I’m a member of The Satanic Temple and got outed at work

A reader writes:

I’m a member of The Satanic Temple. That information got out at work and now things are unpleasant and awkward.

I became a passionate patients’ rights advocate when a family member almost died after they were denied emergency medical treatment on religious grounds. The unexpected delay in care almost cost my family member their life and it was a frightening time for our family. I found The Satanic Temple (TST) through my patient advocacy. TST supports access to scientifically factual medical care as well as encourages empathy, kindness, and charity work. Even though my local chapter is very much not bats and snakes and sleeping in grave dirt, I don’t discuss my membership at work because I know it could make others uncomfortable despite the fact that my company is actually very progressive.

I was working the TST booth in during a weekend charity drive/festival event one town over when a few coworkers were there with friends and family saw me. I didn’t think it would be a problem since they stopped and chatted and even made a donation. I think they were surprised because I’m a very vanilla person, but their donation was very kind.

My boss pulled me into a private meeting that Monday. To my knowledge, she was not at the fundraiser so I think it was brought to her attention. She was snappy and exasperated, rolling her eyes as she asked me if I needed any kind of religious accommodations. I clarified that I didn’t and it was never my intention for this part of my personal life to be common knowledge and I’d be happy if everyone just dropped it. She rolled her eyes again and said, “Whatever, just don’t let this become a problem.” The temperature in the office got weirder fast.

Later that week, a coworker told the new intern, “Be careful of LW, she worships Satan. She’ll curse you haha.” I’ve been called “Sabrina” and asked horrible questions about my personal life (like did your pet really die or were they a sacrifice kind of terrible questions). My office mate, who I always thought of as a good friend, made a big show of putting religious paraphernalia around our office, most of which are related to protection from evil. It makes me sad she feels unsafe around me. If she had put them up without knowing about TST, I wouldn’t be bothered at all. My boss, who I used to have a great professional relationship with, is still acting like she’s annoyed with me and is very short when we need to interact. I asked her if there was a problem and she responded “I don’t know, is there?” I don’t know if this is how my manager reacts to religion in general or just things that make her uncomfortable.

Do I address this with HR or do I ignore it and wait for something else interesting to take the office gossip spot? My beliefs encourage me to meet everyone with empathy, and kindness, and to seek out a fair resolution to all personal conflicts. This is exactly why I didn’t want to bring it up at work.

Talk to HR. This is no different than if you started being harassed at work and frozen out by your boss after people found out you were any other religion.

If your boss weren’t involved, you could possibly start with her and see if she were able to deal with it on her own (by making clear to team members that comments about your religion were unacceptable) but since she’s part of the problem, HR is the right next step.

In fact, I’m more concerned about your boss than I am about your coworkers. Your coworkers’ reactions have been intrusive and obnoxious, but it’s possible that the “she’ll curse you, haha” comments could die out pretty fast once they get bored. Your boss, on the other hand, seems to have changed her entire relationship with you in a way that will make it impossible for her to manage you effectively. And her “I don’t know, is there?” response when you asked if there was a problem is outright hostile and says you’re not going to be able to solve this on your own.

So … HR, and use the words “religious discrimination.”

(Because I expect it to come up as readers contemplate this letter: As I was answering this letter, I found myself wondering why the Satanic Temple has kept a name that results in its members being harassed and misunderstood solely on the basis of the name, when in fact they don’t believe in Satan and advocate doing good, not evil. From what I’ve been reading, the name is a device that allows the group to make a political and social point — for example, demanding the same privileges for Satanists that many Christians take for granted, like erecting religious monuments on government property or organizing a prayer in government meetings.)

{ 822 comments… read them below }

  1. Glomarization, Esq.*

    The LW might also call their local ACLU affiliate and/or TST themselves for information and assistance.

    1. Bilateralrope*

      Agreed. I doubt what the letter writer is experiencing is new to TST. So they sound like the best people to go to first.

      1. Wintermute*

        To be honest, as a proud card-carrying member of a related organization this is EXACTLY what the TST is all about in many ways, they are very experienced in fighting against discrimination.

        In many ways that’s one of their purposes, daring the government and other actors to discriminate and then coming down like the wrath of the cultural concept of the Promethean Adversary figure on them

        1. Sharikacat*

          I wouldn’t say that they “dare” the government to discriminate against them but rather that they hold up a mirror for what “religious freedom” looks like when it’s applied evenly. They understand that those who raise the biggest tantrums over religious freedom only want Christian religious freedom, and those pushing for Christian supremacy know that they can’t singularly codify that in the laws they’re pushing, lest they be immediately struck down as unconstitutional, even by sympathetic judges.

          This means that the Christian zealots needs to write their religious freedom language broadly, and the TST shows them the unintended consequences of their actions by using the name Satan and image of Baphomet to troll the Christians. Is a Christian prayer allowed to start a school board meeting? Okay, then next time, you need to do a TST prayer. Privately paid for religious monument allowed on government grounds? Send in the statue of Baphomet!

          Beyond that, TST beliefs are very pro-science, and they consider abortion a religious rite in an attempt to keep abortion access safe under the same rules others would use to stifle it.

    2. Recovering journalist*

      If LW doesn’t work for a governmental agency, they shouldn’t contact the ACLU. The EEOC is a better match for things like this.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        As a former volunteer lawyer and office staffer for an ACLU affiliate, I can confirm that ACLU — at least, in my experience at a large affiliate — has an intake and screening capacity that can likely help direct the LW to the appropriate resources. Of all the calls and e-mail contacts that ACLU gets, they turn only a tiny fraction of them into lawsuits. The rest of the time, they give the callers information and tell them which government agencies or other legal organizations can help (or that the caller has no case).

      2. Observer*

        It depends on the specifics. The ACLU has definitely taken on religious discrimination cases.

        1. Clisby*

          But they’re generally coming at it from a First Amendment perspective, which applies to government but not to private employers. (That’s not to say they could have some good advice.)

          1. Observer*

            No, I was talking about private sector discrimination. Like one case where Sears refused to hire and Orthodox Jewish washing machine repair guy because he needed to take off on Saturday. They also file FOC briefs on occasion, like the time Abercrombie and Fitch refused to hire a young woman because she wore Hijab, which violates their “look policy”.

            PS Sears lost because it was proven that they were lying when they claimed business necessity. In fact Saturday was not the day with the highest repair calls and visits. Tuesday was. Abercrombie lost because their excuse was that since she did not specifically ask for a religious accommodation, they could pretend that they didn’t realize that this was a religious issue.

            1. Emma*

              “Oh yeah, we just assumed she was wearing hijab because it’s the latest tiktok trend” *facepalm*

    3. Texas Teacher*

      Freedom from Religion Foundation will back Satanic Temple members in situations like this.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        This. FFRF is pretty good about handling non-Christian religions when they get harassed.

    4. Polly Hedron*

      All of the above. I can personally vouch that ACLU is great with cases like this. FFRF and TST sound great too.

    5. Pollyanna*

      First I want to point out our Satanism comes from Romantic literature. Satan is seen as a fighter against tyranny, a fighter for equal rights, and a figure who brings knowledge into the world. Thanks to mass media people have misunderstood Satanism. I’d encourage you to look up Satan in a historical lense, starting with what a Satan is really.

  2. MI Dawn*

    Ugh. That’s horrible, OP. Please follow Alison’s advice and talk to your HR team about being discriminated against because of your religion. I would be livid if anyone did this to me over my (lack of) religion. But I work for a great company who tries to respect all religions and has really expanded their DEI efforts over the years I’ve been there.

    1. Drago Cucina*

      Yes, please OP, report this. I say this as a practicing Catholic. We really do all need to act when this happens. I’m still kicking myself over the time a former director refused to interview someone because she said she didn’t want another Catholic on the staff. When I looked at her with raised eyebrows she tried to joke it away. It’s on me that I didn’t report it.

      This only stops if we say it’s not acceptable.

      1. Rosalind Franklin*

        Sidenote: I will be forever fascinated by discrimination of subgroups that are impossible to tell apart from outside the group. Like, how do you even tell a Catholic from one of the other 45,000 denominations of Christianity (real number) if you’re not a Christian yourself or otherwise invested in the dogma?

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          I’m not sure you do. I have a friend who was raised not-very-observant Hindu by parents born in India, and she blithely states that she has no clue how to tell Catholic from Episcopalian from Lutheran from Baptist from whatever else.

          Note, I was raised not-very-observant Protestant in the US, and I couldn’t drill too far down into the details, either.

          1. Mannequin*

            I was raised in a non religious, non churchgoing US family, and I can barely tell the difference between branches of Christianity either.

            1. whingedrinking*

              [insert the Emo Phillips joke that starts with “Don’t jump off that bridge! God loves you! Do you believe in God?” and ends with the punchline “Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” and pushed him off.]

              1. Zudz*

                Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”
                He said, “Nobody loves me.”
                I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
                He said, “Yes.”
                I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
                He said, “A Christian.”
                I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
                He said, “Protestant.”
                I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
                He said, “Baptist.”
                I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
                He said, “Northern Baptist.”
                I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
                He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
                I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”
                He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
                I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
                He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

                I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

                1. No Longer Looking*

                  That’s Northern Conservative FUNDAMENTALIST Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879! …and it scares me a bit that I caught the oversight. I may have listened to a bit too much Emo when younger…

            2. Minimal Pear*

              Raised as an atheist by atheist parents and I only found out what Protestants are last year. And I only knew about Catholics because I had a truly horrible housemate in college who was one.

              1. whingedrinking*

                I was once tutoring a ten-year-old girl who’d immigrated from China, and at one point she asked me, basically, “What’s the deal with Christmas?” (Note: I am an atheist but grew up in a liberal Christian family.)
                Me: “Um. Okay. You know Jesus?”
                Her: “No.”
                Me: “Um. Okay. You know God?”
                Her: “Yeah.”
                Me: “Okay, we’ll start with that.”

                In fairness, I also once had to explain to a pompous man in a bookstore spouting off about how “Islam never had a reformation” that no, a religion does not last nearly fifteen hundred years and have a billion adherents without there being *some* splits among its members. I’m by no means an expert but I do at least know the words Shi’a and Sunni.

                1. Elusis*

                  I mean, you could have started with “so, when it’s cold and dark for a long time where you live, it’s nice to have a festival of lights and food at some point to keep people’s spirits up.”

            3. Mike*

              Non-religious background here, but I studied medieval history in college and lots of history of Christianity, especially of the Reformation…and you know what? I can’t really tell either, outside the major divisions of Protestantism (on the level of Baptist vs. Lutheran vs. Episcopalian).

        2. OhNo*

          Some folks will equate particular symbols with specific subgroups. One example I can think of is that a cross might be associated with any flavor of Christianity, but I’ve met folks who assume crucifix (which is specifically a cross with Jesus on it) = Catholic.

          1. Stevie*

            Yes, that’s exactly what I was taught as a kid in Sunday School. Protestant is empty cross, while Catholic is crucifix.

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            Fun historical tidbit: Protestant churches in the 19th century often avoided even plain crosses as too Catholic.

        3. Lab Boss*

          Assuming that you pick up the person making casual references to religious things you’d have a few clues: non-Catholic Christians are more likely to go to church services on Wednesdays as well as Sundays, refer to it as “worship” or “services,” and are led by a “pastor” or “minister” while a Catholic only has Sunday as a standard weekly church day, will refer to “Mass,” and services are led by a “priest.” Catholics are also way more likely to have Saint-based religious iconography sitting around, and anyone with a black cross on their forehead about 6 weeks before Easter is a dead giveaway as a Catholic.

          I mean those aren’t the most important distinctions between the groups but assuming you’re not Christian I doubt you’ve got too much concern as to whether communion bread is symbolic, consubstantiated, or transubstantiated :D

          1. Anonymath*

            Episcopalians also generally celebrate Ash Wednesday, so the presence of a black cross on the forehead then does necessarily indicate Catholic only.

            1. laowai_gaijin*

              Presbyterian as well. First time I got ashes on my forehead was at a Presbyterian church. I thought they looked pretty metal, honestly.

            2. Ex-Teacher*

              As an Episcopalian, I’ve kind of pinned this set of misconceptions down to the fact that while Episcopalians are protestants (in the sense that we are separated from the RCC), the Episcopal Church/Church of England wasn’t exactly part of the Reformation as led by Luther. Lots of Episcopal Practices come out of RCC practices, and if you didn’t know what to look for you could easily mistake an Episcopal church for a Catholic one.

                1. Your friendly neighborhood Zen Buddhist*

                  As someone who was raised Lutheran, I always found it funny how close we were to Catholic while also making a big deal about being REALLY NOT CATHOLIC.

                2. Emily*

                  Lutheran here. I can confirm that the imposition of ashes is not solely a Catholic thing. This is to say, I don’t think we can make assumptions about what other people’s religions or lack of religion may be. The behavior by OP’s co-workers, and especially the boss, is gross, and if HR doesn’t do the right thing and tell co-workers and the boss to cut it out, maybe an attorney could. I like the suggestion of contacting the EEOC and/or the ACLU to see if they can provide resources that could be helpful.

                3. Richard Hershberger*

                  NOT REALLY CATHOLIC: Back during the Reformation, the reformers originally thought that once they agreed on Sola Scriptura, cutting out Sacred Tradition, it would all come together in one big happy Protestant family. This turned out not to be the case. Protestants divided into three broad camps: Lutheran (also called “Evangelical,” which confusing is not at all how the word is used today), Reformed (often later, not entirely accurately, called “Calvinist”) and Anabaptist (something of a grab bag ‘everyone else’ category). Most American Protestant churches derive, directly or indirectly, from the Reformed side, so much of what we tend to think of as Protestant is really Reformed. One of the differences between the Lutheran and the Reformed camps is that the Lutherans generally rejected only those traditional Catholic practices they held contrary to Scripture, while the Reformed generally rejected all traditional Catholic practices except those they held mandated by Scripture. This is why Lutheran worship looks, from the American perspective, very Catholic. (Just to confuse the issue, the Church of England is a weird hybrid, retaining many Catholic forms and structures uncomfortably beside a lot of Reformed stuff.)

              1. Drago Cucina*

                Yep, my local Episcopal church would be almost impossible to distinguish. Right down to the tabernacle in the altar area. It’s a lovely place. I used to walk to during lunch at my old job for quiet meditation.

                1. JP*

                  On this note, the Church of England is split into the high church (VERY CATHOLIC!) and the low church (VERY NOT CATHOLIC!). You can basically believe what you want in the Church of England — and I really say that with love!

                2. Media Monkey*

                  And to Roman Catholics (as i was brought up) wouldn’t consider the Church of England/ Anglicans to be catholics.

              2. Gyrane*

                Correct, the Church of England/Episcopalianism came about because an insane despot wanted a divorce.

          2. CJ*

            Lots of not quite so accurate information here. Most of it is applicable to evangelical Protestants but not main line denominations. Wednesday is not any sort of special day and it’s entirely regional whether individual churches hold any sort of service on any other day than Sunday. None of the mainline Protestant churches in my town do, as an example. Episcopalians call their pastors priests. Others might as well. And again, Ash Wednesday and Lent and observed by many main line Protestant churches.

            1. Lab Boss*

              Hm, the more you know, I guess- in my region of the US there’s barely any overlap there, even the more mainline Protestant churches very rarely have any of this in common with the Catholics.

            2. Clisby*

              That’s been my experience, too (born and raised in the US South.)

              And “Catholics are also way more likely to have Saint-based religious iconography sitting around”? Ever visited an Orthodox Christian church?

                1. Sister- er- not Michael?*

                  I did a double take because that’s often the name I comment under! I’m an Episcopal Sister (technically not a nun because I’m not cloistered but similar enough not to matter unless it matters) and my Religious name isn’t Michael but it’s very close- another masculine ordinary-Anerican-boy kind of name.
                  More germane to the letter, I once surprised the heck out of some poor kid at the youth event I was chaperoning by pointing out that, in fact, a good friend of mine is a Satanist and I’d prefer to be associated with him- kind, generous, hospitable- than with someone who claimed to he Christian and was a jerk. I hope LW’s boss sorts her crap out and that the co-workers also get over themselves!

              1. calonkat*

                My mom is definitely protestant. But she has books and statues of St Nicholas up, because “Dutch heritage”. Sometimes art is just art.

              2. HQB*

                The Orthodox churches are Catholic churches. Not Roman Catholic, but Catholic nonetheless.

          3. Selina Luna*

            The Catholics where I lived usually went to Friday evening, Saturday evening, OR Sunday morning Mass. Admittedly, each service was led in a different language (Latin on Friday, Spanish on Saturday, and English on Sunday), but this wasn’t unusual for the area.
            There are denominations of students whom I can pick out, but that’s more of a practiced “you just have to know what to look for” than anything else.

          4. Clisby*

            Uh, a black cross on your forehead on Ash Wednesday absolutely is not a dead giveaway of being Catholic.

            1. WS*

              High Anglican (like the high school I attended) is extremely close to Catholicism while absolutely denying it at every chance. I got in trouble for refusing to have an ash cross on my forehead for Ash Wednesday.

          5. Cheap Ass Rolls*

            As a Catholic, some other giveaways: wearing religious medals, certain names (some like Magdalene or Kateri are especially noticeable but even someone named Mary Katherine or Mary Patricia or Mary What-Have-You), certain insignia like Benedictine crosses or scapular. Sometimes on a resume you can tell based on schools attended or organizations someone belongs to (the Knights of Columbus, parish councils, volunteer organizations, etc.) Potentially someone could have a prayer card or a rosary on their person/in their workspace/in their car.

            You’d have to know a lot about Catholicism to pick up on those things, and although I have met some folks with weird ideas about Catholics, I don’t know that they have enough awareness of those cues to use them to “identify” a Catholic. And Catholics are not exposed to the kind of widespread discrimination that others are privy to (again, I say this as a Catholic).

            1. RetailEscapee*

              The schools may be more about family money and class than religion. I did 12 years of catholic school, I’m an atheist. So at most you can assume either my parents were Catholic, or my parents didn’t trust public education so they threw me into the least expensive private school.

              1. Cheap Ass Rolls*

                Yes agreed – I went to a Catholic university and I would say that probably 50% of the students were Catholic, and maybe 30% were actually practicing Catholics on any level. And that doesn’t mean they still practice today or identify as Catholic.

                Some schools are more intensely Catholicsm-centric than others, but one would have to intimately know those schools to be aware of that.

          6. Glen*

            In addition to the points others have made, Mass can be attended any day of the week at many Catholic Churches, not only on Sunday.

          7. Sasha*

            Wednesday is traditionally Confession Day for Catholics isn’t it? So they go to church then as well.

            (Or maybe that was just the day the priest came to my school)

          8. Princesss Sparklepony*

            I’m just going to come out and say it. Catholics have better bake sales than Presbyterians. The few times I’ve patronized a Presbyterian bake sale, it’s been unappetizing. I don’t know how you can ruin a brownie but boy can they ever!

            And Protestants have acolytes and Catholics have alter boys and girls. Both are pretty much the same thing.

            They say Episcopalians spell it gilt, while Catholics have guilt.

            I shall see myself out now….

            1. Green great dragon*

              I don’t think Bernice is recommending it. But it is a thing that can be done by people.

              Extremely hit-and-miss though. Maybe the resume mentioned volunteer/charitable work connected with the church.

              1. Drago Cucina*

                Something like this. Rather like my decade as a Catholic school librarian.

          1. EBQ*

            I’m guessing it was an obviously Irish or Italian name and assumptions were made, especially since there wasn’t even an interview.

          2. Broadway Duchess*

            Oof, don’t do this. My sibling and I are biracial with a very “ethnic” surname that generally reads Catholic. While we’re did receive all the sacraments, my sibling converted to a Protestant denomination upon marriage. People are surprised when meeting us that we were raised Catholic but assume that we have no familiarity with other Christian denominations based off the surname. It’s a pain and it makes me immediately think poorly of the people who do this.

        4. springs2*

          The school on their resume (especially high school) and especially if they were in or around Philly or Boston, could be a dead giveaway. But also, a lot of non-Catholics attend those schools too so you can’t always know.

          1. Rosemary*

            I went to a Catholic high school – I think 25% of our class was NOT in fact Catholic (myself included). The Episcopal HS in town was probably 75-80% non-Episcopalian. Even the evangelical Christian school has a fair number of non-evangelical Christian students.

            1. Clisby*

              The Catholic high school here (Charleston, SC) says its student body is 73% Catholic. They do not, by the way, require that students be Christian to attend.

          2. Sasha*

            I literally went to a convent school and I’m not Catholic (lived overseas, it was a good school).

            1. ceiswyn*

              Wasn’t in Bridge of Earn, was it?

              (Also went to a convent school. Also not a Catholic.)

        5. nonbeenary*

          In the 70s a family member of mine was asked if he “ate fish on fridays,” so to be fair sometimes it’s not so much about telling the groups apart on sight as it is literally asking “hey are you part of this group I don’t like?”

        6. Richard Hershberger*

          It is generally true that the more distant the group is from yours, the more they all look alike. How many Americans know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims, much less can tell them apart in person? The closer in you get, the more important the distinctions seem. I could go on at length about the subtle distinctions between groups of Lutherans, and what is wrong with those other ones. But I will spare you.

          1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

            “what is wrong with those other ones”
            Bwaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha yes, as someone who grew up One Flavor of Lutheran and became a clergyperson in A Different Flavor of Lutheran, this is 100% accurate. But a lot of the people I come into contact with day-to-day couldn’t tell the difference and are vaguely confused when I tell them I couldn’t be ordained in one of the Other Kinds of Lutheranism because my parts are wrong. So, you know.

            1. Miss Muffet*

              Have also spent time in both of the main “Lutherans” and am in the one that lets people with my parts (or frankly, any parts) be ordained. Digging finding a funny little subcommunity here at AAM!

        7. Caroline*

          Even for very non-religious types such as myself, Catholicism is a pretty big, specific branch of Christianity, with quite particular rules and regs. Their churches tend to look a certain way, things like Confession, mass, confirmation… no contraception, unmarried clergy… obsession with people having access to abortions.

          Seriously though, the Catholics are fairly easily identifiable specifically.

          1. Littorally*

            And yet even there you’ve commingld specifically Catholic things with things you’re just as likely to find in Evangelical Protestantism.

            1. Crooked Bird*

              Which ones though? As a sometime Evangelical Protestant, I can’t spot any. Unless you mean some clergy happen to be unmarried and there are certain movements against contraception!

