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Hail Satan?

This often hilarious and surprisingly insightful documentary looks at the Satanic Temple, an activist group led by Lucien Greaves that is really not at all about the devil but about activism and the strong belief in the separation of church and state. The director combines several elements to make the documentary work as well as it does. The interviews are fascinating, and she assembles a group of adherents of different colors, ages, and sexual orientations who are united in their belief in valuing all religious viewpoints. She gives us a history lesson, bringing in footage from earlier eras of the “moral panic” and the “satanic panic” (many of us remember how heavy metal was linked to satanism). There are clips of local and national (Fox News) interviews that highlight a problem that is rampant today – everyone seems to have an opinion on things they either know nothing about or don’t care to investigate more deeply. More importantly, her work helps illuminate a problem that many can rally around: the intrusion of Christianity into state and national policy. My hat is off to the Satanic Temple for their clever approach to activism and social marketing. I did not know about the seven tenets beforehand (https://thesatanictemple.com/pages/tenets), but I will take those over the ten commandments any day. This film gets a thumbs up from me. This is a great example of a film made in a light and highly entertaining style where people will look at the title and say, “I would never see a film like that” but, if they did, would find a lot of value contained within it. That is the sign of a really good documentary. (2019; 4 Stars).

About Gary Burkholder

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