Satanic Temple designated as church, given tax-exempt status by IRS: 'Satanism is here to stay'

The Satanic Temple is now considered a church by the Internal Revenue Service and can apply for faith-based grants.

The "non-theistic" Salem-Mass.-based Satanic organization said it was "pleased" Thursday to receive the tax-exempt status after years of advocating for churches to lose theirs. The temple was founded to react to and restrict Christianity in public life and claims it does not worship the devil, as depicted in the Bible, but advocates for the separation of church and state.

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“Satanism is here to stay,” Lucien Greaves, the spokesman for the Satanic Temple, said in a statement, adding the status should "lay to rest any suspicion that we don't meet the qualifications of a true religious organization."

Greaves says the Satanic Temple is now the only federally recognized international religious satanic organization.

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The lRS code classifies it as a "church or a convention or association of churches," and under the "cause area" on the website, it is listed as "Christian." The group says the designation will help in religious discrimination legal cases.

The Satanic Temple started “After School Satan” clubs in reaction to Christian after-school programs like the Good News club. Last year, it placed a statue of the goat-headed creature Baphomet at the Arkansas State Capitol to call for the removal of a Ten Commandments monument.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.