              1. Eisbaer*

                Confirmation and First Communion are observed by some Protestant denominations. Lutherans, for one.

                1. Gyrane*

                  Excuse me, First Communion is a very different sacrament in Catholicism. This speaks to the utter lack of understanding of the fundamental differences between Catholicism and Protestantism (although some denominations, such as Anglicans and Lutherans, still try to hold onto some of the pomp—saints and a version of some sacraments—without the mystery of faith that underpins it). A Lutheran child receives First Communion as a symbol. A Catholic child receives the body and blood of Christ. It’s PROFOUNDLY different.

                2. Gyrane*

                  Please don’t conflate Protestant sacraments and Catholic sacraments. They are not the same, and it’s offensive. All these folks claiming similarities between Protestants and Catholics—particularly Anglicans—may want to note that the actual differences are not minimal. There are profound difference in how we perceive and practice our respective faiths, and there’s a robust history of violence and occupation to prove it. Yes, some Protestant denominations retained some of the pomp. They purposely did not retain the particular mystery of faith that makes Catholicism what is. And thus a Lutheran child receiving Communion is partaking in a symbolic act, whereas a Catholic child is partaking of the body and blood of Christ. It’s a really, really different way of viewing the world, and we take enough crap for it. I don’t appreciate Lutherans and Episcopalians/Anglicans claiming to have the same sacraments. They don’t.

          2. Drago Cucina*

            A gentle correction. We do have a married clergy. There are three levels of ordination in the Latin Rite: deacon, priest, bishop (even the Pope is “only” ordained a bishop). Most permanent deacons, such as my husband, are married. We also have some Latin Rite priests who are married (generally came over from the Anglican Communion). I know a few. Then there are the Eastern Rite churches, such Maronites and Melkites, where married men may become priests.

            I won’t get into the “meh” most Catholics have about contraception. It’s just a bit more nuanced than most general views.

        8. JollyAnne*

          Ask them to pronounce H and where they went to primary school.

          (Northern Irish humour, what it doesn’t come up often I needed to pounce.)

        9. St. Ugottaabekiddingme*

          Oh, wow. People really have no idea how much anti-Catholic bias is out there, and how it is coded. Go be a Catholic student at any southern college outside of Louisiana and you’ll find out fast that many Protestants can spot a Catholic, and they have OPINIONS. Go work at the British Embassy as a Catholic and you’ll see that people can “tell the difference”—they look for it. Here’s a hint: Catholics are Irish, Belgian, French, Spanish, Italians, Polish, Portuguese, Croatians, some Lebanese, some Ukrainians, some Germans, Latin Americans and many Africans, especially in countries once colonized by the French, and there descendants. Of course these ethnicities have other religious groups, as well, and there are some Catholics in other parts of Europe, such as Norway and Sweden. But note who is not on this list, and then think about how this country was settled and governed. I remember my college roommate accompanying me home to NY, and her Methodist mother telling her not to come back with a boyfriend with “a crucifix and some name like Dante”. I was raised Catholic by a Catholic mother and an atheist father who had two atheist doctors for parents, and the anti-Catholic bias in my grandparents was STRONG, left over from their upbringing in southern Illinois, even though neither of them had been religious in years. I cannot tell you how many times I have been called “not a real Christian”, a “papist” (in this century) and even a witch by Protestants, especially Evangelicals.

          1. Owlgal*

            I live in the Midwest & can confirm the anti-Catholic bias is huge among protestants (particularly evangelicals). I’ve heard directly from friends and married family that they are actually taught in Sunday school that Catholics are not Christian. It’s some weird stuff.

            1. St. Ugottaabekiddingme*

              Oh, yes, they absolutely are. “You worship idols” (saint statues) “You pray to beads” (?) “You pray to Mary” (yep). Thanks for the backup. Non-religious Americans tend to conflate all Christian denominations, which is very frustrating.

            2. Totally Subclinical*

              I worked in a copy shop many years ago, and I still remember the person with the “How to Convert Catholics to Christianity” booklet.

          2. Emmy Noether*

            Isn’t it depressing how many of those denominations came to the Americas to flee persecution, only to turn right around and do the same themselves once they were in the majority?

            1. My Cabbages!*

              In many cases, they were “persecuted” because they were such strict judgemental a-holes that no one wanted them around.

    2. Beth*

      “Don’t let this become a problem” is a real a-hole comment from a superviser who has made it into a problem. Sheesh.

      1. Cat Tree*

        It sounds like Office Mate or other coworkers are bothered by it and complained to the boss to do something. The boss agrees with those coworkers and/or just doesn’t want to deal with it (those are not mutually exclusive). The way I read it, it sounds like the boss was really saying “don’t let this become a problem FOR ME”.

      2. Allonge*

        Yes, the manager here is… quite something. This for me is a next-to firing offence as the very least.

      3. GreenDoor*

        Yea, the “don’t let this become a problem” sounded to me like a total blow-off – like the manager doesn’t believe this is the OP’s sincerely held religious faith, like it’s just some fad the OP is doing to look rebellious and cool, and now people are talking about it and she has to deal with it. And what if OP, *did* need an accommodation for religious reasons? Would she blow that off, too? Would she give that same “don’t let this become a problem” to any employee from a religion she sees as “real” or “legitimate”? Likely not. This comment of the manager’s alone is reason enough to go to HR!

        1. Mannequin*

          That’s the impression I get too. Boss thinks OP is posturing in some way. Except, OP wasn’t waltzing around the office in black robes going “I’m a SATANIST”, they were outed by coworkers who saw them at an unrelated event.

        2. HoHumDrum*

          IME a lot of christians or other devout believers do see all atheism, paganism, agnosticism, or anything non-religious as just a rebellious fad. If I was being charitable I would say that their faith is so strong with them they simply cannot conceive of someone not having it, so they assume you DO feel the presence of their god but are simply being an ass and refusing to acknowledge it. I find these people extremely frustrating to talk to, and I’ve been around a LOT of them in my life.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Ugh. Yeah. I’m an ex-Christian, now pagan. I get talked down to like I’m a child by Evangelical Christians like I don’t know what I choose to believe. Annoying.

    3. DJ*

      I’m a Christian, my husband is even clergy, and I’m speechless. It is so completely unacceptable.

    4. tamarack etc.*

      Indeed. It doesn’t matter whether the OP actually considers this their religion or not – it’s still religious harassment.

  3. MissBaudelaire*

    This is something that HR needs to be made aware of. What would they do if someone was pagan, or Wiccan, or anything else that didn’t align with their thought process? Those coworkers have the wrong idea about what The Satanic Temple is all about, but it isn’t OP’s job to educate them. It is HR’s job to tell them to quit being discriminatory.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Remember the letter not written by any of the players, but by an observant coworker who knew “this was not right”:
      Op’s coworker was wiccan and constantly berated and questioned by two christian coworkers. Finally, she snapped and told them something on a par to the abuse they dumped on her. They complained. She was told to apologize for insulting their religion.
      Did we get a follow up on that?

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I think I found the letter you’re referring to: “my employees got into a religious argument and now things are in chaos” from November 16, 2021.

        There is no update link on that post. I did not look through all the comments to see if the LW added more information.

        1. GythaOgden*

          They were Muslims — part of what the Wiccan said back to them was along the lines of ‘don’t you understand bigotry yourself?’ None were in the right there (the Wiccan said some things in anger which were basically islamophobic) but the bullies were more wrong.

          This is just an awful situation all round and HR and/or the EEOC sound like the next port of call.

    2. Bilateralrope*

      If I was HR, I’d be more scared of The Satanic Temple than Wiccans here, as TST seem more likely to bring legal action.

      Not that it changes what HR needs to do.

      1. Pants*

        You’re right. While there are most likely legal back ups for each (TST was recognised as a religion in 2019, I think), TST would be far more likely to pursue legal action, especially as a group. It’d be harder with a coven.

        1. Lauren*

          That is the whole point of TST, but people hear the name and immediately think its about Satan. I live across the street from the headquarters in Salem, Ma and they are a delight. We looked into having our kids birthday party there, but too many breakables.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I have a friend who, along with her husband, belongs to TST and they were planning a trip there. She posted a pic of the accommodations and it was so Dark Shadows I actually screamed out loud in happiness upon seeing it.

            1. Lauren*

              Yeah, imagine seeing Lucifer at Coffee Time, which is down the street. A must visit for pastry and chocolate awesomeness for when they come.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                *googles; drools* Oh maaaaaaan. Dear company in Mass., please hire me so I can scoot on up there some weekends.

                Also because, ya know, Missouri is about to become Small Gilead.

                1. Lauren*

                  I love Salem, but bad schools. Blah, we have to move when these little devils hit kindergarten.

                2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

                  ABOUT to become? It’s so bad with the current crop of extremists running for various offices that they are starting to make Gubner Evil Goober look human.

                3. Mizzmarymack*

                  Salem only has bad schools by Massachusetts standards.

                  But our standards are second to none in the US. (I’ve heard, but am not tracking down the cite, that MA schools as a whole are on the same level as Singapore)

                  Before you move, really look into it. Massachusetts chapter 70 funding makes schools much more equal than property taxes and local income would imply (https://www.doe.mass.edu/finance/chapter70/)

            2. A Feast of Fools*

              Ooooh… I have a friend who lives a few blocks away from TST Salem. Sounds like I need to pay her a visit!!

            3. Kay Zee*

              It’s a wonderful place! We visited recently and were saddened by all the security measures they have to take, such as bars on the windows.

              And a Dark Shadows reference too!

        2. The Magpie*

          Not all pagans belong to covens, either. Heck, I’m not even Wiccan – I’m just “pagan”, and I’m a solitary practitioner (meaning I just do my little witch thing all on my own; I don’t belong to any kind of group or congregation). If I were being discriminated against at work, I’d be completely on my own in trying to figure out how to address it.

          1. Batgirl*

            Yep, but as a solo practitioner my practice is entirely secret. It’ll never be something I’d allow work to find out about.

            1. Safetykats*

              Sure, but the point is that if they did somehow find out, it shouldn’t matter. Whether you’re a private practitioner, or someone who passes out fliers for naked dancing on the first full moon after the equinox, nobody at work has the right to say boo about it.

          2. Curmudgeon in California*

            Yeah, I’m not one of the major branches of paganism, and am mostly solitary. I learned years ago not to talk about religion in the workplace. The fact that the OPs coworkers took something from the weekend and spread it around the office is cringeworthy.

    3. DrRat*

      Yeah, at a former job, I had someone start treating me like a freak because I mentioned that my mother in law was Wiccan (I think I mentioned in passing because it was a Wiccan holiday and I needed to text her.) One of the most peaceful religions, someone not in my household, not even a blood relation, and suddenly I was Tainted By Association. As you would expect, that person turned out to be the office gossip and backstabber who was super nice to your face and would whisper lies behind your back. I wish I had known more about TST then so I could have joined just to bait her. (And also because TST seems to do great work.)

  4. Popinki(she/her)*

    I’m sure other members of TST have dealt with people getting all weird around them. Can you pick their brains to find out how they’ve coped?

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I think this is a great idea for OP’s personal life. Meeting new potential friends and coffee buddies, because it is going to be a “thing” for a lot of people. It sucks that OP already feels like it is something to keep on the down low. It shouldn’t be something to worry about coming up. But s/he probably has to and I’m betting some readers have great scripts to for this that build good relationships or help one know when to cut bait.
      But this work thing is something else. I think OP can get coping advice from anyone being mistreated at work and hope some people share good ideas.

    2. Panicked*

      I’ve had conversations with people regarding TST. A lot of their fear has to do with the name alone. They honestly think we worship Satan. Once they find out that it’s an atheist organization that supports equal rights, science, and bodily autonomy and not human sacrificing, goth demon worshipers, they usually back off. Or they completely double-down. In both scenarios, you find out the truth about people!

      And to the LW, religious laws cover atheists, Satanists, and every other religion. You are protected and have the same rights as the predominant religion in your area. HR immediately, and if they don’t help, TST has tons of great resources.

      1. Rolly*

        I assumed the Satanic Temple is at least in part about worshipping Satan. The name suggest that. Thanks for the info.

        1. Miss Muffet*

          Same. I’ve learned here (yay) that it’s not the case – more humanist it sounds like, than anything? But to be fair, it doesn’t seem like a huge reach for people to assume something called The Satanic Temple is something to do with satan-worship. Obvs the colleagues here are being real glassbowls, but it’s unfortunate that the group has a pretty misleading name.

          1. Panicked*

            That’s exactly it though, people ASSUME they know things and fight/discriminate/hate based on their assumptions. If you talk to people about the tenants of TST without actually telling them where they come from, they often agree with most, if not all of them. But the moment you say “Satan,” people immediately jump to conclusions and form uninformed opinions.

            1. Bread Addict*

              Thats not strictly true. While it is a non-thiest group some do worship satan. If you look in the um literature section of the TST website they have a whole section on it but its predominantly the idea of Satan as an agent for change and embracer of diversity. Rather than an actual evil diety. Most members probably dont but its not accurate to say no members worship Satan.

              I say that as a non-thiest member of TST. I dont worship Satan but I have met some who do (and no they dont have forked tongues and all those stereotypes). They are perfectly lovely people. And I do agree that people agree with the tenants until they hear the name Satan.

              1. A Feast of Fools*

                Are you sure you’re not thinking of the Church of Satan? Because TST specifically addresses this in their FAQ:

                DO YOU WORSHIP SATAN?
                No, nor do we believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural. The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.

            2. Julia*

              It does seem odd, if you don’t believe in the devil, to take a particular religious figure that some people actually do believe exists and that has a deep moral and spiritual meaning for them, and call yourself by that name specifically to pick a fight with them. The point of the name is to trigger people into jumping to conclusions.

              1. Nameless in Customer Service*

                Hopedully while they’re jumping they’ll have a second thought.

                Also, considering how many fights Christians in powerful large masses have picked with other religions and between denominations, even if I agreed that The Satanic Temple exists “to pick a fight” with Christians, which I don’t, I would find that fight well deserved.

          2. TheRain'sSmallHands*

            People also assume that someone who says they are Christian is a bible thumping evangelical conservative – when they might be Quaker or UCC – and because there are over 5000 Christian denominations, you can’t keep track of who is one what side of which political/social fence.

            1. SoAnonForThisOne*

              Thank you for mentioning my little corner of Christianity (UCC)! I’m nearly 50, and people are often surprised when they learn I am a believer given my very public support for LGBTQIA+ rights, abortion rights, BLM, and too many other liberal causes to name. Then they are shocked when I say I learned these things as a child from my church, particularly my lesbian youth group leaders and a queer pastor at the regional summer camp. We had a two year Sunday school course in Christian evolution, and the takeaway was that ‘there are way too many branches to name, let alone track, and not everyone believes the way we do or the way their church says to.’

              TBH, I find TST awesome. Not that matters in this case! No one should be discussing their religion, theism, cult, MLM or “home based business”, politics, or lack of any of the former at work beyond casual references to their weekend work. And even then, if you have opinions on any of it you should keep that to yourself and treat your co-workers with kindness and respect. The behavior by LW’s co-workers is so far out of bounds it’s on a five year mission to explore space.

              1. StatsFiend*

                Hi there! Just thought I’d wave. I’m agnostic now, but born and raised UCC. I was absolutely petrified when I briefly ventured outside it, trying to find a larger youth group.

              2. GythaOgden*

                I’m a woolly liberal Anglican in agreement with all your opinions. You don’t have to be UCC to support all of the above. From the Magnificat onwards, there’s that rebellious streak in Christianity that has been buried under years of being the establishment. During the George Floyd situation, our young minister gave a really hard hitting sermon on liberation theology. Powerful stuff.

                I’ve had heart to heart talks with my mother, who was considering becoming a lay Presbyterian chaplain before settling on secular teaching about LGBTQ rights etc in a Christian context. I had a really difficult time reconciling the apparent ‘exclusivity clause’ in Christianity before turning it around — God’s message is universal. The doors are open to all. I know my mum has personal issues with abortion, but they’re just that — personal and not to be applied across the board.

                I think the most challenging conversations come from within. I know I discussed this a few times with my older, more rural group of church friends and heard that they wanted to be challenged in their assumptions. I found that heartening, particularly when a former teacher in the group talked about her direct experience with counselling her students on sexual issues and that she approached it as a Christian (or anyone else, but I know in this case her faith would have informed her actions) should — with compassion and understanding and trying to do right by the student and what they wanted. Underneath all the dogma being trumpeted out there, there’s a lot of good people doing good things. I just wish — and pray — that their voices become louder.

                So TST sounds awesome and all power to them. As I’ve said, we need more people out there challenging things.

            2. Joyce*

              Yes, or they might be a progressive Methodist, or Catholic, or Presbyterian. The Christian Left exists, that’s why there’s a website! Mennonites are famous for their highly committed and daring social justice work—they do not eff around when it comes to immigration ministry.

              1. Princesss Sparklepony*

                In the Catholic church there are some main branches – the regular one which is the biggest and the social justice one which is much smaller. There is also the fundamentalist branch which no one really wants to talk about. I was raised in the social justice one. So a lot of how to do good works, boycotting this, going on marches (at the time for anti-war and anti-nuke), having seders now and then, being somewhat interfaith, etc. The Nuns on the Bus (and other groups like that) and the activist nuns and priest are part of it. The mainstream Catholics think the social justice ones are freaks, and the social justice ones think the mainstream ones aren’t living up to the words of Christ. And everyone is scared of the fundamentalist ones. :)

          3. Summer*

            No, it is NOT unfortunate that they have that name – it is a feature, not a bug. If you immediately jump to the conclusion that a TST member worships Satan, without doing one bit of research, that’s on you. It would take about two seconds to search google and find out the truth.
            I am livid on LW’s behalf for having to put up with these ignorant, petty and mean coworkers and boss.

          4. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

            It is not unfortunate – it is a deliberate choice if the group, precisely because of the way people will associate the name, and because of the issues atheists have historically had with receiving the same rights as religious individuals.

          5. Safetykats*

            I’m actually kind of astonished that there are people out there who haven’t heard about the Satanic Temple. They have quite a social media presence; part of the point is that they aren’t any kind of secret.

        2. not a fan*

          America has ‘in god we trust’ on our money, so you would assume we are a theocracy. Sadly, that seems to be coming true.

        3. Nonna Mouse*

          If they don’t worship Satan let them change the name. When an auto rat says something, believe him.

          And there are plenty of secular reasons to oppose evil-doing.

          1. RetailEscapee*

            Hey so here’s the thing- it’s legal and protected to worship Satan so talking about whether they do or don’t worship Satan is completely irrelevant here. The name is important for grabbing media attention to the activism they do in addition to challenging perceptions.

          2. HoHumDrum*

            What about worshiping satan is bad or worth judgement? What would make that person a rat exactly?

            Your conception of what satan is is not a universally held understanding.

          3. aebhel*

            It is not actually incumbent on a religion to change their name or practices because Christians assume things about them. The fact that Christians tend to assume that their practices and attitudes toward their god (ie, assuming that a symbolic figure must be a subject of worship) are universal is the problem.

          4. Safetykats*

            @Nonna Mouse -The name is part of the point. But it’s okay, Satan forgives you.

    3. bee*

      Yeah, especially since TST was founded pretty much to make a point about religious equality, it would surprise me if they didn’t have a pretty healthy apparatus to respond to stuff like this, both socially and legally. I’m sure other members have dealt with this, but I’m equally sure that someone at your temple could put you in contact with a lawyer who will have stronger words for HR if this gets hairy.

      1. bee*

        As an aside, and not to victim blame OP at all, but it does surprise me that they didn’t expect this, at least somewhat? Since so much of TST is about Making A Point, it seems a little odd to me that one would join and expect to just do community service and fly under the radar (especially if you’re tabling at community events!) for an organization that’s basically Benevolent Trolling, The Religion.

          1. Beth*

            Exactly. The LW did not join TST because the name is provocative. They didn’t found the group and vote to adopt a provocative name. They joined because it meets their needs for a support community.

            1. bee*

              I guess my understanding of TST is that the name *is* exactly why people join, though? It’s intentionally a provocative name, to spark conversation and make people think about why society codifies certain religious protections but not others. And I think that’s great, for the record! But there are plenty of support communities that don’t intentionally court controversy, which seem like they might have been a better fit?

              1. BongoFury*

                So the LW should change their desired method of church/worship/non-worship/support to be more appealing to their coworkers?
                I’m sorry I think you’re way off base on this one.

                1. Green great dragon*

                  I don’t see Bee saying that. I see them saying that it’s not surprising.

                  Which is true, really. I wish it wasn’t true. I don’t think it’s a particularly helpful point to make either (as Alison might say, how does that change the advice?). But setting up straw men isn’t helpful either.

              2. TheRain'sSmallHands*

                No, they join because they like what TST stands for – that may include the provocative nature of their advocacy, but it also has to do with TST being a very good organization. But it isn’t like this is unique to members of TST. My family is UU and my husband had an issue with a boss of his over that – and we had issues with our youngest during school (some idiot teacher decided that talking about what religion the kids were was a good idea). I have a lot of friends who are some form of Pagan who have faced problems. Had they been standing behind a table that offered Tarot card readings, they might have the same problem.

              3. Panicked*

                People do not join for the name. I couldn’t care less if they call themselves “TST,” “We called ourselves this to anger people” or anything in between. The controversy is only between those who feel the need to discriminate based on the guise of religion. There would be no controversy if everyone had equal rights. If the name grabs your attention, it’s done it’s job, but it’s not a recruiting tool.

              4. Happy*

                There are probably lots of reasons that people join TST (just like any other religion). Saying that it’s not a good fit for LW because LW doesn’t want to discuss religion at work seems really inappropriate.

              5. biobotb*

                I mean, if you had read the LW’s letter carefully, you’d know that courting controversy is not why they joined, so you’d be able to recognize that your understanding was limited at the very least, if not outright wrong.

                “I found The Satanic Temple (TST) through my patient advocacy. TST supports access to scientifically factual medical care as well as encourages empathy, kindness, and charity work.” There is no mention of courting controversy in those sentences.

              6. Lauren*

                People who want to worship satan quickly realize that TST isn’t that though and leave after a few months.

                She joined TST – a legal advocacy group that supports religious freedom in real ways. OP is exactly where she should be and wants to be. She experienced the harm that religious discrimination can do. You are misunderstanding it based solely on the name. The name packs a punch legally as a an opposite to catholic, but both religios – therefore if a catholic statue can be on gov property – tell us why the satanic one can’t be?

