(Director Penny) Lane focuses on members of The Satanic Temple, which was founded in 2013 and bears no relationship to Anton LaVey’s 1960s-founded Church of Satan, except for the worshiping Satan part. Ostensibly this is an organized group of Satan worshipers, the kind that made parents throw out their kids’ Dungeons & Dragons games and play records backwards in the 1980s to expose hidden messages.
But we quickly see that any religious component of their existence is outweighed by an ideological mission. They’re mainly about keeping church and state separate. That’s not easy in a country where the boundaries have been porous for centuries, and where the Evangelical right wing, which rose up in the 1950s in response to the Cold War specter of Communism, has managed to insert religion into public life to an extent that the Founding Fathers could never have imagined. (Among the many didja-know facts that Lane includes here: “In God We Trust” didn’t appear on any US currency besides the two-cent piece until 1957, when Congress added it to all paper currency. And those identical Ten Commandments statues that dot public buildings around the U.S. were giveaways from Paramount Pictures, promoting Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 film.)
Unlike Anton LeVey’s Church of Satan, which seems to have consisted of serious Satan worshippers, The Satanic Temple organization seems to have consisted largely of people wanting to get religion out of our governmental life and they used the red herring of satanism as their tool for getting their foot and ideas in the door.
This is not a great movie by any measure yet it keeps your interest going most of the time and one of the best aspects of the movie is the production of the famed Baphomet statue and their tongue-in-cheek attempts to get it installed wherever religious politicians tried to get 10 Commandments plaques put up.
If you have an hour and a half, I’d say watching this movie is a worthwhile entertainment.