in the notion and there are still licensed therapists who operate under the belief that SRA is a real thing. The Grey Faction of The Satanic Temple is devoted to exposing this therapeutic pseudoscience and bringing an end to its practice.

2016

February

The Satanic Temple performs a ritual at The Sidewinder in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo by Jack Plunkett)

TST Detroit chapter director Jex Blackmore visits Austin for stage three of a 4-part Sabbat Cycle tour. Film distributor A24 partnered with The Satanic Temple and Blackmore for a four-city tour—Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York—in which screenings of The Witch were followed by a satanic ritual.

In an interview with Co.Create after the ritual, Blackmore said: “It’s a very timely film in that we have a cultural dialogue going on regarding religious liberty. It’s about the foundation of America, and we have a lot of politicians who are making decisions for people like me, and are calling for a return to this kind of fetishized period of American history, which is actually quite destructive in many ways. So we thought that it would be a great catalyst for us to go around the country to mobilize people.”

During the Austin ritual, Blackmore warned that Christian theocrats were taking over America and that those present at the ritual were allowing it to happen: “There’s too much apathy and not enough resistance!” She culminated the ritual with a reference to the mission of The Satanic Temple: “We do not seek followers, we are seeking collaborators—individuals for a satanic alliance!”

April

Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen offered up a resolution to declare Austin a “compassionate community”, signaling the council’s support for the Charter for Compassion, a 2009 document crafted by religious leaders worldwide that calls for compassion to be a “clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.”

Council Member Don Zimmerman, a fiscally and socially conservative Republican (and practicing Christian) objected to what he saw as religious language in the charter, opining that the charter used language that urged “idolatry” of Earth rather than of its creator.

Not finding much support for his viewpoint, when the resolution was reviewed again several days later, Zimmerman proposed to add two paragraphs to the resolution:

“WHEREAS, Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect”

“WHEREAS, One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason; One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone; the spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word”

After Ann Kitchen accepted both of these proposed chapters, Zimmerman revealed the second paragraph came from The Satanic Temple website, saying: “The three sentences that came from a religious, Satanist website were included without objection because they’re so very nearly the same as what the Charter for Compassion already has. So those are accepted under the excuse that they’re not religious, but they are religious. I think you would insult my Satanist constituents. They say their religion is a religion.”

The council ultimately voted unanimously to strike The Satanic Temple language, with Zimmerman saying that even though there are sure to be a handful of Satanists in his Northwest Austin District 6, he “just can’t represent everybody.” On its final vote, the council approved the resolution 9-1, with Zimmerman voting no and Council Member Ellen Troxclair temporarily absent from the meeting.

July

The Satanic Temple establishes an official chapter in Austin.

A fitting time, considering that Austin is typically hot as Hell in July.

What precipitated this historic event? Was it Council Member Zimmerman’s recent, simple acknowledgment of his Satanic constituents and their religious protections under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment? Was it Jex Blackmore’s powerful ritual and call to arms in Februrary? Was it the Republican Party’s official GOP platform adopted in July, which features an insane amount of majority regressive theocratic talking points? Has the voice of reason and the spirit of rebellion against tyrannical authority, first exemplified by Satan, finally stirred the rational, progressive populace of Austin from its complacent slumber?

Perhaps it was all of the above.

​We begin with a simple invocation:

​Hail Satan!
Hail Austin!
Hail Don Zimmerman!
We are here at last to bring much-needed Satanic insight to our beloved city!