                1. Becca Rosselin-Metadi*

                  Right-if you want real Satan worshipers, you need to join the Temple of Set. Or so I’ve read, anyway.

              7. Observer*

                I guess my understanding of TST is that the name *is* exactly why people join, though?

                Who knows? But it doesn’t really matter because that is not why the OP joined. In fact they specifically say that they found TST as part of their advocacy work. And the reality is that there are not enough groups that do patient advocacy – and most of the those that do are actually religious, which is a problem for the OP as they are atheist.

                1. Lauren*

                  this is why most join TST, because it is an advocacy and legal channel for religious freedoms even for satanic believers. Anyone who thinks TST is about worshipping satan is lazy and can’t even be bothered to read the website, which clearly articulates their position. They do get plenty of those that think it is about satan, but those people quickly leave. They also get a lot of extreme activists and those people leave too eventually. Mostly TST uses legal challenges in their work. That is it and it is awesome.

              8. Pointy's in the North Tower*

                Speaking for myself, I joined TST because their values align with mine. I’m atheist, so joining a Christian entity was out of the question for me.

              9. Mid*

                My friend attends a church called “Our Lady of Sorrow” does that mean she’s asking to be sad all the time?

                1. MsM*

                  I both do and don’t want to know what the “well, why’d you call it that if you didn’t want people making assumptions?” crowd think Conservative Judaism is about.

              10. CardCarryingMember*

                I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I joined The Satanic Temple because due to my sincerely held religious beliefs, if I want an abortion I am exempt from requirements such as those listed below, and if the doctor doesn’t respect my written exemption letter, they’ll back me up.

                * Mandatory Waiting Periods
                * The Requirement that Practitioners Withhold Certain Medical Information
                * Compulsory Counseling Prior to Abortion
                * Required Reading Materials
                * Medically Unnecessary Sonograms
                * Mandatory Listening to the Fetal Heartbeat
                * Compulsory Burial or Cremation of Fetal Remains

              11. Splendid Colors*

                Seriously? If you aren’t a theist, pretty much the other options are the Unitarian Universalist Church and whatever local Meetups you might find. (I don’t know if Sunday Assembly is still a thing, but after the novelty of “parody church service” wore off, I found it boring and the people in my group were cliquish and smug.)

              12. Aitch Arr*

                So anyone who is pro-choice shouldn’t be Catholic? Cos that’s kind of what you are saying, bee.

                1. GythaOgden*

                  Yup. I heard stories in my human rights law class while doing a law research Masters where asylum claims were rejected because the boards (located in North America) were sceptical that someone could be gay AND still be a practising Catholic (I forget why but I think they were both relevant to the asylum claim). The two things are not mutually exclusive.

                  One can have personal issues with abortion but still advocate for it to be legal and accessible because the moral situation will vary from person to person. Rebecca Todd Peters wrote a wonderful book on reconciling Christianity with women’s bodily autonomy. It was a little too radical for me (she veers into direct anti-natalism at times), but there are definitely Christians, of whom a fair number of whom are no doubt Catholic, that are pro-choice. They may not be comfortable with it themselves (I’m not sure whether I would be if push came to shove, but I’ve never been in a position where it has ever mattered), but they’re not the ones actively agitating for restrictions. Private beliefs do not necessarily mean the person wants them publicly enacted.

                  In more general terms, religion is a living, breathing thing with a wide variety of opinions. For me the core spirituality of the faith I was brought up in does not necessitate the cruft that has grown up around it. I appreciate the structure of attending a church to focus my belief in God, and the community of believers with whom I can talk and worship (I do a twice-weekly evening Zoom prayer session with a group of mostly older women, which has been a lifeline during the pandemic), but there are certain things within the Church, mostly to do with that human instinct to police and control their communities rather than foster meaningful fellowship, that need serious re-examination for us to move on as a whole. One of my proudest moments was my brief stint on the local parochial council voting in favour of woman bishops in the Anglican church. It was a small act but one which made a huge difference for me as both a woman and a Christian.

                  I just hope that all those small, private acts eventually add up into larger and more obvious public actions.

              13. SAS*

                The name is *not* why the LW joined though, they specifically recounted quite a traumatic incident that TST provided support for that led them to join.

                To refer to TST as “trolling, but religion” shows a staggering lack of awareness.

              14. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

                Would you apply the same reductivist reasoning to why people join a Baptist ministry, or particular Catholic Church?

                Every person has their own motivations for their actions. Some do join because of the name, and some join because they like associating with like minded people, and some join because they didn’t want to say no to a friend, etc.

        1. Purple Cat*

          Well I’m not the OP, but they probably believed they worked with rational, professional human beings and are blindsided by the fact that they do not!

          1. fposte*

            Right. If it’s legally protected. it doesn’t matter if it’s to make a point or not, it gets treated according to the law.

          2. Sea Anemone*

            Well, kind of sounds like OP had their coworkers’ numbers:

            My beliefs encourage me to meet everyone with empathy, and kindness, and to seek out a fair resolution to all personal conflicts. This is exactly why I didn’t want to bring it up at work.

            I LOLed so hard at that line.

            But yeah, I have aspects to my personal life that I don’t want co-workers to find out, and so I don’t do those things in the community eye, like tabling at festivals. I have other aspects that I am private about at work but take part in the community, I have a response prepared for meeting coworkers and talking about it to them. I can’t speak for OP, but they may have figured they would cross that bridge once they got there. And now here they are, crossing it.

            1. Lydia*

              They probably didn’t even think they’d have to cross it at all. If I see my coworker at a thing that outs something about their personal life, I might chat with them at the event, but I’m not going to go on about it at work. Because I’m not an asshole.

              1. Good Enough For Government Work*

                Exactly.

                I once bumped into a new colleague out in (our very small) town; the colleague in question wore suits and consistently presented masculine in the office, but at the time he was in a (stunning, frankly) gothic dress and huge high-heeled boots.

                I kept my damn mouth shut and never said a word to any of our colleagues, because I am not an asshole… And eventually my lovely colleague felt comfortable enough to start dressing how he liked *in* the office, too.

            2. F. Chris*

              You are missing the part where the event was held in a other town, not her community….

          3. Batgirl*

            Absolutely. OP trusted her co-workers to have rational brains and respectful boundaries before this. They thought they came across one rogue individual in a healthcare setting and they are only now finding out how dedicated people are at harassing people over things which are none of their business. I have been mistaken for a Satan worshipper too, because I’m pagan and I really appreciate TST for highlighting how silly an assumption that is. Satan is a biblical concept which has nothing to do me, I’m too busy worshipping nature. I know many Christians who have a beautiful faith, but there are also many in it solely for the privilege and entitlement of hassling people for being different. Even if OP did worship Satan, how does that harm them?! That’s the point of the name.

        2. mrry*

          This is the definition of victim-blaming bee. Saying you don’t mean to doesn’t erase what you did.

        3. bee*

          Sigh. Okay, I know it is not worth it to argue with this many people, but just to clarify what I was trying to say: there are plenty of organizations out there that promote science, empathy, and charity, both religious and non. But, according to TST itself, they use the metaphorical person of Satan because he is an “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.” And they specifically differentiate themselves from humanists because of their “embrace of our outsider status.” (both quotes directly from the TST website)
          I am not saying that the OP deserves this horrible treatment from their coworkers (clearly they do not!) But what I am saying is that TST is an organization that exists pretty specifically to expose these exact sorts of awful reactions, and therefore to make people think about why some forms of religious expression are “okay” in our society and some aren’t.
          I think this is a great mission! But upon joining an organization with those explicit stated goals, OP should have at the very least girded themselves for some negative reactions, and prepped to have the kinds of conversations that TST was founded to provoke.

          1. Rolly*

            How about not blaming the OP but blaming the organization. I mean the name sounds like they are Satan worshippers. Not that they should get grief at work, but Satan is evil, and someone saying they worship Satan makes me think they are bad people. Really. This is basic.

            I did not realize the Satanic Temple were not not Satan worshippers. Now I know. But that name – yeah, whoever chose that name should expect blowback.

            1. Observer*

              That would be a valid point in other contexts. But in this context, it doesn’t fly. Remember, the person (or people) who outed the OP knows that TST doesn’t worship satan. Because they actually chatted about it, it was at a charity fair, and they made a donation. But even after being given the facts, they STILL made an issue of it at work. And people are saying things like OP “will curse you.” And her supervisor is acting as though the OP is actually doing something wrong in the office, despite the fact that she hasn’t changed anything about her behavior.

              Whatever you may think about TST (and I do agree that the leadership have some really problematic ideas), it simply doesn’t make any sense to claim that people actually have reason to think that the OP worships satan, much less acting like they are pulling satanic rituals in the office.

              1. Rolly*

                “Whatever you may think about TST (and I do agree that the leadership have some really problematic ideas), it simply doesn’t make any sense to claim that people actually have reason to think that the OP worships satan”

                But it does for some workers who may not know what TST is about. I’m not saying it’s right for them to harass the OP, but it’s reasonable for them to think the OP worships Satan and is a bad person just from the name. Yes, the people who made the donation know better, but do others at that workplace?

                Again, not defending the harassment, but up until an hour ago, if I heard someone was part of TST I would look down on the privately.

                1. Allonge*

                  ‘it’s reasonable for them to think the OP worships Satan and is a bad person just from the name”

                  No., it is not reasonable. Unless you are not aware of other religions and atheists existing. Which would be unreasonable.

                2. Observer*

                  But it does for some workers who may not know what TST is about.

                  The people who met the OP at the fair were told what it is about. And anyone else who cares can spend all of 3 minutes looking it up. This is especially true of the manager who has a legal obligation here!

                3. Jaydee*

                  An hour ago, I didn’t know TST existed. And then I read this letter. And I got the sense from the letter that it’s not about actual satan worship (although I know enough about the 1st Amendment to know that wouldn’t actually matter). And then I Googled. And that clarified that it’s not actual satan worship. So maybe LW’s co-workers could also Google? I realize that’s asking a lot!

                  I mean, I understand the impulse to think “you joined a group with a provocative-sounding name, so don’t be surprised when people respond to it based on the assumptions they make about the name.” But there are plenty of religious groups that don’t have satan in the name and plenty of people who would be glassbowls to their colleague who was a member of one of those religions. And we generally realize why saying “Well, you’re not in Utah, so you should have been prepared for some insensitive questions and jokes about Mormons” or “Maybe you should have thought about how people would treat you before you converted to Islam” isn’t appropriate. Same goes here.

                4. anonagoose*

                  “it’s reasonable for them to think the OP worships Satan and is a bad person just from the name.”

                  No, it’s not! The idea that someone who worships Satan is a bad person is rooted in Abrahamic religious ideas of what Satan is and what it means to worship him–ideas that are completely irrelevent outside of the context of Abrahamic faiths, which TST (and most other Satanic faiths) are not. You can’t judge a religion by a different religion’s cosmology and worldview; if you do, you’re not acting very charitably, or exercising critical thinking skills. If you hear that a person is a member of a religion you are unfamiliar with and immediately assume they are a bad person, you are the bad person.

                  Also–ignorance is not an excuse. People can ask questions. People can also just look it up on the internet. Making stupid assumptions based on biases you have because of your own faith is problematic, not reasonable, and especially inappropriate in the workplace. If you cannot or will not move beyond those preconceptions, and insist on defending them, I’d question your ability to engage with people who are unlike you, as well as your ability to make judgement calls, do research, think critically, and compare/contrast.

                5. Summer*

                  @Rolly – so you would look down on someone based on one piece of information and before you even did the bare minimum of research? Wow…well, at least you own up to being judgmental I guess.

                6. Lenora Rose*

                  So why aren’t the co-workers who met the OP at the fair and know that fact also explaining that fact? They came back to the office and said “I met OP at a fair, guess what, they’re part of the Satanic Temple”… and didn’t explain further when they saw the reactions?

                  That’s very much on *them*, not on the OP, who never asked to have it a topic at work at all.

                7. missmesmer*

                  Is it reasonable for me to think that my Christian coworkers are bad people, just from the name? After all, the last few years have marked enormous eruption of human rights led by Christian entities in large.

                8. CoveredinBees*

                  @anonagoose*

                  I’d like to clear up that this view of Satan is not “Abrahamic religions”. This isn’t present in Judaism and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t present in Islam. A lot of what various Christian groups think about satan/devil/etc came about starting around the 12th century. Please don’t lump us all together.

                9. anonagoose*

                  @CoveredinBees You’re right, my apologies! I was thinking of Satan broadly in the sense of evil, including one interpretation in Judaism where is not an allpowerful sentient being but a representation of evil influences; Islam has a similar interpretation, wherein Satan is a tempter but not the kind of devil seen in Christian faiths. But I didn’t make that clear, and you’re right that was wrong of me.

            2. Just Another Starving Artist*

              “I did not realize the Satanic Temple were not not Satan worshippers. ”

              And with the entire internet at your disposal you wouldn’t think to, oh I don’t know, Google it before opening your mouth about it at work?

              1. Allonge*

                Why think (or, horror of horrors, research) when you can just judge people? /s

                1. Rolly*

                  Why should I have to look things up when they have what appears to be a clear name? I have so much information flowing through my life, and now someone says they belong to a Satanist organization I have to pause and look it up to see that they’re not really about Satan. Pfft.

                  No, I’ll judge them. And I AM CERTAIN you are mistaken (reasonably, but still mistaken) about MANY of things in your life too that you have made judgements about. Really, you are. There’s not enough time in the day to check so many things.

                2. Observer*

                  Why should I have to look things up when they have what appears to be a clear name?

                  Because when you are going to base your treatment of another person on that information, you have some obligation to actually find out whether your information is accurate. That is true 10 over when you go from just being distant to actually and actively insulting them and making gross accusations about them. And 1,000 times over that when it’s a supervisor who has an absolute legal obligation here.

                  “everyone knows” is never a good reason to mistreat someone.

                3. Allonge*

                  Rolly – I most certainly make judgments daily (frankly, right now, about you), a lot of them incorrect. My religion does not advise against this. Based on your reaction to ‘Satan’, I suspect yours might?

                4. Rolly*

                  “Because when you are going to base your treatment of another person on that information, you have some obligation to actually find out whether your information is accurate”

                  Oh that’s nonsense. If something has a misleading name, it’s on them to clarify. I’m busy. If you tell me something like that, it’s on you. Really.

                5. Dinwar*

                  “I’m busy.”

                  Too busy to do five minutes of research on something before formulating an opinion on it, but not too busy to spend ten times that long arguing with strangers online about it.

                  If you want to have an opinion on something you are obliged to do at least a minimal amount of research on it. Reading the name is not sufficient. We live in the information age and I’m reasonably certain you have access to the internet; we’re not talking an extensive amount of work here!

                6. Lenora Rose*

                  Rolly: THE OP DID NOT INTENTIONALLY TELL PEOPLE. You’re judging them for not immediately shutting down the assumptions of co-workers, and a manager, they were OUTED TO, and to whom they had no obligation to explain. And who have an obligation to ask if they’re going to judge.

              2. Rolly*

                I would not open my mouth about it at work – it’s a religion and we can’t discriminate against people at work based on their religion.

                I would just look down on them privately and stay away from them. I do not want to be friend with devil worshippers. Because the name is saying something and it’s bad.

                If an organization is going to choose a name like that, they have to expect some blowback. They should take some responsibility for people being misinformed, because their name is literally misinformation.

                1. Abogado Avocado*

                  If we are to do unto others as we wish to have done unto us, it seems to me there is an obligation to do some research before concluding based on a name or one’s personal bias that anyone or anything is “pure evil” or that an organization contains “devil worshippers”. Simple research shows that TST is neither.

                2. Just Another Starving Artist*

                  That’s a lot of words to say “I’ll continue judging books by their covers.”

                3. CoveredinBees*

                  Maybe Catholics should expect blowback because certain judgmental Christian groups believes that he is evil. You’re really think an entire group of strangers should make decisions base on your personal beliefs?

                4. Glass Houses*

                  If you think its okay to judge people and think they are bad because the word Satan is involved… then you are the reason its called TST. The name was chosen on purpose to make people talk about why some religion is fine and others isnt. Why is it okay to worship one thing but you are automatically a bad person for worshipping something else? Why does YOUR belief that the devil is bad mean that you have the right to look down on others? I know you dont like google but if you search christian, catholic, etc. Followed by serial killer you will see a lot of non-devil worshippers who do awful stuff. Religion doesnt dictate if someone is automatically good or bad. And if it did, why would YOUR religion be the one to decide that over any other?

                  And I would hope if you found out a colleague was involved in devil worship that you would still continue to speak to them and not behave in an unprofessional manner. Because you cant avoid colleagues for beliefs you dont like, in the same way they cant avoid you for yours.

                5. Mannequin*

                  You should probably know then that even the actual Anton LaVey founded, Satanic Bible based, decades in existence Church of Satan who wear capes & robes & do rituals aren’t ‘Devil worshippers’ either.

                  They are skeptical atheists who do not believe in a literal Satan and reject the idea of Satan as an actual theistic being who can be prayed to or asked for favors as people do with god.

                  It actually DOES behoove you to educate yourself about the world around you. Do think churches/religious people are automatically trustworthy because they are associated with god?

                6. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

                  “I would just look down on them privately”
                  So, I guess your religion doesn’t involve that Jesus fellow, I heard his is supposed to frown on “looking down on” people and treating them poorly… or really any of the other religions that I know about, as bigotry is typically considered a no…

                7. MeepMeep02*

                  You don’t need to be friends with them, but you do need to be professional. It’s work, and discrimination based on religion at work is literally illegal. It doesn’t matter what the religion is.

                  I am Jewish and I’m sure there are people who look down on me privately, stay away from me, and don’t want to be friends with Christ-killers. But when I am at work, anyone who feels that way should keep their antisemitic feelings to themselves.

                8. Robin*

                  I imagine at least part of the reason some people embrace the name more loudly would be so that people like you could basically self-screen yourself out of their life. I consider that to be a plus.

                9. Batgirl*

                  Satan is not always considered evil. It depends on the version of Satan you’re talking about, there are very, very old versions of texts which don’t actually say anything too terrible about the character. It’s very Christian-centric to assume Satan = evil.

            3. Allonge*

              So you will actively and agressively shun a person at work because you cannot be bothered to google the organisation they belong to?

              And no, it is not basic. In your belief, maybe, Satan is evil. There are other religions in the world and millions of people for whom Satan is a fairytale character. Please educate yourself before acting.

                1. Thy*

                  That’s sad. I’ll continue to assume every follower of your faith is terrible then since we’re judging based upon zero knowledge.

            4. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

              Satan is evil *according to one particular religious tradition*. Not taking the perspective of that one (or any) religious tradition as the default is kinda the point.

              1. Julia*

                Satan only *exists* according to one particular religious traditions. According to the other religious traditions there’s no such thing as Satan.

                In other words, TST is taking one particular religion’s figure of evil and appropriating it. Satan is not some universal figure that has a meaning independent of Christianity. Satan = evil, until TST came along. As a non-Christian, I don’t think equating Satan with evil is all that close-minded given this context.

                1. Nephron*

                  1. Until Christians came along Jewish people had exclusive and very different meanings behind parts of the Torah. Until Protestants came along the Catholics had very specific beliefs about the entire bible. Until the Mormons came along . . .
                  New groups show up and use old texts it is not a new idea. You kinda have to accept and work with that when it happens.

                  2. Satan as the questioner/challenger/adversary used by the TST actually comes out of a Jewish tradition that predates the modern satan = evil. So if we are going by old definitions then satan = evil is wrong. Satan is also often viewed by the Hebrew faith as that feeling you get as a person to do evil, not a supernatural being.

                  3. Also not Christian, raised in a country with a lot of Christian traditions though and we are not free of the cultural influence of Christianity even if we never followed the religion.

                2. Batgirl*

                  Satan was definitely not invented by Christians! It’s a fairly new religion comparatively, Satan is much older.

                3. A friendly neighbourhood satanist*

                  That’s not actually true. Satan first appears under that name in Judaism, as a heavenly prosecutor. He only became malevolent later, probably due to outside religious influences.

                  Today, Satan exists to some extent in all the Abrahamic religions. Our modern conception of Satan really pulls from a variety of pagan deities, and some pagans do include him in their pantheons as a more neutral figure. Satan has also be the object of non-theistic religious practices for more than 50 years at this point.

              2. Joyce*

                Um, no, Satan exists at least as a concept in all Abrahamic religions, including Judaism and Islam.

            5. The Magpie*

              Satan is not considered universally “evil”, not even by some Christians. So, no, it’s not “basic” at all, and you shouldn’t go round making assumptions like that about people.

              There’s a lot of ignorance surrounding the figure of Satan, and there are a lot of interpretations of his character and his place in theology. Satan is such a complex figure; any interpretation of him is definitely not as simple as “Satan is evil”.

              It’s really poor form to make assumptions like “they must be a bad person” about people in general, especially when you’re making that assumption because you’re making blanket judgments based on one small piece of information – one that, it turns out, you might not even know that much about.

              1. Lenora Rose*

                I knew a Satanist who was at least dabbling in the actual Le Vey style “worships Satan” groups, and…. no, HIS Satan was not the same figure as the Christian Satan of soul-snatching evil. Any more than the Jesus of Islam matches the Jesus of Christanity. His Satan owed a lot more to a combination of Pan and anti-authoritarianism. Frankly, that Satan sounded like one Jesus could have had a serious discussion with about what to do about the Pharisees who pounded on the word of law to the detriment of its spirit, instead of the one whose crude promises Jesus rightfully dismissed with one snarky line.

                I’m not entirely comfortable with the Satanic Temple or the actual folks who kinda sorta believe and follow Satan, and with the name. I really don’t like the way it turns Jesus. a radical bringer of change and embracer of right, into the harsh authoritarian image of him (oddly, that idea of Jesus seems like a concept Evangelicals and Satanists share, and very different from the Jesus I know; the only difference seems to be that Evangelicals think it’s a GOOD thing to Judge Thy Neighbour.)

                But I sure as anything didn’t assume a person I *knew* was evil, thought murder was fun, or cast wicked spells, based on the name for what he followed. And if Someone Else had outed him, I’d be even less likely to assume he was wicked.

                1. A friendly neighbourhood satanist*

                  FWIW, most non-theistic Satanists don’t really care about Jesus. We care about religious freedom, and having the same rights as other religious people do. But Jesus has absolutely *nothing* to do with the Satanic Temple. We don’t believe in the Christian God, or Jesus (except as a historical figure). The historical Jesus, as I know him, was apparently a rebel and a rabble-rouser who espoused justice and equality.

                  The Satanic Temple does push back against some evangelical Christian groups who want to impose their religious beliefs on others, but we generally don’t think Jesus as an individual or entity has anything to do with that.

                2. Lenora Rose*

                  I didn’t say he cared about Jesus (and he’d agree, btw). I was using Jesus mostly to demonstrate why I, who would object to the Biblical Satan and am still working on my discomfort with the name of the Satanic Temple, actually have no beef with any Satanists (or TST members) — because they seem to have ideas that are more in line with what I like about my (Leftist and affirming Christian) faith than some other Christians have.

            6. TheRain'sSmallHands*

              And it still doesn’t make any difference. They could be standing nude in a black painted pentagram in their basement surrounded by candles on Friday night with twelve other stark nekkid people reciting the Bible backwards and they would still be protected – and they still should NOT expect blowback at work because that would be ILLEGAL. You cannot discriminate or harass someone at work because of their religion (or lack thereof). Just like I don’t expect blowback at work because I’m a woman, or because I’m a minority.

            7. Mockingdragon*

              “Not that they should get grief at work, but Satan is evil, and someone saying they worship Satan makes me think they are bad people. Really. This is basic.”

              Literally, this is the point of it being The Satanic Temple. WHY is Satan evil? Why do you have that belief? Look at what Bee quoted – “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.”

              Would you really look at a person you thought was kind and pleasant and not stop to at least think ” wait, this doesn’t match my perception of them – what else is going on here?” And then find out that the “satan” they believe in (metaphorically, usually, in the case of TST) isn’t the one you do? That’s why it has the name it does.

              TST does such wonderful work. I may make a donation in the coming weeks now that I think about it.

              1. Eric Weatherby*

                “WHY is Satan evil? Why do you have that belief?”

                You said it yourself: Satan is an icon of opposition to arbitrary authority and rejection of tyrannical impositions. To them, that’s evil.

            8. Dinwar*

              “Not that they should get grief at work, but Satan is evil, and someone saying they worship Satan makes me think they are bad people.”

              According to YOUR religion. The idea that we are obliged to view the world through the lens of your faith is one example of systemic oppression.

              Religious discrimination is illegal. Full stop. The OP could literally worship Satan–and I’ve met folks who do–it would still be illegal. Your views on the validity of the religion are irrelevant; that’s rather the point of these laws.

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                In my younger days I dressed full goth, ooky-spooky, pentagrams and all. I wasn’t into any sort of evil, but hoo boy, it let me know who was an uptight Christian bigot and who was trustworthy.

                I never had to do it at work, because religion wasn’t discussed there, and people who pushed their religion on company time weren’t well thought of.

            9. Enlyghten*

              Utterly irrelevant. They could worship Cthulhu for all it matters.

              “But that name – yeah, whoever chose that name should expect blowback.”
              They did. Obviously. It only takes a minute of research to see that. They also know receiving that blowback at work is illegal. That’s why they advocate the way they do. There is no ‘I thought…’ here that would make the tiniest amount of difference. It’s discrimination.

            10. Splendid Colors*

              I know someone who grew up Southern Baptist whose entire congregation was convinced Unitarians were a devil-worshipping cult too. And that’s a pretty neutral name.

              1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

                Well…as a UU…..

                (UUs are a choose your faith – or as my now retired minister says – your faith chooses you – faith. Its fine to be Christian. Or Jewish, or atheist or pagan or worship Satan – as long as you hold the principals and try to live up to them. I teach UU Sunday school. I love doing it because we actually teach sex ed – real sex ed in an age appropriate fashion several times during our children’s school years. And we teach comparative religion – several times in age appropriate fashion (in early elementary its “holidays” – by high school its actually comparative religion.)

            11. anonagoose*

              “Satan is evil”

              You know, I don’t think highly of the Christian god. I’d go so far as to call him evil in my eyes. Yet I can somehow separate that opinion from the literal billions of practicing Christians in the world, whom I have never assumed are evil because they worship a god I find personally distasteful.

              Assume good faith in others, that they are in a religious community for good reasons, and keep your own biases out of it. It’s really not that hard.

            12. HoHumDrum*

              What is wrong with worshiping satan? Satan isn’t real and thus cannot be evil, and anyhow people who worship satan by and large are merely dramatic goths who aren’t hurting anybody. What a bizarre thing to so brazenly judge others about.

            13. Tabasco Fiasco*

              Beg your pardon- “this is basic” is… not actually basic. That assumes that we’re all observant Christians or Catholics, or have that foundation as our background. You’re assuming a very homogenous background for this readership. For those of us who heard the name Satan paired with evil, but don’t actually belong to a religion that has any sort of Satan/devil figure, it’s absolutely, 100% NOT basic that we’d come to the same conclusion you did. I’m busy as fuck- we all are- but I’d still take the time to google wtf TST is.

              (What should be basic is people, even busy ones, take the time to educate themselves before jumping to conclusions. If you have time to be on AAM, you have time to perform a basic Google search).

              1. Worldwalker*

                Catholics are Christians.

                The word you’re looking for is “Protestants.”

                1. Tabasco Fiasco*

                  Yes, my sincere apologies. I fired off too quickly before realizing. That doesn’t reflect my beliefs, only my inability to edit my own angry posts.

              2. EventPlannerGal*

                Please do not lecture other people about educating themselves while still perpetuating the mind-blowingly stupid and ignorant notion that Catholics are not Christians. Like, come on.

            14. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

              And if I said “women should expect grief in the workplace because they’re responsible for original sin” I’d be rightly derided for an attitude that should have gone extinct in the 10th century.

              Or “black Stetsons are a sign of a villainous disposition, so anyone wearing one should expect not to be trusted in the workplace”.

              You’re an adult now – Maybe stop judging others based on your childhood understandings of mythology, religion, and folklore?

            15. pancakes*

              “. . . but Satan is evil, and someone saying they worship Satan makes me think they are bad people. Really. This is basic.”

              That’s basic for people who believe Satan is a meaningful figure. For those of us who don’t see the world through a religious framework at all it’s harmless.

          2. Danniella Bee*

            You are defending religious discrimination with this sentence “OP should have at the very least girded themselves for some negative reactions, and prepped to have the kinds of conversations that TST was founded to provoke.” It is not the job of OP or anyone in a workplace of any religion to have to defend said religion nor should they be treated any different. This is the basis of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Section VII.

          3. The Green Lawintern*

            I mean, there are plenty of religious groups out there that have strong positions of controversial topics. Topically, there are church groups that pour absolute buckets of money into pro-life activism, encourage their members to protest outside clinics, etc. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for me to accost a member during work hours and mock their beliefs, nor should they feel like they should be prepped to have pro-life conversations at the drop of a hat.

          4. M*

            “OP should have at the very least girded themselves for some negative reactions, and prepped to have the kinds of conversations that TST was founded to provoke”. No. Just no. It is not OP’s responsibility to manage the reactions of others. The onus here falls solely on the people who are allowing their own negative reactions to impact the workplace. Full stop.

          5. Curmudgeon in California*

            But why should they have them at work? Whatever happened to things like “Don’t talk about sex, politics or religion at work unless your work specifically involves those things”?

            Unless the OP is working for a church, it shouldn’t be an issue except maybe jockeying for holiday coverage. (I regularly would cover religious holidays for my catholic coworker, since I’m only semi-observant of the pagan holidays.)

        4. Observer*

          and not to victim blame OP at all, but it does surprise me that they didn’t expect this, at least somewhat?

          So you are actually blaming the victim. But your surprise also makes no sense. The OP didn’t bring their affiliation to work.

          it seems a little odd to me that one would join and expect to just do community service and fly under the radar (especially if you’re tabling at community events!)

          It’s your expectation that seems odd to me, to be honest. Doing community work as volunteer frequently DOES fly under the radar. And while TST is fine with being in your face, to the best of my knowledge they don’t use people’s identities without their permission. As for the tabling bit, the OP was not only not in their own community, they were not even in their town or the next town over.

          Which all to say that the OP was actually being reasonable discreet. Also, regardless of whether anyone knew about their affiliation, why on earth would it be reasonable for them to expect the kind of reaction they are getting at work?!

        5. A Feast of Fools*

          Oh, hey, you sound like my ex-friend who told me that it was my fault that people said terrible things to me in public when I wore my “Friendly Neighborhood Atheist” t-shirt to the grocery store. “You live in the Bible Belt, Feast, what did you expect?!?” in a tone that implied I was a dumbass who was asking for it.

          Same for gay people getting beaten up because they dared to hold hands in public with the person they love.

          Of course we could all just keep our mouths shut and our real selves and beliefs in the closet so we don’t make bigots uncomfortable (because then they would have no choice but to harass us, amirite?).

          “Since so much of TST is about Making A Point”… Yes, and OP’s experience demonstrates that point perfectly: religious freedom only exists for certain groups in the U.S.

          1. JM*

            I wouldn’t be offended by your shirt, but I would be curious about someone so certain that a statistically insignificant group of people is right, and the vast majority of humanity who have practiced some form of religion since the dawn of man—and the vast majority who continue to do so today—must all be wrong. I would be curious about someone so certain of this that he felt compelled to wear a t-shirt proclaiming it. Unless you are going to suggest that one can be an atheist but not believe that all religious people (again, basically everyone, since always) are errant, which seems like a preposterous argument.

            1. Lunar Caustic*

              “The sun revolves around the earth” is an extremely old idea that was believed by many people. It is also wrong. The number of people who believe an idea and the antiquity of an idea have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether that idea is factually correct. People are allowed to decide if they want to base their lives on ideas that have not been proven, and people are allowed to decide if they want to base their lives on ideas that have been proven and avoid the ones that have not been. And all of these people are allowed to be public about how they have chosen to live their lives without being harassed by biased busybodies.

            2. Bob-White of the Glen*

              I guess if a majority believes in unseen forces as a historical way of accepting things they could not possibly understand (evolution, germ theory, earth rotating around the sun), then they must be right? After all, the majority is never wrong, or denied the freedom to explore any other belief system.

              Having grown up in religion, and rejecting most of it at age 12, and, most importantly, having seen the utter hypocrisy practice by those who claim to follow a religion of love, I too reject your religious beliefs and the “majority of humanity” that needed mythology to get through the night. You cannot show me one iota of proof of the existence of your “god.” Don’t point me towards a book full of misogyny, rape, murder, and a “god” that kills the first born for sport.

              He wears the shirt because it’s only been in the last century where he could without being burned alive at the stake, or facing some other horrible fate for not being in lockstep with these “loving” religions. Having a majority doesn’t make you right. It just makes you pompous and almost always either a member of the uneducated masses being bilked, or the one doing the bilking.

            3. Melody Pond*

              Unless you are going to suggest that one can be an atheist but not believe that all religious people (again, basically everyone, since always) are errant, which seems like a preposterous argument.

              I dunno, doesn’t seem that preposterous to me. It depends on the brand of atheism. Many atheists (myself included) are “agnostic atheists” – people who think it’s not really possible to know for-sure one way or the other, but at the current time define themselves as “unconvinced” of a theistic worldview. Personally, I leave room for the idea that theists could be right, even though I myself am not convinced. So theists are not *necessarily* wrong, in my view, which I think is a big difference from an atheist who believes theists are necessarily wrong.

              Also, as others have pointed out – you seem to be suggesting that because the vast majority of humanity have believed a thing “since the dawn of man”, that the thing is more likely to be true than not. This is a logical fallacy. You can only conclude that the belief/thing in question is A) popular and B) old. But the qualities of being old and popular have no inherent connection to factual correctness – hence, logical fallacy.

        6. tamarack etc.*

          Uh, because flying under the radar, religious-wise, is your *right* at work, maybe?

          It’s not as if she marched into a [Catholic, orthodiox Jewish, Muslim, Hindu] wedding ceremony and demanded to be given a role.

        7. Mannequin*

          I mean I actually expect people to act like adults & professionals and not start salacious gossip mills at work about whatever they think is salacious about their coworkers, but it seems like this OP works with people who have the maturity of middle schoolers.

  5. Jean*

    TST solidarity fist bump, OP. And I heartily agree with Alison’s advice. This is a clear cut case of a hostile work environment due to religious discrimination, and it’s going to escalate unless you take steps to shut it down. The ;aw is on your side here. Update please!

      1. me*

        I read your “;aw” as “jaw” and wanted to say that mine is on the floor at this blatant discrimination by LWs boss!

    1. SciDiver*

      I might also consider talking to HR about retaliation and what they’ll do to protect you. Your boss saying “don’t let this become a problem” makes me worried she’ll react poorly to HR telling her to knock it off.

  6. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    OP, you are taking far too much of the onus of this situation on yourself.
    Please take a deep breath and realize that every single person is acting in a completely inappropriate way and you are doing nothing to cause that. In fact, it is your boss’ reaction that is causing it, allowing it to continue and to spread. So there’s your problem.
    I hope you do have an HR department that you can take this to because you are being mistreated from the top on down.

    1. MissMeghan*

      So true, the boss is really the focal point of the problem, everything else radiates out from there. OP you’ve done nothing wrong here, and you’re being treated really unfairly. I think Alison’s advice is spot on.

  7. yfhjyhj*

    TST member here. Let’s be clear: The Satanic Temple is never “bats and snakes and sleeping in grave dirt.” We’re fighting for First Amendment rights for all and other cool things.

    1. tsumommy*

      Right on! This letter, along with the news about the Supreme Court and Roe v Wade, I’m joining TST now.

      1. Lydia*

        I recommend listening to the interview with the founder on Oh No! Ross and Carrie. I learned so much about TST and the important work they do.

    2. mrry*

      I mean, it CAN be if that’s what you want it to be. Sleeping in grave dirt is fine if you choose it and don’t force it on others and aren’t suggesting that the practice does something out of accordance with reason, and bats and snakes are cool. Hail yourself!

      1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        I was disappointed to learn that Costco will only deliver coffins directly to a funeral home of your choice.

        1. CoveredinBees*

          That’s awfully short-sighted of them. Why care why someone wants to buy coffins? I can imagine that a movie would need to buy them in bulk, which I thought was Costco’s whole deal.

          1. Autumnheart*

            Probably be cheaper for a movie studio to just buy a funeral home. They wouldn’t need to actually perform funerals, just use it as a means to buy movie coffins when needed.

        2. AnotherLibrarian*

          Used to work at Costco. I was told this rule has to do with state laws which often regulate coffins, due to potential health risks associated with human body burial. So, like unless the coffin is delivered to a registered funeral home, it can’t be used in the burial.

          1. Very Social*

            It probably has more to do with consolidating money and power with funeral homes than actual health risks. (Look up Ask a Mortician and the Order of the Good Death…)

          2. ShanShan*

            Yeah, the laws that surround corpses and burial in general in the US are extremely convoluted and arcane.

            Like, my spouse, who has been extremely attached to birds their whole life, really wants a sky burial (a burial where your body is not embalmed and vultures are allowed to consume it). But, it turns out that in most of the US, that is *extremely* illegal, no matter what the person the body belongs to wanted.

            And the worst part is that as the laws are written, it isn’t even for health or environmental reasons. It’s because it would legally be considered “mutilating a corpse,” which is ridiculous, because it’s an established form of religious burial in Zoroastrianism, literally the oldest religion in the world that people still practice.

            1. Rebecca1*

              They could donate their body to one of those forensic Body Farm training places, and try to make it one with lots of birds.

    3. Well...*

      Though this wouldn’t be a cool way to treat LW even if they were into bats and snakes and sleeping in grave dirt (assuming it was obtained legally or something). It’s really surprising because anyone with access to Wikipedia knows TST is almost more of an activist organization in reputation than a religious one.

      1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

        Which doesn’t make it any different than a lot of Christian churches.

    4. Gail Davidson-Durst*

      To be fair, Shiva Honey at least is a little bit “candles and incense and obsidian daggers” which is a similar vibe! :D

      But more importantly, I guess it’s time for me to stop faffing about and fully join TST rather than simply subscribing to their literature!

    5. L'étrangere*

      There’s nothing wrong with bats, snakes, or grave dirt. But that said TST have cheered my atheist heart no end with their spirited defense against Christian hegemony in this country. If I were to be forced to choose a religion I might go with pastafarian because my state allows me to have a colander on my head on my driver’s license, but the satanists are way up there at the forefront of antifascist resistance. Hurrah for Satan (and satin, because I found it very difficult to distinguish them at first)!

    6. Love to WFH*

      I’ve always been very impressed by the flair and effectiveness of the Satanic Temple’s work protecting everyone’s rights!

    7. it's me! sam!*

      Heck yeah, also a fellow TST member! The conditions this office created after your membership was discovered is exactly why TST exists, LW.

      Bats and snakes and grave dirt are awesome though and I don’t want them disparaged. I’m too delicate to be getting my hands dirty with them but I can appreciate the aesthetic from afar. Go off, goth friends. You are no less deserving of respect and civility than the khakis and polos crowd.

    8. Some Dude*

      I read a book of interviews with black metal musicians, a genre which was founded on being explicitly satanic and anti christian, and those guys HATE the satanic temple because it isn’t evil. There was a lot of “we are REAL satanists unlike those satanic temple hippies!”

      1. Mannequin*

        They seem like the most juvenile people to me, trying so hard to “be wicked”. It’s like they heard about all the terrible, cartoonishly extreme depictions of straw Satanists influenced by heavy metal & D&D that frightened people during he Satanic Panic days and thought those stereotypes were something to aspire to.

  8. Purple Cat*

    Good on you OP! Definitely bring this up to HR. I hope your boss sees the error of their ways.

  9. DrSalty*

    Yeah this is like textbook religious discrimination. You might want to note your boss is creating a “hostile work environment” in your discussion with HR. Sorry it’s happening to you.

    1. JSPA*

      Furthermore, presuming that OP hates christians and christianity per se (presumably the problematic assumption in play) is right up there with assuming your Jewish or Hindu or Budhist coworker hates Muslims… that your Muslim coworker is anti-Semitic and anti-christian… that your Orange Irish coworker is plotting the downfall of the Catholics on your staff… or any other presumption of religious intolerance.

      “People whose religion seems, to my outside eye, to be like your religion, have on occasion been intolerant or hateful” is. NEVER an excuse to proactively discriminate.

    2. Nanani*

      Not only that, it’s kind of the exact point the TST makes.
      They have the resources to fight nonsense discrimination, and that in turn helps other religious minorities who might not have the tools by way of setting precedents and expensive settlements.

      1. CoveredinBees*

        Or they feel like their situation as a religious (and frequently racial and/or ethnic) minority puts them in too precarious of a position to make waves. I know people from a number of minority backgrounds who have been told by their families or communities to accept shit with a smile for the purpose of showing that they fit in. To be representatives for the whole group, rather than an individual. From what I’ve seen, TST tends to be white, American-born people who can speak up without it impacting everyone who looks like them.

  10. Smithy*

    The OP should go to HR and present this issue as AAM shares. You could also reach out to your local ACLU office and consider talking to an employment lawyer.

    However, as a Jewish person I also want to add it’s also totally ok to consider just looking for a new job. There are sometimes and some places and situations in a season of your life where this kind of fight is not one you have the time or bandwidth for and that is 100% ok. Given the size of your employer and nature of your job, an internal transfer might entirely resolve the issue. Or maybe not. Either way, you do not have to stay and fight the good fight if you do not want.

    1. fish*

      +1. OP if you were not raised in a minority religion this may be (understandably) a new and shocking issue to confront, but I can tell you from experience it does not usually get better.

      I think it’s definitely worth a fight if you want it, and if so I thank you for standing up for these rights, but know it’s a fight.

      1. fposte*

        That’s a really good point. This may be the OP’s first experience of this kind of prejudice, and they may not have the sad advantage of experience and even parental guidance on how to negotiate it.

    2. H.Regalis*

      I remember years ago there was a letter in Savage Love from someone who was young, gay, and living in a very small town; and someone else had written in a response that was something like, “Doesn’t this person have an obligation as a gay person to stay and fight for gay rights in their community?” and Dan Savage was like, “HELL NO you don’t have to stay in a shithole shredding yourself to try to educate hateful bigots.” Not a big fan of his, but that is a really good point.

      OP, if stuff doesn’t better and you need to leave, do so. I hope for your sake that it can be resolved without that, but do what you need to do.

      1. PerplexedPigeon*

        +1 Hear, hear! Reminds me of the phrase “you do not have to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” As a lesbian, I have walked away from plenty of conversations/relationships/luckily only a few opportunities because I could no longer make any positive change. Harming yourself in the name of progress is not required!

      2. Elizabeth West*

        This. OP should definitely report it. HR may take care of it. But if they do nothing, then it’s okay to leave. That’s not giving up; that’s self-care.

    3. BongoFury*

      If it were me, I would start looking anyway. The absolute best outcome for LW is they get a new position without the boss being called for a reference.
      Going to HR is just going to make their petty boss even more petty. It might protect you for a while but IME, the boss gets their hand slapped, maybe some mandatory training where they sit all day and think about how much they hate LW, and nothing else. The boss doesn’t seem like the type to forgive/forget.

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Seconding the “you could definitely do both HR and start looking, or all three – meaning HR, ACLU or EEOC, and start looking.”

        I’ve found once coworkers and supervisors have let their @$$ out, they won’t frequently put it away.

        1. H.Regalis*

          “Today our forecast calls for bigotry with a high chance of unwanted butts” XD

      2. Smithy*

        Absolutely – and honestly, the protection may just be a negotiated reference. If this is a job where down the line the OP is really hoping for a reference (i.e. they’ve been there for years and this is the only supervisor they’ve had over the that time), ensuring that the reference can come from HR or the CEO or someone. And instead of just confirming dates of hiring, be able to say something positive regarding achievements and that the employee left in good standing.

        Or the protection might be just taking money and walking away. All of those options are valid, and again, not staying to “fight the good fight” is ok. It is also ok to do so. But they are called fights, because they are often antagonistic, take energy and can leave us hurt. Mostly emotionally, but stress can leave its mark on the body.

        Your workplace may be a core part of your identity and wanting to make it better makes that choices valuable. But choosing to walk away is not shameful or makes you less than. It can be a choice to find a livelihood that enables you to support yourself, your family and have time to spend with friends, seek joy, and invest time into other issues that are important to you.

  11. Hired Hacker*

    LW, you made me discover TST. It’s awesome. Your religion has just got a new adept. ;)

    And yes, go to HR and complain for harassment because of your religion.

  12. Hen in a Windstorm*

    I’ve been a fan of TST ever since the Baphomet statue counter to the 10 Commandments statue. I’m sorry your coworkers and boss are so ignorant and unprofessional. I hope your HR does their job.

    1. Ally McBeal*

      Yep, that’s when I discovered them too! I am Catholic (very progressive and more than a little skeptical, but still devotedly Catholic) so I can’t officially be affiliated with TST, but I am happy to vocally support them because they do really smart and helpful work. I’d like to think that if Heaven is real, many TST members will be there — and hopefully the perfection of Heaven will make it very clear to any Christians who also make it in that we are all one.

      1. Lab Boss*

        From a fellow Catholic who also strongly supports Civil Liberties, +1. Not a huge fan of invoking Satan to make their point, but can’t really find any fault with most of the points they’re making.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Yeah that made me happy, hahaha.

      It also made me consider what I would do if my boss or coworkers pulled something like this. I was raised Catholic but am shaping a Buddhist practice now. I came to it after I lost my job so I haven’t dealt with it at work yet. Even though that job was in OldCity, in a predominately Christian society, it will remain a consideration no matter where I go.

    3. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      Not a TST member*, but also a fan, for the exact same reason.

      *[disclaimer, I *am* a member of a minority religion]

  13. BradC*

    Worth mentioning, if other readers are not already aware, that “The Satanic Temple” (founded 2013) is primarily a political organization, and is totally distinct than the much older “Church of Satan” (founded by Anton LaVey in 1966).
    Neither believes in an actual literal Satan, interestingly.

    1. Loulou*

      The vox article Alison links to goes into more detail about this, which I appreciated!

      But if it’s really a political organization, rather than a religious one, doesn’t that affect whether discriminating against OP on the basis of their membership is legal? This feels more like OP is a member of DSA and is now being discriminated against, which as far as I know is not federally prohibited the way religious discrimination is.

      1. Temperance*

        The people attacking her are doing it on the basis of religion, though. It’s not a political opinion issue but what they think her religious views are.

      2. Fluffy Fish*

        Its considered a religion for tax purposes. Which is also part of their point due to religions having significant privilege’s.

        1. BradC*

          TST is (deliberately) *not* a tax-exempt organization; they oppose tax-exempt status for (traditional) churches as well.

          I’m not sure if that impacts how they should viewed by an HR dept, but you can’t use that argument.

          1. L.H. Puttgrass*

            According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), that changed in 2019. TST is tax-exempt now.

            I don’t know how that tax-exempt status affects recognition for religious discrimination purposes. (It’s been a long time since I studied First Amendment law.)

            1. Littorally*

              It doesn’t, at least in the USA; tax exemption is entirely separate from personal faith. Religious organizations get tax exempt status on the same basis that other nonprofit orgs do; religious individuals’ beliefs are protected by law regardless of whether those beliefs align with any specific religious organization.

              1. Fluffy Fish*

                Oh 100 percent. It’s just an easy short-hand to make it crystal clear. Unfortunately there are people out there in HR who may not fully understand personal faith applies no matter what.

                OP doesn’t have to state it, but it might be handy to have in their back-pocket in the hopefully non-existent chance, they get pushback.

          2. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

            TST is tax exempt, but Church of Satan, a separate but similar group, is not.

            1. mrry*

              Don’t talk about those two orgs like they’re the same thing. CoS actually believes in satan.

                1. A Feast of Fools*

                  Right?? The only people I know who believe in Satan are Christians. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

                2. Splendid Colors*

                  @A Feast of Fools, excellent point about Christians believing in Satan. Unitarians explicitly deny the existence of Satan.

      3. DuskPunkZebra*

        TST are recognized as a religious organization, they just happen to be an atheistic one whose main activities as an org revolve around 1A rights and protections and related issues. (Bodily autonomy is one of their highest held tenets, thus their dog in the abortion rights fight.)

        There are actually similar atheistic churches sprouting up around other issues, like the Church of Prismatic Light and trans rights, especially for transition.

        As a side note, most Satanic organizations are atheistic and Satan is a symbol of the ideology of self-determinism and adversary to those who would disrespect that.

        Not run across many Satanic orgs I’d be upset to be mistaken for a member of.

        1. Avery*

          TIL about the Church of Prismatic Light. Thanks for the reference, I’ll be following them!

      4. Ollyolly*

        Loulou, my understanding is that TST is a religious organization. TST has shared values, specific teachings and beliefs, and shared practices. These beliefs and practices might look different from more common theistic religions, but they still fall under religious protections. Is it primarily a political organization? Maybe, but there are also many religious organizations that use their protections to further their own political beliefs, so I think it’s reasonable.

      5. Turanga Leela*

        There have been really interesting court cases about what constitutes a “religion” for purposes of anti-discrimination laws, conscientious objector status, and so on. Like the Ethical Culture Society, which is a non-theistic humanist organization—is that a religion?

        The short answer is that it depends on the details (and the court), but “religion” is a pretty broad umbrella. And in this case, if I were OP’s lawyer, I’d argue that even if TST’s status is ambiguous, the discrimination OP is facing is explicitly religious in nature. People are putting up religious symbols of protection and saying she worships Satan!

        1. Metadata minion*

          Yeah, that’s an excellent point — discrimination law generally applies to the *perception* of something as well as your actual membership in it. It is illegal to harass someone for worshiping Satan regardless of whether they actually do.

        2. Lex*

          It seems comparable to how an employee may have grounds for a disability discrimination suit even if they aren’t disabled, if their employer/coworkers perceive them as disabled and treat them differently as a result.

        3. kitryan*

          Yes, and (sorry if this is covered down thread) an issue is that if the only protected religions are those based on belief in a deity or deities, then agnostics and atheist do not receive the same protections as people who believe in deities or a deity, which is discriminatory! So ‘testing’ and excluding from protection a religion on the basis of it not being based around belief in deity/s is discriminatory.
          Personally, on a semi side note, if the idea of religious orgs being tax exempt is supposed to be primarily because of their good works in the community (which is kind of what I thought the idea was), then there should not be a religious tax exemption, they should instead receive tax exemptions on the same basis as other charitable orgs if they so qualify, thus requiring them to actually do proper charitable work.

      6. LostBoyJim*

        Loulou, for all intents and purposes it’s a religious organization. It was carefully founded as a religious organization to combat exactly what you state above (being discriminated against because you aren’t a *REAL* religion).

      7. CoveredinBees*

        Nope. Their harassment of LW is religiously-based. Just like it would still be religious discrimination if they were harassing OP because the colleagues thought they were part of a religious group but actually weren’t. Also, TST defines itself as a religious group on its website and I think being explicitly nontheistic is arguably a theological stance, which is an indication of a religious group.

      8. Bread Addict*

        Not true. While it does a lot of political outreach (and community and others) TST is a legally recognised religion in the USA. So it does carry the same legal rights.

        Also it does have tax exempt status because its a religion but chooses to pay its taxes. Because it believes that all churches should.

    2. Office Manager*

      I’m a Christian, and read the Wikipedia page as soon as I saw this letter. I think Satan probably HATES these guys haha! Right on TST.

      1. LittleDoctor*

        “I think Satan probably hates these guys [who are doing what’s generally accepted as a good thing] haha” is not that pleasant to read when you’re someone who actually does genuinely worship Satan, not in the Satanic Temple aesthetic way but in the actual theistic way, just so you know.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Well, if your concept of Satan is entirely opposite of the Christian concept, that’s fine. People who believe differently than you are still allowed to hold and express their own beliefs.

          If the objection were raised the other way around, the point would still hold true.

      2. Globetrotta*

        Ooof – this comment is not it.

        From the TST website: Satan is a symbol 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.

  14. L-squared*

    This is tough.

    I think religious discrimination is awful. I also know that I’d have a certain gut reaction to finding out someone was a member of the satanic temple as well, and I’m not even super religious. I think your boss is handling it badly, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t understand a bit more caution from coworkers. Fair or not, certain things have stigmas in society, and satan is one of them. Its not much different than if someone who still uses swastikas for their religion, and other people having an adverse reaction to it.

    I don’t have any advice here though besides HR. But I think that, at best, people will just be better at hiding it now.

    1. Jean*

      “More caution” is one thing, and isn’t really what’s happening here. Being openly hostile is not appropriate under these or any circumstances.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      Um, no.

      There is nothing devil-worshiping about it (and frankly I wouldn’t care much if there was as long as people don’t hurt anyone else) and the onus is on other people to grow up and educate themselves. Or would you also advocate Muslim, Jewish, etc. employees hiding their views? I’m an atheist so, yeah, I get it, but if HR told me it would be better just to keep in on the DL I’d have problems with that as a “solution”.

    3. Critical Rolls*

      Whoa, that is not a good comparison AT ALL. Swastikas are a symbol deliberately adopted by a group that committed genocide, among other things. Satan’s existence is debatable, the harm done by actual Satan worshippers is mostly apocryphal and not statistically significant, and TST *doesn’t actually worship Satan.*

      Actual harm != imaginary harm

        1. LittleDoctor*

          And tbh? I think people need to really get chiller about people from Hindu and Buddhist backgrounds using a symbol that’s sacred to them. They didn’t ask it to be perverted by white supremacists.

        2. Critical Rolls*

          Yes, we all know because someone brings it up *every time.* Context and context clues exist. Still a bad comparison between a symbol that, in the West, is mainly associated with genocide and ongoing white supremacy, and a debatable religious boogeyman whose actual worshipers have harmed fewer people than lightning strikes.

      1. Zennish*

        I think the larger point was about the visceral reaction to the symbolism, not harm inflicted by particular groups. Swastikas are actually one of the oldest religious symbols on earth, and still used by many to symbolize the Sun, harmony, prosperity, liberation and a host of other stuff. Why should Korean or Tibetan Buddhists, for example, who have been using the swastika as a holy symbol continuously for 1500+ years be stigmatized because the Nazis co-opted/corrupted it? They shouldn’t, but such it is. Similarly when using an image of Satan, popular perception is what it is, and may or may not have anything to do with the actual reality at hand, but you still have to deal with it.

        1. Metadata minion*

          Sure, if I saw a coworker wearing religious iconography that included swastikas in their original Hindu usage, I would probably have a gut recoil reaction. But that doesn’t mean it would be ok for me to treat that coworker any differently. If it was in the workplace, that gets more sensitive since you really can’t ignore the extent to which the Nazis desecrated that symbol and I think it would be reasonable to ask someone not to hang one up at their desk. But if I go to an interfaith even and see my coworker staffing a table about Hindusim, I don’t get to be an asshole to them about their religious symbols just because I have an *entirely unrelated* negative association with them.

        2. Pointy's in the North Tower*

          TST does not use images of Satan. You might see Baphomet, the horned goat. Not the same as Satan.

        3. Liz T*

          Are you comparing images of the biblical Satan to the Nazi swastika? Nazis killed millions of people, on Earth in real life, less than a hundred years ago. The biblical Satan has literally never hurt a living person.

          1. Zennish*

            I was talking about the popular perception of the two symbols being evocative of evil. I wasn’t comparing actual Nazis to anything.

            1. Jennifer Strange*

              There are lots of things (and people!) which have a perception of being evocative of evil all throughout history, including, to some, Christians. Does that mean it’s okay to discriminate against them for it?

              1. Zennish*

                The entire point was that it’s not okay to discriminate regardless, but that the reality is that certain symbols have an immediately negative connotation for many, that one may encounter and have to deal with. I’m going to refrain from commenting on this further, because I’m apparently not conveying my thoughts clearly.

                1. Mannequin*

                  Nazis are a symbol of evil because they *perpetrated mass quantities of actual real life evil*

                  Satan is a fictional character from the mythology of one particular religion. He is a FICTIONAL symbol of evil like Darth Vader or Voldemort or Sauron, and has hurt exactly as many real life humans as those characters have.

                  The two aren’t even comparable.

                2. Jennifer Strange*

                  My point was that Christianity has a negative connotation for many, yet if a Christian was being harassed for their religion I doubt anyone would say “Well, you just have to deal with it!”

    4. ThatGirl*

      You’re having a gut reaction to the word “Satan” but … that’s the whole point. They’re not really a religion at all, and they certainly don’t worship the Christian/pop-culture idea of “Satan” the evil fallen angel. Maybe do a little more reading – this isn’t quite the same thing as swastikas.

      1. Pointy's in the North Tower*

        We are a religion. Saying that we’re not is offensive.

        1. fine tipped pen afficionado*

          Preach. My commitment to the ideals and tenets of TST is far more pious than my commitment to my previous religion ever was. These are my beliefs that are important to my identity; it is a part of my daily practice of living.

          I get what you’re saying here but part of my religious practice is to help people expand their understandings of what religion is, could be, and should be.

      2. Dinwar*

        Your argument is sort of like trying to argue that you’re not discriminating against a trans woman on basis of sex, because they’re trans and therefore not a woman so your wolf whistles and gross comments shouldn’t count. It’s pretty clear that the coworkers are viewing TST as a religious organization, and objecting on openly religious grounds, which is creating a hostile work environment in violation of the law and common decency.

        Besides, what constitutes a religion? That’s not a minor question; the boarders have VERY large gray areas. For example, what about solitary Pagans? By the nature of their faith there is no structure, no priests, few practice in a building. What about ancestor worship? In some cases there are no gods, and dogma is…variable, to say the least.

        When you decide that those who’s practices don’t qualify as religions you need to address these, because you need to be crystal clear in what your criteria is. Otherwise you’ll simply end up saying “[Dominant Religion] counts, everything else doesn’t.”

    5. No pitchforks*

      Yeah, I have to admit I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this. It sounds like an intentional “gotcha”. How is this any different from creating a Temple of Hitler, but then be like, “oh, but we don’t actually stand for anything he did”?

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          And even assuming Satan does exist (and not even all Christians agree on that; some see him as more representation of evil), his impact is less direct. It is unlikely anybody had their grandparents killed by Satan, whereas people have had their grandparents killed in the Holocaust.

      1. Sarah*

        Absolutely no one has committed genocide in the name of Satan. This is a very ignorant comment, and hurtful to both victims of the Holocaust and to members of TST.

        1. fine tipped pen afficionado*

          And interestingly, followers of a religion people HAVE committed genocide in the name of don’t have this same knee jerk reaction.

      2. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

        Because Hitler actually existed and we have no evidence that Satan exists. Biiiiiig difference.

      3. Spreadsheets and Books*

        And what things, exactly, did Satan do? Not in the belief system of your particular religion, but actual, tangible actions that are not only irrefutable but terrible in the context of modern society?

        It’s really no different than me being offended because I think Santa is a jerk for not treating children equally. Santa isn’t real. There is similarly no evidence that Satan is real, nor that he has done anything relevant to daily life.

        1. MPerera*

          I’m an atheist and my father is a born-again fundamentalist Christian. After I emigrated to Canada, he told the extended family that I was an evil person because I was “in thrall to the Fallen One”.

          Well, here I am in Canada with a good job, a home of my own, and the security and peace of mind I never had when I lived in my parents’ country. If this is because of Satan, he’s done pretty well by me!

          1. Emmy Noether*

            well, deals with the devil do tend to be sweet until the bill comes due…

            /sarc

      4. Fluffy Fish*

        Lets start with the fact that one is an actual person who committed atrocity’s. Lets also stop comparing things to the freaking Holocaust.

        If your religion tells you that Satan is real and bad, power to you. But you don’t get to use YOUR religion to antagonize other peoples religion.

      5. fish*

        Hi there. Jewish people are real, not just a thought experiment.

        You really, really did not need to jump to the Holocaust here. Could I please read a work-advice column without you throwing my hundreds of murdered family members in my face as a hypothetical.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Absolutely thirding it. Whilst I’m not Jewish myself there’s part of my family tree we know nothing about because it was all erased during those times.

            Just…no. There’s millions of other comparisons to choose from that are not massively offensive.

      6. quill*

        Satan isn’t a historically documented human who committed a genocide, for starters.

      7. omega*

        It is an intentional “gotcha,” created to point out the hypocrisy of laws and policies that are enacted under the guise of “religious freedom,” but are actually enacted to prop up Christianity specifically. When a book about LGBT families gets banned for infringing someone’s “religious freedom,” TST can counter argue that the book supports their religious freedom to accept all families as valid.

      8. LittleDoctor*

        So I actually do theistically worship Satan, not in the Satanic Temple aesthetic way but in an actual genuine way. For me, this is a really offensive comparison. Hitler was a person who physically existed, who killed literally tens of millions of people for their race, disabilities, and other things that left them marginalized.

        The Satan of the Christian Bible is a much more ambiguous figure who, among other things, shared knowledge with humanity (the tree.) I do support and stand by the Christian Satan, while perceiving the god of the Christian Bible as the evil figure in it.

        But also even if Satan was a more unambiguous figure, in a place where non-Christians are extremely minoritized and where being associated with “sinful” or “demonic” things has been used to stigmatize innocent people for literally centuries, anyone who falls outside of acceptable Christian hegemony reclaiming the aesthetics of Satan/the antichrist/sin etc. is doing something profoundly counterculutural and powerful.

        1. Fushi*

          Thank you! So many people in this comment section are demonstrating such a shallow understanding of Satan as a religious figure…

          1. Liz T*

            Even for the most Basic AF Christian, isn’t Satan just the guy who punishes evil-doers after they die? What’s even so bad about him, to them? Isn’t it part of their belief system that evil-doers are supposed to go to him to be punished?

            1. Emmy Noether*

              He is also portrayed as a figure that tries to tempt people from the righteous path, which is where the (simplistic perception of) evil comes in. Some circles also use the devil as a kind of bogeyman (he’ll get you if you don’t eat your vegetables!) And there’s a lot of general cultural imagery of deals with the devil, of demonic posession, etc. in the subconscious. A lot of that stuff, interestingly, has zero basis in the bible.

      9. NotAnotherSageGrouse*

        WOW. That comparison was NOT cool.
        Hitler was an indisputably real person who orchestrated unspeakably awful crimes against indisputably real human beings.

        Satan is a religious figure, so even among people who think Satan is a real, material being, there’s a lot of complex theological thought and symbolism. I’m part of a Christian denomination that’s more on the “Satan as symbol” end of the spectrum, and AFAIK there is a whole school of thought about Satan as a symbol of free will or human self-determination. Even if I *personally* don’t buy that perspective, the Hitler namecheck was way out of order.

        Also, even if the Satanist label raises eyebrows, it certainly doesn’t excuse the coworkers’ harassing OP. They have a LOT of appropriate choices, like Googling it, asking OP respectful questions, or just keeping their mouths shut and minding their own business.

      10. Lydia*

        Because Hitler actually orchestrated the murder of millions of people and invaded countries in a quest for power and satan…well, has never actually existed.

      11. McThrill*

        I mean, you could also argue that Christianity does the same thing – I seem to recall God becoming incredibly angry and flooding the earth so that only a single family survived at some point in the bible. Also destroying an entire city and then turning one of the few survivors to salt because she dared to look back at her destroyed home. Main thing is that even the most cursory of google searches on the Satanic temple will enlighten you as to the point of the whole project – that Christian religions enjoy a lot of benefits that no one ever seems to question, and the point of naming the project after the villain is to force people in power to either extend the same rights to ALL religions, as the constitution says they must, or admit that only certain religions actually benefit from that clause. Also, Hitler was a real person who left a record of what they did and why they did it (and some first-person sources are still alive to testify to that) whereas using the bible as a historical document is… problematic, at best.

      12. Who is the asshole*

        For the love of all Jewish readers, can people stop bringing up the Holocaust or Hitler as a gotcha?

    6. Xavier Desmond*

      That is not a fair comparison. The OP has not advertised their religion to anyone so it’s not analogous to having swastikas on display. As an atheist I think there are many negative connotations to all organised religion but I wouldn’t dream of treating a coworker differently if I found out they were religious.

      1. LittleDoctor*

        And TBH even as someone from a primarily targeted group during the Holocaust, I obviously would just deal with it if a Hindu or Buddhist colleague had a swastika on their desk or whatever. Context matters.

        1. Splendid Colors*

          Yeah, N*zis don’t surround theirs with flower garlands or pictures of deities (like at least one Indian grocery does in the next town over). Pretty obvious difference in context!

          1. Emmy Noether*

            Yeah. I’m German, I’m fairly sensitive to swastikas and nationalistic symbolism in general, and I have never, not once, been confused about the meaning of a swastika when I see one. It’s very obvious from context. (surrounded by flower garlands on a temple door? Buddhist. Sprayed in black on an abandoned building? Nazi. Tattoo on a shaved head, grasped by an eagle? Nazi. Easy.)

        2. Pam Poovey*

          Yeah, I might do a double-take but with context it’s very easy to see the difference.

    7. Fluffy Fish*

      But your gut reaction would be wrong – TST has zero to do with worshipping Satan.

      It’s not tough. No one can discriminate against someone based on religion. Gut reactionsneed to be kept to ones self.

      1. LittleDoctor*

        But also, even if it was about worshipping the Satan of the Christian Bible (which I and many other people actually do!) that would still be fine, and their reaction would still be discriminatory and wrong.

          1. LittleDoctor*

            Mm in practice it’s not so much worship (in the Christian way at least) so much as like revering the concept and respecting the dude. Maybe play a little song, etc.

            1. Mockingdragon*

              “Worship” is such a weird word. I’ve had the best communication with my gods when I’ve just offered some of the popcorn I was making anyway.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          The Abrahamic deity isn’t exactly lacking in the atrocity department. Killing off all life except for what ended up on an ark, smiting a goodly number of people because they didn’t worship right, torturing Job based on a bet, encouraging child murder by parents as proof of belief. Yet this deity is considered normal and uncontroversial. And I am saying this as a occasional practitioner of the Orthodox Christian faith. Our god isn’t very nice

          1. Ally McBeal*

            Which is why I appreciate folks like the guy who’s taking the “Don’t Say Gay” bill to task by insisting that school boards ban the Bible, which is full of incest, rape, murder, etc.

            I can’t decide if God isn’t very nice, or if the Bible (being written by humans who said, in an admirable feat of circular reasoning, that they were inspired by God) is more fallible than we were taught.

            1. Emmy Noether*

              I think those stories just try to make sense of a world that often isn’t very nice (natural catastrophes! plagues! strings of bad luck happening to good people!). The classic explanations are either god isn’t nice, or he’s testing us (also not very nice), or humans screwed it up with their free will, or we just can’t understand his great plan (a cop-out explanation IMO), or he doesn’t exist.

            2. pancakes*

              Maybe you weren’t taught it was fallible because the people doing the teaching simply don’t want anyone questioning whether the figure they’ve organized their worldview around is nice or cruel. From the outside, the cruelty is very hard to miss.

    8. Dona Florinda*

      But that’s on coworker to challenge their own views. It’s not OP’s job to educate them, and certainly not to put up with people being hostile (the pet question made me see red).

    9. Marie*

      Uh, swastikas are associated with the systematic religious-based killing of millions of Jews. Nobody has killed millions of people based on their religion in the name of Satan. They are absolutely different, and your comparison trivializes why Swastikas would have a much worse association for people, particularly Jewish people. Please stop drawing on the Holocaust as a comparison for why you think X, Y, or Z modern thing you don’t resonate with is bad.

      1. Dancing Donkey*

        Please stop drawing on the Holocaust as a comparison for why you think X, Y, or Z modern thing you don’t resonate with is bad.

        Thank you for saying this! Trivializing is exactly it.

      2. Dinwar*

        “Uh, swastikas are associated with the systematic religious-based killing of millions of Jews.”

        Not just Jews, either. About 6 million Jews were killed, along with about 6 million other “undesirables”–homosexuals, Romani/Gypsies, and others that didn’t fit with the “Master Race” concept. That’s not to belittle what the Jews went through, of course. The Holocaust was a crime against the human species as such, and the iconography associated with it is, unfortunately, forever tainted with the blood of those innocent people in a way that little else in human history has been.

    10. Sarah*

      Comparing LW ‘s religion to swastikas and fascism is extremely gross. Your gut reaction is wrong and coming from a place of ignorance, and I hope you’d have the good sense to keep it to yourself in the workplace if you can’t bring yourself to actually learn what she believes.

    11. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s worth reading the piece I read because it sounds like you’re misunderstanding what the group is. An excerpt:

      The Satanic Temple began as a troll to the religious right. Now it’s part of the resistance.
      The group was founded in 2012 by two friends, Malcolm Jerry and Lucien Greaves (both pseudonyms). Greaves serves as the organization’s public spokesperson.

      TST first made headlines when a handful of its members held a January 2013 mock rally in Tallahassee, Florida — Satanic black robes and all — in honor of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who had recently signed into law a bill allowing students to read inspirational (in practice, Christian) messages at assemblies and other school events.

      A typically wry press release put out by the TST heaped praise on the governor. “Rick Scott … has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school.”

      Since then, TST has taken advantage of laws designed to serve the Christian right to shine light on hypocrisy. Last year, TST members in Texas threatened to file injunctions against any enforcement of the state’s new “fetal burial rule,” which mandates that all fetal remains — including those from abortions — receive official burial or cremation, because such a rule violated TST’s religious conviction that fetuses were not people.

      The group has also lobbied for “after-school Satan clubs” — secularist counterparts to Christian evangelical school organizations like the Good News Club, which are permitted in public schools. More recently, they’ve also developed a program to “troll” bakeries that refuse to serve LGBTQ couples (the subject of an ongoing Supreme Court case) by demanding that they make Satan-themed cakes. While sexual orientation is not a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, religion is, which means bakeries cannot legally refuse Satanists’ religious free expression.

      Political activism on the part of churches is nothing new — from the anti-segregation work of many mainline Protestant communities during the civil rights movement to the anti-abortion efforts of many evangelical groups today. But at TST, opposition to organized religion provides the impetus for action for more progressive causes like abortion rights and anti-racism.

      1. Pinkbasil*

        There is an excellent documentary if anyone wants to learn more. It’s called Hail Satan? – you can find the trailer on YouTube and I think I streamed it on Hulu.

        1. Lydia*

          There’s a great interview with Lucien Greaves on a podcast called Oh No! Ross & Carrie that goes into the history of TST and how it all started and what it’s become.

    12. Temperance*

      It’s actually not “tough”.

      Stuff like this is why I primarily associate with other secular people.

    13. bamcheeks*

      yeah, but there are tons of people who’d have the same gut reaction to Islam. The whole point of TST is to point out that the existence of those Christian-majority stigmas and that they shouldn’t be facilitated and endorsed by the state or workplace.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        Even those who are Christian in Christian-majority areas should recognize that though they may personally benefit from being the majority where, when they are, there’s whole libraries filled with history of Protestant vs Catholic bloodshed and discrimination, or Protestant group vs different Protestant group conflicts, discrimination as well.

        Not that people should need to have personal experience with bigotry, injustice to oppose it (like the nonsense of men need to be “fathers of daughters” to understand that sexual harassment or misogyny is oops! very bad!) but freedom of religion and protection against discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation, along with separation of Church and State, are absolutely fundamental things that if people don’t “get”, they should sit down and think about it long and hard about what that means.

        1. Irish Teacher*

          Absolutely. I am an Irish Catholic in a country that has historically been extremely Catholic majority and yet, I grew up in an era when people were in jail in the UK for crimes they had not committed because they shared my ethnicity and religion. Now, it was more anti-Irish prejudice than anti-Catholic prejudice that was the issue there – the religion simply confirmed that they were of native Irish descent rather than descended from the British colonisers. And yeah, one doesn’t need direct experience to realise it is wrong, but I still have an emotional reaction to some of the comments about Muslims that I don’t to other equally wrong things, because I remember when “but they could be terrorists and should be treated with suspicion!” was directed at those of my nationality.

          Judging somebody by a gut reaction can cause massive harm.

      2. AnonForThis*

        I’m from an extremely conservative Muslim-majority country where I suffered material, physical harm (including years of incarceration that involved daily, life-threatening torture which has left me with multiple significant physical disabilities) for not being Muslim and for refusing to follow Muslim laws (eating and drinking publicly during fasting times, not dressing in accordance with modesty laws, writing against Islam.)

        Even then I would simply chill the fuck out of one of my colleagues was Muslim and talk about literally anything besides my philosophical disagreement with aspects of Islam. I’ve had Muslim professors, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. and have simply not brought any of my experiences up or been a weirdo about their religion. I can wish someone happy Eid and tell them it’s so cool that they just got back from Mecca. Surely someone whose difficult experiences involving another religion objectively pale in comparison to mine can manage to be at least as polite as I am.

        1. Dreaming of rain*

          That sounds like a lot to have had to deal with. Best wishes to you for ongoing better days <3

        2. pancakes*

          Thank you for this comment. It’s wild how many people here don’t seem to see any dots to connect between their “gut reaction” and the way they behave at work.

    14. Suprisingly ADHD*

      OP has already been outed at work, hiding isn’t an option for them. I don’t really think “hide the fact that you’re a minority that makes people uncomfortable” is great advice in general, given how many groups of people are so heavily stigmatized by certain religious denominations. “Such-and-such is a satan worshipper” is unfortunately a common excuse for discrimination (including historically against LGBT+ people, and pretty much every non-Christian religion). It’s very different from swastikas, which are now almost exclusively seen used by bigots in current pop culture. “Satanic” imagery can be found in many aesthetics, including metal bands, wiccan or pagan religions, and LOTS of pop culture (there’s an entire show just called Lucifer, and dozens of others that include demons and the devil as sympathetic characters.
      OP’s boss should be shutting down questions like “did you sacrifice your pets?” and other blatant hostility, not blaming OP for “letting this become a problem.”

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Right? Way to tell everyone you commented without doing a five-second Google search to make sure you knew what you were talking about.

    15. HannahS*

      Whoa, you are so off-base. I really hope I don’t need to explain to you that swastika were used by real Nazis who committed real genocide, and someone being uncomfortable around Hindu symbolism is VERY MUCH NOT the same as someone being vaguely uncomfortable with the name “Satan” because of it represents the concept of evil in your own religion. I’m sure that you don’t mean to engage in downplaying the Holocaust, but that’s what you’re doing. Your uncomfortable feelings are not the same as trauma.

    16. Becky*

      No–it isn’t tough. And none of OP’s coworkers are showing “caution” of any sort. This is religious hostility and discrimination.

    17. Saturday Slowpoke*

      I’m currently watching the show Under The Banner Of Heaven, a true crime show about a group of Mormon brothers who murder The wife and baby of one of their brothers because she did not follow their religious beliefs to the letter. Despite this horrific true crime being one of my few interactions with this religion, I am not going to take the stigma of this crime and decide that all Mormons are terrible and out to murder women and children. I’ll do some actual research and meet some real life Mormons. So get over your point of view for TST that you clearly know nothing about and do some research.

      Ignorance is not bliss, it just makes you intolerant of people with different beliefs than you.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        On a side note, I have an oddly large population of Mormon missionaries living behind me (odd because I live in Spain, which, y’know, Catholicism and all) and they’re perfectly lovely. The actions of a small minority of zealots should never be representative of the whole.

      2. Anon Supervisor*

        You should read the book (if you haven’t already), it’s extremely insightful.

    18. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      Oh my god, no. You did not just throw out SWASTIKAS.

      Look. That is NOT the same thing at all. Oh my god.

    19. Charity*

      This is wild because there are people who still use swastikas for their religion! It is still common within buddhist, hindu, and jain communities. I worked with Jain man who had a beaded swastika bracelet (although he did always wear it under his shirt sleeves because we worked in the U.S.). But I think it would be very reasonable to someone be adverse at first but then once it was explained to be understanding of other’s religions, viewpoints, and symbolism.

      Related: A friend of mine likes to tell the story as a young kid who just moved from China to NYC and had to draw “religion” or something for a class assignment so he decorated it with swastikas because they were all over the buddhist temples back home! His mom was called in by the teacher for what I am sure was an englightening discussion on both sides.

    20. Littorally*

      Its not much different than if someone who still uses swastikas for their religion

      So uh, a whole fuckin lot of Hindus and Buddhists then?

    21. FrivYeti*

      Hi, L-squared. I’m Jewish, so my ancestors have been a lot more persecuted by Christians than by anyone claiming to worship an Adversary. Is it right for me to be inherently suspicious of anyone who I discover goes to church? Should I ask if I’m about to be burned at the stake every time a Christian co-worker comments on a mistake that I’ve made, or inquire about whether a dead relative was stoned for adultery? A lot more atrocities have been done in the name of Christ than the name of Satan, historically speaking.

      The answer is no, of course not. Religious freedom means that if someone worships something, and the tenets of that religion are not monstrous, I should not be suspicious of them, and I certainly shouldn’t mock them. If I’m finding myself having a negative gut reaction the instant I learn about someone’s religion, that’s on me to fix.

      1. Globetrotta*

        I got through your first paragraph, and was like yeah – suspicion seems warranted. Much like when women and femmes view men as a potential threat, any christian I meet needs to prove themselves before I will feel safe, because it’s not only historic atrocities. Just look at the loss of bodily autonomy women are about to be faced with in the US.

        To be clear, there won’t be any hostility or mockery from me in a workplace, just straight professionalism. But if you can view them without suspicion, you are a more forgiving person than I ever want to be.

        1. Who is the asshole*

          But that’s the point, isn’t it? Even if you’re suspicious, you wouldn’t dream about antagonizing them at work when they go about their normal working days.

      2. Very Social*

        Exactly. I’m a pagan. At work I sit next to a man who is somewhat loudly Christian. I have never once acted like he’s going to have me hanged for witchcraft–or even, in more contemporary terms, arrested for fraud under anti-divination laws. Even if I thought he held those attitudes, I would keep my thoughts to myself!

    22. Nom*

      You’re proving the point of the existence of TST. Religious discrimination is unacceptable no matter your feelings about someone else’s religion.

      Nazism is not a religion. Hinduism, which sometimes uses swastikas, is a religion though (if you aren’t aware, the Sanskrit swastika predates the Nazi one)

      1. allathian*

        It’s an old symbol, the first examples are from around 10,000 BCE, so it predates Hinduism.

        The sad fact is that the ancient swastika has been corrupted by the Nazis as a symbol. I’m in Finland, and there are very few Buddhists or Hindus here, so if I see a swastika, my gut reaction’s going to be negative because I associate it so strongly with the Nazis. This in spite of the fact that the Finnish Air Force used it as a symbol until 2018, and had done so since the organization was founded in 1918, i.e. 25 years before the Nazis won the German election in 1933.

    23. Jackie*

      I mean the name is intended to be confusing and shocking in order to provoke a conversation, so… It’s getting the intended response yes? That seems to be the whole point of this activism as far as I can see. TST chose a name to very intentionally evoke fears from the Manson murders for example, fully knowing people are ignorant. If you join such a group, I think you are actively signing up to be somebody who spreads awareness on the topic. I understand OP doesn’t want to go around telling people work colleagues group, but at this point, I think that is the best course of action.
      And yes, it’s not fair that Hindus have to explain that their symbol is not affiliated to Nazis (Hitler stole it!), but if they have it up at work they are going to have to explain it. And yes, if you love Pepe the frog and have pictures of him in your cubicle, you might have to tell people you don’t mean it THAT way even if it’s totally not your fault. Sorry, it’s just the way it is.

    24. Well...*

      This is so close-minded in so many ways.
      1) Invoking the holocaust this way is offensive, see many excellent comments above.
      2) You’re misunderstanding what TST is.
      3) The swastika was appropriated from its mirror image, widely used worldwide. Open up Google maps in some areas of Japan and you will see the symbol all over the place. It’s used to mark shrines.
      4) Imagery of satan has roots in other religions, not just Christianity, and was used to persecute non-Christian pagans. Christians definitely cannot cry “you stole our thing” when it comes to satanic iconography which has its roots elsewhere.

      1. MsM*

        I feel like it’s worth noting that Satan’s most significant appearance in the Jewish parts of the Bible is in the Book of Job, where he’s a (literal) devil’s advocate who doesn’t actually do anything to anyone directly without permission.

        1. Metadata minion*

          Yep. He’s basically God’s DA in charge of prosecuting humanity. Not a *nice* figure, no, but explicitly not evil.

          1. Properlike*

            This is how I learned it too, when I eventually took a Bible as Literature class as an adult. An adult atheist. (Because I grew up on the edge of the Bible Belt.)

        2. Dinwar*

          I’ve heard (can’t confirm, but heard from multiple sources) that the original term that became “Satan” merely meant something like “opposition”. It was more akin to “Prosecution” in a trial–a title that various beings held, each only for the purpose of the discussion in question. The idea was that people have free will, and therefore need to have the option of opposing God’s will. The point of these stories was never “Satan’s out to getcha!!” but rather “This person is great because they had the option to choose evil, but chose to obey God.”

          In that sense, the Satanic Temple is filling its role perfectly. It has positioned itself in opposition to the Christian block. (It’s one reason I’m not a member–I find the idea of defining yourself as an opposition to some other religion distasteful).

          The more modern imagery–the horns, the name “Beelzebub”, ruling in Hell, all of it–came not from any Biblical source, but from, as Well… said, various Pagan religions and, more predominantly, Dante’s “Inferno” and the book “Paradise Lost”. Remove those three sources and you’re left with so little information that it’s impossible to say anything concrete about the Biblical Satan as an entity.

          For my part I don’t believe a word of it, any more than a devout Catholic believes in the Maiden, Mother, and Crone. I just enjoy cultural rabbit holes.

          1. Allegra*

            The original term is easy to find; it’s literally “satan” in Hebrew, which per the dictionary of Biblical Hebrew I have easiest to hand (Jastrow, for anyone who knows what that means) is used variably as disturber, hostile one, adversary or accuser.

            But I’m uncomfortable with a through line I’m sort of picking up in some comments, that the LW’s coworkers are wrong because there are culturally Christian reasons one can approve of TST (drawing on originalism from various sources of popular, Christian-framed depictions of Satan), and not that they are wrong for the sole fact of harassing the LW and making prejudiced and baseless assumptions about them because of their religion. I’m struggling to phrase this precisely, but I feel like framing it this way reinforces the idea that beliefs need to be acceptable in some Christian way in order to exist in public or the workplace. It shouldn’t matter if TST is acceptable by a cultural Christian litmus test; members of non-Christian religions shouldn’t have to prove to cultural Christians that their beliefs don’t threaten Christianity in order for them to be seen as legit. (And I say this as somebody who really likes to dig into the theological and cultural representations of Satan! I just think it reinforces a bad practice to frame the defense of the LW this way.)

            1. Minimal Pear*

              Hard agree, so many people are arguing on the basis of “but they don’t even worship Satan anyway! they’re nice people!” when this really needs to be focused on “if your coworkers and boss are discriminating against you for your religion that is illegal and you should report them”.

            2. Well...*

              Agreed, but in this thread I think the conversation is trending that way in response to the comment that TST is meant to get a rise out of Christians based on their iconography. Christians can’t really say TST is defined in opposition to their thing when much of it had been appropriated from other sources (also the original comment is conflating paganism and TST and Satan worship in a weird way)

            3. Dreaming of rain*

              Yes, this is such a good comment and explains why I felt uneasy about that argument even though I couldn’t place why

            4. Dinwar*

              I think you’re conflating several separate (but admittedly poorly-differentiated) arguments.

              The main argument is whether or not what’s happening is religious discrimination. It is–TST is considered a religious group in the USA and provided all the benefits and protections any religious group has. Not really much of an argument except by people who don’t understand the situation.

              A second line of reasoning is moral–is TST evil? Ultimately it doesn’t matter–they could be sacrificing goats in hopes of bringing about the end of the world and they’d still be protected–but it’s an important one, and more significantly an interesting one. This is where the discussion of why Christians can approve of TST come into play. A common attack against the LW in this thread is, essentially, “You asked for it”. Pointing out that the goals and methods of TST are not definitively against Christian morals is useful, as it demonstrates that even those who ostensibly should oppose TST aren’t unified. When the argument amounts to “I’m a Christian and find this offensive, therefore it’s offensive” being able to point to Christians who don’t find it offensive demonstrates that line of reasoning to be erroneous, or at least incomplete.

              Another thing it does is show that those who are attacking TST for using “Satan” in the name don’t speak for all Christians. It’s pretty common in our culture for the loudest, most offensive, and least-educated to claim to speak for everyone, and it’s good to counter that when possible. Simply standing up and saying “You don’t speak for all of us” takes the power away from those who have presumed to take that power for themselves, at least a little bit (and little bits add up quickly).

              Finally, I think it’s good for us to get into the habit of standing up to those in our own In Group and say that we don’t agree. Much of what’s wrong with our culture, to my mind at least, is the fracturing of society into competing tribes that tolerate no dissent, even on incredibly complex and nuanced issues. We as a culture need to re-learn the habit of dealing with complexity in non-binary ways. Part of that is being able to say “My group mostly says X, but I think they’re wrong.” It’s a useful skill to develop, in other words, and let’s face it, an online blog comments section is about the safest way to practice such a skill.

          2. Kit*

            Satan does, indeed, mean opposition in Hebrew. The term is used for human as well as supernatural adversaries in Biblical texts, but the mention of “ha-satan” (lit. The Adversary) is indeed a title applied to a being that is subordinate to God and is serving as the opposing counsel. Or, if you will, as a Devil’s Advocate…

            Incidentally, TST’s self-assigned role is rather like ha-satan’s, except that they are not mandated to push back by the very entity they’re being obligated to oppose; they are voluntarily stepping up to defend all of us against a monolith, and as a Jew myself, I respect and appreciate their work. (Plus it’s funny. I admit to enjoying the humor involved.)

            1. Dinwar*

              I knew there was a prefix, just couldn’t figure it out, and my Google-Fu is not strong enough to find it. Thank you for the information!

              Agreed on the self-assigned role of TST. The name is well-chosen. I’m not as big a fan of their humor–it often comes across a bit middle-school faux-edgy to me–but as a Pagan I also appreciate their work. As I said below, they’re opting to fight to open the way for the rest of us, and that is heroic.

    25. NoThankYou*

      Really? REALLY? Please do yourself a favor and google “Godwin’s Law.” Maybe also “Association Fallacy” while you’re at it.

    26. tinybutfierce*

      It’s interesting to me that you acknowledge in your own comment that this stigma is unfair, but still admit you buy into it and understand why the coworkers would. Your discomfort is your & the OP’s boss/coworkers problem to deal with, not something the OP should even have to think about.

      Also, I sincerely hope you pay attention to the comments from others about why the swastika comparison is inappropriate.

    27. KoiFeeder*

      I know someone who Literally Does Worship Satan and they’re a lovely person. A bit of an odd duck in the social skills department, which is why we hit it off so well, but nothing that can be compared to literal Nazis and genocide. Also, frankly, they’ve never claimed that entire groups of people deserve eternal torment, which puts them above a good number of Christians I’ve had to interact with.

    28. Dinwar*

      This is why so many people in minority religions are in the closet.

      The stigma you talk about–the unfair one–is called “oppression”. It is the way that the dominant culture keeps in line those who don’t fit in. This attitude is why I make sure to have no indications of my religion at work or on my person. It’s why over a million Pagans, Wiccans, and others don’t out themselves. We can lose our jobs, we can be physically attacked. Gods help any Pagan, Wiccan, or Satanist that gets divorced–they’re lucky if they can retain the right to see their children!

    29. Observer*

      but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t understand a bit more caution from coworkers.

      Except that what is happening here is not a “bit more caution” by any stretch of the imagination. Also, as an adult, you have something of an obligation to get the facts before you change your behavior towards someone. As a colleague, you actually have a legal obligation to get the facts before you start treating someone someone significantly differently, especially when that difference includes insulting people and making gross accusations. As a manager, you have a higher legal obligation in this kind of situation. So much so that this could put the company on the hook for what is going on.

      I’m not an atheist. And while the Jewish view of Satan is different from the Christian concept, I totally understand and sympathize with the revulsion that the Christian version sparks in Christians and people who adopt that concept. But that is utterly irrelevant here, because the only thing that TST and actual Satanists have in common is the use of the name. Inability to differentiate between two things with the same name is not something I have a lot of “understanding” for, at least in supposedly competent adults. And, like I said, even if the OP were actually a worshiper of the Christian version of Satan, what is happening at work is so far over the line of “caution” that it really, really needs to stop.

    30. The Green Lawintern*

      Everyone has already made good points about your swastika comparison, but I just want to note – the behavior LW isn’t describing isn’t “caution.” People are calling her Sabrina, asking her if she killed her pet. They aren’t afraid of her or hesitant in any way. They’re just bullies who enjoy mocking her for their own entertainment.

    31. Annie Mouse*

      If this is your gut reaction, that is a sign that it’s time to question your own prejudices. “My mainstream religion teaches me that this minority religious figure is bad, so it’s ok for me to discriminate” is not ok.

      1. drtheliz*

        THANK you. I don’t care if your “gut reaction” to me is to be “cautious” because I’m a “Christ killer”. That’s bigotry, and you can check it at the flipping door.

        1. allathian*

          Mmm yeah. I’m not a believer, although I’ve grown up in a traditionally Lutheran environment. I don’t condone anti-Semitism in any shape or form, but it’s particularly puzzling when Christians accuse Jews of being “Christ killers”. Without the crucifixion, there would be no Christianity.

    32. Elizabeth West*

      I would hope that your gut reaction would inspire you to learn more about whatever it is that is causing you to have that reaction, instead of just leaving it there.

    33. Gotta tell ya....*

      I’m having a “certain gut reaction” to reading your extremely offensive comment, L-squared (and I follow no religion at all). :/ I think you should probably take some time to actually research the things you’re making ignorant statements about, so you can approach them from a kinder place. This might sound snotty, but I mean it all in sincerity.

    34. Rolly*

      “I think religious discrimination is awful.”

      At work and in public life, I agree.

      But in my private life I ABSOLUTELY DISCRIMINATE against certain religions – those that take strong fundamentalist views – and the people who follow those religions (when I’m not viewing them as victims). I would also discriminate against people who worshipped Satan, though I have not to my knowledge met any such people.

      1. Observer*

        You want to discriminate in your personal life against people who do things you find abhorrent? That’s your right. You want to do so based on either no information or based on objectively wrong information? That is one of the most morally repugnant stances I’ve read on this site. Sure, it’s legal. But it’s utterly immoral to mistreat or discriminate against someone without doing the BAREST minimum to insure that you are acting on a factual basis.

        1. Rolly*

          “You want to do so based on either no information or based on objectively wrong information? ”

          No, on minimal information. We all make assumptions. If someone is going to run around with an name that is literally misinformation, that is on them.

          I’m far too busy in my life to double-check everything, particular in my person life. I am pretty sure you are too, but just don’t realize that you’re wrong about lots of stuff. We all are.

          “discriminate against someone”

          You’re using “discriminate” as if it’s a bad thing. We all discriminate. I actually was part of an anti-hunger organization/event with the name “Ride for Life’ and knew that name was misleading – some people though we were an anti-abortion group. So we would clarify that. The problem was on us.

          1. Observer*

            No, on minimal information.

            No, it is INCORRECT information. And every person has a moral obligation to make a MINIMAL effort to make sure that the information they use to base their treatment of other is correct.

            That you keep on insisting that it’s ok to harm people because you are too lazy to take a minute or two to check your information says so much about you, that I’m going to end the conversation here.

            1. TransmascJourno*

              I agree, wholeheartedly. Discernment—and that’s the best light in which I can possibly cast Rolly’s comment in—within a personal social sphere is one thing. And even then, discernment should be based on something more than a singular broad generalization.
              But discrimination? Nope. The term “discrimination” speaks to a specific proactive stance of harm—one which Observer rightly pointed out, and which makes Rolly’s usage here all the more alarming.

                1. TransmascJourno*

                  And, by the way, discernment should never be based on bigotry. Discernment is more in the vein of peccadilloes—something akin to “I’m having a dinner party, and X is a peripheral member of my friend group who I don’t jibe with because we have different interests; I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual, they view me the same, and not getting an invite to my dinner party won’t cause any upset. I’d feel the same if they didn’t invite me to their dinner party.” That kind of microcosmic-level, run-of-the-mill discernment.

                2. allathian*

                  Yes, this. Although it’s possible to have stronger reasons than a vague dislike to avoid people. Obviously it’s entirely permissible to avoid someone’s company if you don’t feel safe because you have seen them express hateful opinions about other people, or a category you belong to. It’s not really possible to maintain friendly relationships with people who question your right to exist, nor should anyone be expected to do that.

                  I mean, how would you work together with a person who thinks that there are only two genders, and that if you’re unhappy with the gender you were assigned at birth, you either force yourself to live with it or kill yourself, because non-binary and trans people don’t exist and shouldn’t exist? I mean, it’s entirely reasonable to discriminate against bigots.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            No, the problem is on YOU to find out what something actually is or what’s going on before you decide to condemn it. Because your actions and words re things you have little to no information about have consequences to other people.

          3. Just a Thought*

            Let me see if I have this right, Rolly. It’s OK to discriminate privately on the basis of religion if one is to busy to take ten minutes to read about TST on the internet.

            But the reason you don’t have ten minutes is because you’re spending hours arguing on the internet.

            Okay, got it.

        2. Autumnheart*

          It’s one thing to be like “I’m not inviting those people to my birthday party” and decidedly different to be like “I’m not hiring that person to be on my team”. One is a right and one is against federal law. Mix them up at your own peril.

    35. Definitely anon this time*

      I know a bunch of people, including other Jews, have already responded explaining the difference between Satan and a symbol of actual fascist genocidaires. So I’ll refrain from adding another comment about that.

      Instead, I’ll mention that I’m a Jewish survivor of the 2017 neo-Nazi attacks in Charlottesville. And use that to illustrate that Nazi swastikas are also a symbol of ongoing fascist hatred and violence. I specify Nazi swastikas because Hindu/Buddhist ones don’t usually look the same! I would still be jarred to see one to be honest, and I imagine other Jews would be too, and I’d maybe want to have a conversation about it, but I wouldn’t go around mocking or harassing the coworker (mocking isn’t “a bit more caution,” or any other kind of caution, anyway). And Nazi swastikas don’t have any other connotation besides the bad one. There are violent fascist Satanists* too (O9A comes to mind), but most Satanists are not connected to that, any more than most Christians are connected to the very large number of Christian fascists**.

      *I realize that TST don’t actually worship Satan, but I also realize that a lot of people don’t know that, and I’m saying that even if they did, this argument wouldn’t hold water.

      **Because of specific bad experiences, I would be jarred to unexpectedly see someone wearing the Orthodox Christian two-barred cross. But if I had a coworker wearing one, it’s on me to manage that trigger, and to absolutely NOT give them a hard time about wearing a religious symbol!

    36. some of my divisors*

      Okay, so speaking as someone (culturally Hindu, atheist) who does use swastikas in my religion: if I treated everyone whose religious beliefs I had a gut reaction to in the way that gut reaction indicated, I would be a terrible person.

      I will admit to feeling suspicious of anyone who claims they have a “gut reaction” to someone “worshipping Satan”, and I also feel suspicious of people like the poster above who “understand[s] a bit more caution from coworkers”. In my experience people who are up-in-arms about Satan are also bigoted towards anyone they see as “idol-worshippers” – like me. Also people who are up-in-arms about Satan are often homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist. I’m obviously not saying that is true of anyone commenting here who is squicked out by Satan.

      Also please don’t bring swastikas into this. Most of the Hindus living outside India whom I know are careful about displaying that particular religious symbol because as members of a religion that is locally a minority, we don’t want to hurt members of a different religious minority, Jewish people. This is not at all the same thing as what is going on with OP.

      1. TransmascJourno*

        As a Jew, I hate when people (almost always non-Jews) try to make this point. We know the difference between the Hindu/OG symbol and the appropriated one—and using this pseudo-analogy harms a lot more people than it helps.

        1. TransmascJourno*

          And @someofmydivisors, I meant that as reifying what you said—I’m truly sorry you have to deal with this stuff.

          1. TransmascJourno*

            (i.e., by “non-Jews, I meant mainly practicing/cultural/secular Christians.)

    37. A Feast of Fools*

      “Fair or not, certain things have stigmas in society…”

      Everybody get back in the closet! We’re making people with narrow worldviews uncomfortable!

    38. A Feast of Fools*

      So you have a co-worker like the OP, someone you know and presumably have no problems with and most likely respect, and you find out they belong to TST and you. . . instantly hate / revile / fear them?

      And you just stop there without, oh, looking up the org, or talking to your co-worker, or checking your internal biases? (“I thought they were a good person but they WORSHIP SATAN!” “I’ve never actually seen them eat any babies but — my god! — they belong to an organization with ‘Satan’ in the name! There’s no other option except that they’re evil!”)

  15. wondermint*

    TST is rad. And after last night’s leak by Politico they’re worth looking into and supporting.

    1. gyratory_circus*

      I’ve been considering joining them for a while and I think this is what’s finally giving me the push I needed.

      1. BigTenProfessor*

        There are some pretty nasty allegations out there against the TST (that have nothing to do with the word “Satan), so you may want to google around before doing so. Former members report anti-semitism, racism, etc. from the leadership.

        1. Goose*

          Not seeing anything much different than other religions, unless you have specific sources (please edelete if totally derailing)

          1. time_ebbs*

            There was some coverage in 2018 about their decision to hire a lawyer who had mostly done work for Alt-Right clients & some concerns raised about antisemitism:
            * https://www.vox.com/2018/8/9/17669894/satanic-temple-alt-right-marc-randazza-lawyer-lucien-greaves
            * https://jezebel.com/the-satanic-temple-is-engulfed-in-a-civil-war-over-a-de-1828130997
            * https://www.thecut.com/2018/08/the-satanic-temple-drama-explained.html

            Also a bit of coverage from 2021 on them using a lawsuit to shutdown dissenting members from posting criticism of TST via the a state chapter Facebook page they had control of: https://www.newsweek.com/orgies-harassment-fraud-satanic-temple-rocked-accusations-lawsuit-1644042

            I think BigTenProfessor’s point of doing research before joining an organization or community is valid. Also, regardless of any (legitimate or perceived) issues that TST has, the OP shouldn’t be targeted at work for harassment over it.

          2. Duck*

            TST faced a lot of criticism in 2018 bc they hired Marc Randazza as an attorney (he is known for representing several high-profile alt-right clients including the founder of The Daily Stormer). This led to a host of allegations of antisemitism and racism coming out at various levels of leadership, especially since membership of TST skews real lily white.

            Other than that there are also cases where the allegations actually stem from confusion with the much older LaVeyan Church of Satan, which have been accused of more serious things (they were involved in eugenics and have a history of covering up sexual assault).

            1. Splendid Colors*

              Wait, Popehat? Yeah, he is big on supporting even free speech nobody wants to hear. Which means you may share a law firm with people you wouldn’t want to be in the same room with. It also means he isn’t going to worry about his other clients bailing on him if he defends TST.

              1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

                Point of clarification, Randazza is an occasional guest poster/contributer, as I understand it. Ken White is usually the individual most associated with the Popehat brand.

                Regardless, having read some of Randazza’s briefs and arguments, I’d say that means they’re good at finding effective and competent counsel – I’d no more fault them for that then I would have a person who was able to afford and hire Johnny Cochran.

        2. Nameless in Customer Service*

          A quick Google turned up a Newsweek article that was long on salacious accusations and short on details and proof, and a whole bunch of court cases which made me want to cheer for the TST. But people’s Googlings may vary.

        3. Dino*

          I know this is true about the Church of Satan but hadn’t heard anything about it connected to TST, a separate organization. Interesting.

        4. ElizabethJane*

          Are you thinking of TST or CoS? Because from what I’ve been able to find the Church of Satan does actually have some real problems with anti-semitism, racism, etc.

        5. Former Hominid*

          You are either thinking of a common smear, or more charitably have confused the TST with the COS or Church of Satan which is the one with an ugly history.

      1. Rolly*

        We should not discriminate against people based on their religion at work.

        But in my private life – F YEAH I look down on certain religions and the people who follow them. Stay away from me please. And, I hope, stay out of public life (though they won’t, grrrrrr).

        1. Minimal Pear*

          You want people from religions you disapprove of to stay out of public life entirely? Yikes.

        2. TransmascJourno*

          Rolly, I have no idea why you think a sentiment like this bears repeating. This is bigotry, plain and simple.

        3. Lenora Rose*

          You keep sounding proud of this. It isn’t a good look.

          More, you seem to think it’s okay to be that way even when you turn out to be wildly wrong about the *facts* because your *gut feeling* was to be judgemental.

          I also feel deep doubt that anyone with this degree of proud discrimination doesn’t let it show in professional work contexts. People can be pretty blatant in their “I am treating you politely because this is Work but I am Judging you.”

      2. Stay-at-Homesteader*

        I was wondering. Enjoying the safe space that is AAM right now, though, because the rest of the internet is too horrifying and sad.

        1. Splendid Colors*

          I look down on *beliefs* that prohibit other people from enjoying full equality. Unfortunately, some religions hold these beliefs quite strongly.

    2. Allornone*

      As I was reading this column, a good friend of mine just messaged me saying she was joining TST in response to last night’s leak. She’s never mentioned TST before, but they are apparently taking some serious action with this that she wants in on.

      Very, very good timing.

  16. Critical Rolls*

    And here we have exactly the kind of discriminatory nonsense TST was founded to highlight and combat! The irony! The facepalm of it all!

    Sorry your coworkers are being jerks. More sorry about the boss.

  17. ghost librarian*

    I’m also a TST member. It is a federally recognized religion (assuming you’re in the US) as of 2019 so you should get all the same legal protections as other religions. Make sure that your HR department has that info so they know what protections you’re entitled to!

    1. Properlike*

      I’m trying to picture giving this as my religious preference at any of the many Catholic-controlled hospitals in the area. I think I like it, but will need time for the pithy and/or educational responses.

      1. Pointy's in the North Tower*

        I did! The hospital chaplain came around, stuttered when I said I was TST, and then asked if I wanted coffee. I was actually being discharged and listening to my discharge instructions so I wasn’t paying attention to him.

        My sister gleefully told me afterward I must have shocked the chaplain because “his face just went ‘OHHHHH’ when you said you were Temple of Satan.”

  18. movingonup*

    The comment about your dead pet being used for sacrificial purposes! I would have burst out in tears (I’m still not over my dog dying in 2020). I could mayyyyybe see a joke or two at a lunch or team meeting (“Hey, OP, can your people curse our horrible client for us?!”) if and only if you all have a very relaxed and close rapport, but then it’d be dropped and forgotten. For them to go on and on about this is SO odd!

    Many, many fingers crossed that you HR will handle this swiftly and professionally. Your coworkers and boss are errible.

    1. No pitchforks*

      Yeah, that pet comment is so awful. Definitely give that example to HR. These coworkers are being terrible!

    2. Rigamaroll*

      I completely agree- my heart broke for OP there!
      I admit I was not versed in their principles or beliefs, but I would never act that way towards someone after finding that out. I just went and read about the organization and tbh it sounds great!

      OP – I hope Alison’s advice is helpful and that HR is able to help. Your manager and coworkers are so out of line! I have no other advice besides what Alison and other posters have said- but I do hope we get a positive update soon!

    3. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

      The pet thing is a bridge way too far. I lost my cat (all black, huge, basically the epitome of a witch’s cat), in February. I would cry and might punch. He was such a good boy. He loved kittens, was good with kids and the elderly, and even visited a nearby elder care home. His favorite thing was to jump up and curl on my chest with his face an inch from my own.

      That said I was under the impression that most TST members are actually just aggressive atheists? I might tell you, “hey, do what religious activities you want, or not. And I also want you to know that faith can be a struggle for me as an out LGBT Christian. So I’d appreciate if you don’t use terms like “imaginary sky God,” or say what others believe isn’t real. I know what you believe (or not!) is important too, if you need a witness to the harassment. Let’s just both respect each other.”

      I don’t know why, but the type of atheists to go around making fun of religion really rubs me the wrong way and seems to invalidate the work on myself and my faith community to accept LGBT people. I’m Lutheran, it was a whole controversy in 2009-2011 or so.

      1. Anonymouse*

        That said I was under the impression that most TST members are actually just aggressive atheists? I might tell you, “hey, do what religious activities you want, or not. And I also want you to know that faith can be a struggle for me as an out LGBT Christian. So I’d appreciate if you don’t use terms like “imaginary sky God,” or say what others believe isn’t real. I know what you believe (or not!) is important too, if you need a witness to the harassment. Let’s just both respect each other.”

        Even this reaction is …not great. In fact it is pretty bad. The fact that you would feel the need to defend yourself like this from someone who, up until this point had made no reference to religion at all in any way and has made no such aggressive overtures or statements is…odd at best. You’re still making a Big Deal about their religion being “different” even if it isn’t a reaction as hostile as others in the workplace are showing.

        I can’t know for sure how OP wants to be treated but my guess would be…no different than before anyone found out their religious affiliation. OP has not changed their behavior; those around them have.

        1. LittleDoctor*

          Yeah that would be a literally unhinged reaction, ESPECIALLY coming from someone who’s a religious majority and the religious oppressor class in America.

        2. quill*

          Yeah, it’s quite a bit. I understand that if you manage to carve an accepting space into christianity as a queer person and are doing the work to make the religion less oppressive, it can be an even more emotional issue than usual. But you have gotta learn NOT to bring up your faith preemptively at the first sign that someone might not share it, or presume that someone being non-religious is doing it at you. Especially someone who belongs to a religion that exists to point out how many things are inequitable in a christian majority country like the US.

      2. Hannah Lee*

        Whether or not individual people affiliated with one religion or another happen to be jerks should have zero to do with whether employees are subjected to harassment or discrimination in the workplace on the basis of their religion.

        I’ve met jerks, aggressive and otherwise, of all different religious and non-religious stripes.

      3. MsM*

        I think the fact nobody was even remotely aware of OP’s affiliation prior to this incident speaks to how unnecessary and presumptive even a “just don’t be aggressive about it, okay?” lecture would be under the circumstances.

        1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

          I guess what I mean is that I really hold to the idea that religion is a personal choice, and what I’m trying to get across is “don’t yuck my yum, I wouldn’t for yours.” I would probably have that conversation if they were making fun of religion.

          My friend is a lifelong atheist/agnostic (he thinks there may be something, but if there is, he doesn’t care what it might say). It’s always interesting to pose moral questions with each other, because we come to the same conclusions for very different reasons. But I don’t use religion to harangue him, and he doesn’t make fun of me for believing in something I can’t see.

          There’s an Old Testament era thinker who said “if you see someone suffering, ask God to help them. But in the meantime, act as if there is no God and say “I will help you.”” I mean, I can multitask!

          1. HannahS*

            To consider, when you’re speaking about Jews, it’s nicer to refer to us as Jews, rather than applying Christian terms (Old Testament) to us.

            1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

              My bad. Couldn’t remember if it was a rabbi, or some other authority. Need more coffee.

              1. HannahS*

                Fair! I think it’s a folk tale, TBH. Not sure if it’s actually in the Talmud, but my instinct is not.

                1. The Editor-In-Chief*

                  “There is a famous story told in Chassidic literature that addresses this very question. The Master teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

                  One clever student asks “What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?”

                  The Master responds “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all — the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs and act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that god commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.”

                  “This means,” the Master continued “that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say ‘I will help you.’”

                  Source: Tales of Hasidim, Vol. 2, by Martin Buber

          2. Batgirl*

            They’re not yucking your yum; they are saying it is acceptable to venerate Satan if you like the cut of his jib. Not all versions of Satan are the same as the one in the Christian religion. Often he’s simply an alternative option to obedience. They’re defending the right of people to make up their own minds about even the most controversial of figures. The only “yum” they are yucking is a centrist Christian view which assumes a right to determine the acceptable beliefs of others. A genuine personal and private belief in God and Christ is not being mocked, merely the opinion that it should be proselytised to everyone as the standard religion. They are pointing out that it’s rude to rub (any) religion in others’ faces, (by doing the same thing for Satanism, admittedly).

      4. Scarlet2*

        But why would you talk to someone like that if they haven’t mentioned religion to you at all? LW hasn’t spoken about religion, their coworkers are now treating LW differently based on knowing their religious affiliation, not because of anything they said or did…

      5. Astronomical Feline*

        We make fun of religion because it oppresses us.

        Sure, I’ll make not fun of religion at work but that has nothing to do with anyone and more to do with religion not being related to my job. If the topic comes up somehow, all bets are off. You’re just as entitled to present a pro-god view as i am to present a zero god view. Well actually no, because you’re less likely to face various forms of discrimination by being religious than i am for being not.

        1. Littorally*

          Spoken like someone who thinks all religion = mainstream Protestant Christianity.

          1. Astronomical Feline*

            So the places are where there is the death penalty for being atheist aren’t oppressive?

            1. Littorally*

              This just in, minority religions don’t exist in your world, apparently.

              1. Lydia*

                I have very personal feelings about most Christians and I am not inclined to find out if you’re the different kind, because on some level if you’re part of a shitty organization and you keep attending their meetings, you’re suspect. I know for me, and I admit this is really broad and I should be more specific, that someone who is described as religious, my first thought about them is not that they may be Hindu or Buddhist or even Jewish.

                1. Lenora Rose*

                  You might be trying to say that trauma has harmed you enough to make it hard not to associate all Christians with your abusers,
                  … but it also comes across as bragging that you jump to conclusions.

            2. Observer*

              I’m not sure I understand your claim. It’s ok to make fun of all religion because there are places in the world where being an atheist is death penalty offense. How exactly does that work? What exactly is the logic in acting as though all religions and all religious believers have the exact same set of rules?

              Coming on top of a claim that YOU don’t discriminate is kind of funny and very ironic.

            3. Dinwar*

              There are places in the world where witchcraft is punishable by death. Doesn’t mean I go around mocking Taoists or Hindus.

              I used to be an atheist (and a Roman Catholic; I’ve had some weird experiences), so I get where you’re coming from. But you’re still wrong. The issue people are having is that you are lumping all religions into one group–even those of us who suffer the same discrimination as you do–and blame them for the oppression you see. That’s the sort of attitude, and lack of clarity in thinking, that gives atheism a bad name. Abuse does not negate use. If you don’t believe in gods, that’s one thing; to fail to recognize that basic fallacy is a whole other issue.

          2. Pool Lounger*

            Yes, as a Buddhist I get so sick of religion=god and religion=western religion. There are Buddhists and Hindus are don’t believe in god. Buddhists don’t believe in a soul. I still have a strong faith and ritual practice. It’s still religion.

      6. Lunar Caustic*

        Acting like being a member of the most privileged religion in the country is comparable to the struggles of being harassed by that same religion is the opposite of respect. You can ask for respect when you have actually learned to give it in return.

        1. LittleDoctor*

          Literally. Speaking as a racialized person, that would genuinely be like if someone gave an “I’m cool with you being a person of colour, but I’ve experienced discrimination for being white, don’t be anti-white.”

      7. NeedRain47*

        The OP didn’t do any of that. They’re asking for a very minimal level of respect. Somehow you’ve made it about you instead.

      8. Dust Bunny*

        I wrote but then deleted an irritated and overly-snarky response but apparently I wasn’t the only one who was put off.

        “seems to invalidate the work on myself and my faith community to accept LGBT people.”

        Sorry, do y’all want a medal for making a bit of progress toward treating people as equals despite their sexual orientations that in no way affect, much less harm the rest of us? Kudos for somewhat diminishing a humanitarian gap? A bit of atheist eye-rolling that takes a little wind out of some sails isn’t on par with systemic discrimination.

        I’m an atheist who doesn’t like those atheists, either, but this comment feels an awful lot like it still expects [Christians; mainstream religions] to take precedence and the rest of us to work around them and not make them feel uncomfortable rather than claim equal footing and ask them to level up, which is very much the problem here.

        That said: If you joke to me about animal sacrifice you will 110% see my bad side.

      9. Eldritch Office Worker*

        “the type of atheists to go around making fun of religion really rubs me the wrong way and seems to invalidate the work on myself and my faith community to accept LGBT people”

        Oof. You’re a long time and frequent commenter on this site and I generally respect you a lot, but this….is not it. If someone being a snarky atheist can invalidate your ‘work’ to treat people with basic human decency in your community, the issue is not the snarky atheist.

        1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

          I’m queer. It was a very long struggle to find my place in religion both because of others and myself. And even in LGBT spaces, it’s hard to find a way to discuss religion without getting dogpiled on as brainwashed or a bad person, by people who don’t believe.

          It’s not about invalidating my community work. It’s about really, respecting my own journey. Like you wouldn’t tell someone who was trying to run a marathon that they’ll never make it, don’t tell me my faith is just an imagination. I work on it every day.

          1. LavenderStingray*

            I’m a queer Christian too and I want to call you in on this comment. You are starting from a place of assuming someone from a marginalized group is going to attack your faith, even though you’re in the majority (we’re not as queer folks but we are as Christians and it’s important we recognize that). If they make fun of your faith, that’s a valid response but there’s no reason to start by assuming they will.

          2. Velawciraptor*

            The person who wrote this letter has said nothing to give the impression that they’re doing anything like this. You’re projecting a lot of your own stuff onto them. This isn’t really the place to unpack those issues, and it’s not responsive or helpful to the OP.

          3. Nameless in Customer Service*

            When I was a child in church I was taught that queer people were attacking Christianity by existing, because by not forcing ourselves to be heterosexual we were flouting Christianity’s rules. Assuming that someone is attacking Christianity simply by existing as a member of the Satanic Temple, without that person having ever said anything snide to any Christians about their faith not being real, seems not dissimilar to what I was taught, you know.

          4. Twitcher*

            That journey has a long, long way to go it seems. An alarmingly long way. Too long.

            I’m saddened by this. I’ve generally seen you as a good person in the comments here over the past few years, and reading this ignorant and bigoted crap coming from someone I previously respected is depressing and upsetting. I honestly did think better of you. What a letdown.

      10. Pointy's in the North Tower*

        We are not aggressive atheists. Some of us are atheists, but some are Wiccan, pagan, or other religions. We don’t require that people belong to our religion only and actively welcome others who practice differently.

      11. Liz T*

        Please don’t conflate atheism and secularism. They’re not inherently the same.

    4. DogTrainer*

      I agree. I don’t actually think I could stay in a job where people felt comfortable making a joke like that. That’s truly heartbreaking. I cried reading this.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        Yeah, knowing your co-workers are capable of even THINKING something like that, much less saying it out loud to me, would be really awful. It just says so much not good about that person as a person. I’m not sure I’d be able to continue working with them and enjoy it going forward, no matter what protections were put in place.

      2. allathian*

        I agree, even if I didn’t cry. Making fun of other people’s religious beliefs is never okay.

        That said, I don’t think it would be okay to make fun at other people’s expense at work for more frivolous things, either, if you’re ridiculing them for, say, being a sci-fi geek and going to cons, or following a particular sports team, or whatever. I mean, my closest coworker is a huge fan of an English Premier League team. If his team wins the championship, or the Champions League, he’s going to celebrate regardless of what day of the week it is. So if he shows up late on Teams or at the office, he’ll be in for some gentle teasing about it (we have very flexible working hours and his being late wouldn’t affect my work at all). But he owns his fandom and joins in the fun by describing all the goals in (excruciating) detail. But that’s about my limit. The crucial difference here is that I don’t think there’s anything silly about my coworker’s fandom, even if I don’t share it.

    5. FrivYeti*

      If I even *heard* someone make that joke, the resulting incident would absolutely need to be written up by HR.

    6. Pam Poovey*

      My previous dog passed in 2015 and I’d still lose my absolute shit on someone making a comment like that about her.

  19. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    I am a big fan of TST (despite being in the UK). They do a lot of great work protecting women’s healthcare rights and I am all for that.

    You’re being harassed at work for your beliefs – definitely go to HR.

    Similar but many years ago – I wear a few pentagrams as part of my beliefs and at one small firm a person decided that meant I worshipped satan and went screaming to the boss about how I was making him feel unsafe. I was very new to the workplace back then and when my boss told me I had to take anything that ‘hinted at satan’ out of the premises I never wore jewellery to work again there.

    Nowadays yeah, I’d be more ‘up yours’ and state that even if I were worshipping satan it’s not anybodys business at work and furthermore I’m legally allowed to not be harassed for it.

    1. Dwight Schrute*

      Every time you comment you seem like a cooler person to me Keymaster! I always love your perspective

    2. pandop*

      I lucked out in that one day I had a taxi back from the supermarket, whilst wearing a t-shirt that had a print of a pentagram entwined with flowers.
      Fortunately, as it was a local taxi firm I used frequently I knew the driver, and we had a really interesting and respectful conversation about how the pentagram predated both Christianity and Islam.

  20. Mek*

    This sort of thing is, to my understanding, the exact purpose of TST. To point out religious discrimination and fight for equality. Tell your temple what’s up – this fight is literally their reason for existence.

  21. JSRN*

    LW, please take Alison’s advice and go to HR right now. Make sure you have written documentation of everything-times, places, what was said and by whom. This is discrimination and is no different if you were Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. Also, if you can afford it, consider consulting with an employment lawyer. You don’t have to get them involved with your job, but at least have someone who knows about this stuff that can advise you behind the scenes and you can call on if your job doesn’t take you seriously/escalates the harassment.

    I’m an atheist and have been harassed by Christians at work back when I was younger and didn’t know how to handle it properly. It’s so infuriating and I’m sorry this is happening to you. I don’t know why people can’t leave others alone and allow them to be whatever religion (or none) they want to be. How does it affect them if someone else is Satanist or atheist or Wiccan or whatever?

    1. Elizabeth Bennett*

      As a curious student of world religions, I love the scripture from the Quran that translates to “There is no compulsion in religion.” IMO, that is true religious freedom – you are also free ~from~ religion.

      1. AnonForThis*

        My favourite quote in the entire book, and also the thing I immediately pulled out whenever anyone in my former country would tell me to cover my hair or pray.

  22. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Sometimes, it’s best to get out ahead on things that people may see as negative. I wonder what the reaction would be if you told a close colleague before the event “hey, I’m going to be working a TST booth, joined for XYZ reasons, I don’t actually worship Satan.” But right now the best thing is probably to explain that it’s really more of a political group with an aggressive name.

    I’m not a TST member but before COVID I wasn’t strictly monogamous, my wife okayed it. Now because of risk and her working through her own issues, I don’t seek that need elsewhere.

    But I knew I would be having a date at a Pride event, and I have a few LGBT colleagues that liked to attend in our close, stiff field. Privately told them “hey, please don’t gossip if we run into each other and I am with someone else, that arrangement is OK.” and told them in the same way, I wouldn’t spread around what *they* did at Pride.

    1. Astronomical Feline*

      Yeahhhh

      Being poly is the one thing I’m in the closet about at work.

      1. Indubitably Delicious*

        Yep. This. I’m out as queer at work, but not as poly. I feel a little sad every time I reference my “best friend” in conversation, but it’s just easier than “boyfriend” when it’s known that I’m married.

        1. Astronomical Feline*

          I came out to my boss when my girlfriend’s husband got covid and I might have been exposed and was a general nervous wreck. So far there hasn’t been any trouble. I don’t think there will be more because my work is niche and crucial. (They know im trans and have a girlfriend (lgbt relationship) because i kind of marketed myself as a diversity hire because i wasn’t going to sit through interviews being misgendered)

        2. Rainy*

          Mr Rainy and I are happily exclusive, but both of us were non-monogamous when we were younger. I am very out as queer (and am currently back to being the only openly queer person in my office, hilarious for an almost 50yo white lady in a mixed-sex marriage), but I’m not sure if anybody’s done the math and realized that either I started dating at -5 years of age or some of these relationships were concurrent rather than consecutive.

          My workplace has recently started including relationship style in the biannual “safe space” trainings (formerly just LBGTQIA+ info), which are mostly conducted by interns who are, to my aged eyes, approximately 12 years old and very eager to answer whatever questions the olds might have about polyamory. It’s pretty adorable.

          1. Indubitably Delicious*

            Awww your interns sound so sweet! :) Our diversity trainings haven’t caught up to nonmonogamy yet, even the extra ones people can do for enrichment and brownie points.

            I hear you re: being the queer representative from a mixed-gender marriage. I’m not “very” out, just kind of middling-out, and I almost feel like I have to periodically re-come out so people don’t assume I’m just a really excitable ally.

    2. A Feast of Fools*

      I don’t think this is a good comparison, unless OP’s close colleague is also an atheist or belongs to a minority / stigmatized religious group.

      You telling other LGBT colleagues about your not-my-usual-partner is one “in-group” person talking to another “in-group” person. And it doesn’t sound like the OP has any “in-group” co-workers. At least not any that are willing to make themselves known.

  23. me*

    I wonder if the boss knows exactly what TST is and considers the activism an affront to her religion.

    1. quill*

      I mean, it’s possible. It’s also probable that the pervasive cultural Christianity in the US is strong enough in the boss’ mind that they’re having a knee-jerk reaction to the word Satan. Both are pretty shitty.

    2. Biscotti*

      I was coming to say this, until this thread I had no idea and honestly if I heard it prior I probably smiled and moved on thinking the person was a zealot. I think the OP needs to explain what the group is to their work.

      1. Nameless in Customer Service*

        Do you think that if LW gives a presentation to their coworkers about the Satanic Temple that said coworkers will stop harassing LW? Let alone that LW not having done so justifies this harassment? I think the former is vanishingly unlikely and the latter is absolutely incorrect.

  24. Nonprofit Junkie*

    You’re being discriminated and harassed in a way that is illegal that if I worked in HR I would want to know about IMMEDIATELY. Your managers’ and coworkers’ comments are completely unacceptable.

      1. Hei Hei, the Chicken from Moana*

        I am so glad to have learned more about your organization and see so many folks on this site who are members. Thank you all.

  25. NerdyKris*

    “From what I’ve been reading, the name is a device that allows the group to make a political and social point”

    Yup, it’s ironic that LW’s boss is doing exactly the thing the name is supposed to draw out: Freedom of religion for a lot of America only extends to Judeo Christian religions, or even just Christianity. The reason for it being The Satanic Temple is to force them to face the idea that it extends to religions they might find offensive to their beliefs, without causing problems for more established religious minorities.

    1. Zee*

      fyi “Judeo Christian” is not a great term to use. Christians came up with it after the Shoah for political purposes; it is forced teaming at best. Judaism and Christianity are *very* different in almost every respect. Furthermore, Jews have been persecuted as a minority religion by Christians for centuries (see: Spanish Act of Expulsion; Pale of Settlement; pogroms; etc). Please don’t erase that history by lumping us together with our oppressors, thanks.

  26. Llellayena*

    As someone who was once informed that I needed to remove the reference to being treasurer for the Pagan Student Union from my resume, I can understand how annoying this is. Definitely go to HR with a report of religious discrimination. I know your religion does not actually worship satan but even if it did, this is NOT RIGHT. It wasn’t a problem before they knew and nothing about how you interact with them has changed, all the change has been how they react to you. It’s possibly similar to how people’s attitudes change when they find out someone doesn’t just “not drink” but is an alcoholic in recovery. Suddenly it’s A PROBLEM not just a quirk. Arg.

    Oh, and if you suddenly have a bad review or a denied raise/promotion, bring in bigger (legal) guns…

  27. HR Ninja*

    I’m sorry this is happening.

    Yes, please go to HR. (Fingers crossed they’ll be objective and prompt in handling this situation). I would go as far as recommending polishing up your resume, as well.

    “Tell me why you left your last job?”

    “A hostile work environment was created after some personal information was discovered. I won’t go into details, but I felt unsafe and singled out by my boss and coworkers.”

    1. Temperance*

      I definitely wouldn’t say that in an interview. It might flag you as a liability.

      1. Elizabeth Bennett*

        Yeah, that screams “drama queen” to me. I mean, it’s true, but without the Netflix short series to watch for background info, I’d be very worried about misperceptions and crying “victim!”

        1. HR Ninja*

          Agree to disagree

          “I just needed a change of scenery” seems really dismissive to how she’s being treated. She is being victimized

          1. Temperance*

            Sure, and I’m not disputing that whatsoever. But she doesn’t need to tell interviewers this about herself, because it will have a negative impact on her candidacy.

          2. Metadata minion*

            I understand how that would feel crappy to have to say rather than being honest about why you’re actually leaving, but the interviewer isn’t going to be bringing a suit on the LW’s behalf against their former employer. The interviewer doesn’t need to know the whole story and one of the standard “just looking for new opportunities” answers is most likely going to be more useful in actually landing a new job.

          3. Observer*

            Which doesn’t really help the OP, though. What people are saying is that if she wants the best shot at getting a job she might be better or not telling the whole story. Just like if the reason she left were that her boss was just an incompetent twit that harassed her because she was making Boss look bad or something like.

            What’s happening should not be happening, but it still doesn’t mean that it is *to the OP’s benefit* to share that with an interviewer.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I think with something like that, you either need to give some level of detail or not mention it at all. Like, “I was being harassed for my religion.” You don’t have to say what your religion is, but if you leave it completely vague and don’t include that there was an actual legal violation, it leaves them wondering if you’re just throwing around buzzwords.

      People throw around “hostile work environment” to mean “I did something awful and people stopped being friends with me” the same way they throw around “HIPAA” to mean “I can cough on you if I want to.”

      1. quill*

        Yes. I default to “I was seeking better pay” or “there was no room to grow” if asked why I left my worst job. Both are technically true, but the main reason I left was that my boss was impossible. Occasionally I will mention how much of a disaster the lab was (because it was) or that I was sick of smelling pig everywhere, but if you lead with “my boss was a raging jerk who discrimnated against me” you just don’t get far in interviews.

        1. HR Ninja*

          I’m not sure how my script equates to “my boss was a raging jerk who discriminated against me”, but okay.

          1. MsM*

            I’m also not sure why OP wouldn’t want to make sure they’re not walking into another situation where they’re going to have to keep their head down. At the very least, “it wasn’t a good fit culturally” followed by a bunch of questions about the new potential employer’s commitment to DEI would seem warranted.

          2. quill*

            This is more of a thread-the-needle thing. Some interviewers will be receptive to your script, but for me the general worry is that they will not. So I tend to avoid disclosure. Because I need the job.

            It’s 100% a “know your audience” thing. As well as knowing how plausible it sounds for you to have left that job under however much you want to disclose of the situation.

            1. HR Ninja*

              I’m trying to wrap my brain around this because I do agree with some of the sentiment.

              I’ve been in a situation where I really needed job. Like, legitimately worrying about rent. However, like you said, if this were me I wouldn’t want to walk into a similar situation. Of course vetting a future employer is as important as vetting a future employee, but as the OP stated, the change in behavior seemed to do a complete 180 (good professional relationship with boss, getting along really well with cubicle-mate), so we can’t always foresee these things.

            2. HR Ninja*

              I’m trying to wrap my brain around this because I do agree with some of the sentiment.

              I’ve been in a situation where I really needed job. Like, legitimately worrying about rent. However, like you said, if this were me I wouldn’t want to walk into a similar situation. Of course vetting a future employer is as important as vetting a future employee, but as the OP stated, the change in behavior seemed to do a complete 180 (good professional relationship with boss, getting along really well with cubicle-mate), so we can’t always foresee these things.

              Also, any interviewer who hears, “It was a hostile working environment” and automatically jumps to “this person is a drama queen” without checking with the previous employer about the situation is a sign that I wouldn’t want to work there anyway

              1. RussianInTexas*

                What can they possibly check with the previous employee about the situation? What can the previous employee possibly say? “Yes, we discriminated”? Or “No idea what this person is talking about”?
                The first will never happen, and the second will not be good at all for the candidate.

              2. RussianInTexas*

                In addition, the most likely scenario is for the LW to look and interview for the new job while she is employed, because very few of us can afford to quit first and then find another job. You really don’t want your new potential employer to contact your current employer and alert them to the fact you are looking for another job.

          3. Lydia*

            Because as neutral as the OP is in her response, people will fill in the blanks the way they want, intentionally or not.

            1. HR Ninja*

              If they want to have that reflect poorly on her, then fingers crossed for a better opportunity

    3. MeepMeep02*

      No no no – “I left my last job because I was discriminated against based on my religion. My boss and coworkers created a hostile work environment once they discovered my religious affiliation.”

  28. bunniferous*

    It’s a tenet of MY OWN faith that you do not harass people of other belief systems. Altho I am sure the OP and I would have very little common ground in general I would not only not mind sharing an office with them but would NOT be treating them this way. It’s not rocket science, people, treat others the way you would want them to treat you. Yes, OP, you need to go to HR with this. And your boss? I can’t even.

  29. Jessica Fletcher*

    Document, document, document! Every time something happens.

    I hope HR helps!

  30. The Other Evil HR Lady*

    HR needs to, and would probably want to know what’s happening, because a good lawyer would make their life miserable with an EEOC complaint. So, document document document every single slight, everything that led up to this point, whether your supervisor was good and communicative up until she found out you belonged to TST, because it all matters. Show it to HR (but don’t wait to compile it before talking to them; talk to them NOW) – and, like others have said, reach out to your peeps at TST – and see what all they say. If HR doesn’t put the kibosh on this ASAP, contact your local ACLU or an attorney so you can start an EEOC complaint. I don’t want to read a case brief regarding an employer giving thousands to an employee to settle an EEOC case, but if that’s what it takes…

    In the end, though, you might have to switch jobs anyway – unless your boss leaves the company – because I don’t think she’ll ever treat you decently again. I hope I’m wrong…

  31. VanLH*

    OP: Please update us when you know what the status is after you make your report to HR.

    1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      Yes please!! I am hoping you come back and say that HR put the kibosh on Boss and the office gossips. Pagan here who tends to be low key quite about it unless someone specifically asks. Used to have a Very Catholic Boss, Very Catholic Coworker, and a Very Christian (I’m guessing Baptist) Coworker. When VCC’s realized I was Pagan I got lots of side eye and snide comments. Including very evasive questions even after I had politely tried shutting down conversations. VCB would constantly knit pick and complain about how I did anything but would type satisfactory on all my employee reviews. Big disconnect between how he spoke to me about my work and what he reported to HR. Pretty sure that was deliberate incase I ever complained to HR about his behavior. Transferred to a different team in same company. New Boss very firmly shut down the VCC’s next time they tried to start their bs.

  32. fish*

    OP, just a temperature check for you: at my stuffy professional workplace, the reactions to finding out a coworker was a Satanist would range from polite disinterest to people (like me) thinking it’s rad.

    There may be many places like your workplace, but it’s not the only way.

  33. Astronomical Feline*

    I’m a tst member, and while i never really came out… i am currently wearing a baphomet graphic t. (Baphomet with 5 cats captioned “baphocats” from hot topic)

    I’ve never gotten any flak from it, although i also work in computer engineering. So we’re all a little weird. The only reason i got it was when another coworker wore a polo declaring his religious affiliation so i figured i could.

    Another resource: ffrf freedom from religion foundation

    As for the tst in house problems… I’ve looked into them and couldn’t find anything credible beyond a lawsuit filed in Washington about former members still using the name. It looked like a very messy break up, but none of my other atheist groups have mentioned it, and they have interviewed lucian greaves. So sure I’m a little biased, but I’m still claiming tst membership because at least i can claim religious freedom for my bodily autonomy if i need to.

  34. rage criers unite*

    religious discrimination is religious discrimination regardless of what your religion is.

    This post makes me so annoyed!! How frustrating that you’re forced to address this, and that your workplace is being so unprofessional – Your manager especially – “i don’t know, do we?” seriously?? what kind of passive aggressive crap is that?!

    I hope Your HR department absolutely takes this seriously! Looking forward to your update!

  35. HR Lady*

    When you go to HR please explain how you did in your letter. Maybe even include the article Alison linked. Your HR person will thank you and will speed up the investigation. I was reading this thinking how in the world would I start this investigation as HR. But once I saw what TST is about it saved me a lot of research and time and would make the investigation a lot quicker.

    1. Annie Mouse*

      Why would you need to research the beliefs of the religion to stop other employees from harassing LW?

      1. Jackalope*

        My guess was that she wanted to research what TST is? If you’re completely unfamiliar with it then you might not even know if it’s a religion or not, which would potentially change the HR response. Not that HR wouldn’t need to take action even if TST were NOT a religion, but it might involve different steps & documentation if it weren’t.

    2. Rolly*

      “I was reading this thinking how in the world would I start this investigation as HR.”

      You don’t need to do much, if any, research. It’s obviously religious discrimination.

    3. Ally McBeal*

      People who are already harassing OP – ILLEGALLY – out of their own ignorance and bigotry are unlikely to be motivated to learn about what the TST actually is/stands for. And HR doesn’t need to research or understand TST to know that harassment/discrimination on the basis of religion is illegal.

    4. Autumnheart*

      As HR, you’d talk to the legal team hopefully employed by your company, and the second they told you, “Holy shit! That’s textbook religious discrimination and a hostile work environment!” you would then respond as you normally would to textbook cases of same.

  36. Nbbyd35*

    You should clarify your organization with people. What AAM mentioned at the end, I didn’t know what the group is about and also judged it based on the name itself. I think that will certainly help people understand things.

    1. EL*

      It is not LW’s job to educate other people on what their religious beliefs are or are not. Nor is understanding said beliefs necessary for others to respect them (not to mention respecting federal anti-discrimination law).

    2. Purple Cat*

      Hmm, I actually disagree. The workplace shouldn’t be discriminating – full stop. It doesn’t matter that LW’s religion isn’t really what the coworkers think it is.