CNN Touts Satanists as Defenders of Religious, Civil, Gay Rights Vs Christians

It may sound like a parody, but CNN Newsroom on Friday actually ran a piece highlighting the plight of Satanists seeking greater acceptance of their beliefs in the predominantly Judeo-Christian U.S. as a preview of this Sunday's edition of This Is Life on CNN.

As This Is Life host Lisa Ling appeared live at the end of the 2:00 p.m. hour of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, Ling ended up recalling the case of a woman who viewed Satanists as defenders of "civil rights" and joined their group as the mother blamed the "imposition of Christian values" at school for her gay son committing suicide.

After recalling that members of the Satanic temple she visited do not literally worship Satan, Ling elaborated:
 

More than anything, they really are kind of a political action group, and they exist to protest the imposition of what they say are Judeo-Christian values on our political system, in our politics, and in public life.
 

She alluded to the current debates over Islam in America as she added:


 

And, interestingly enough, even though this group has chosen Satan as the head of it, a lot of these issues right now, the idea of respecting people of other faiths, especially during this time, a lot of these issues are relevant right now because there's a lot of scrutinization of people who espouse different beliefs, if you know what I'm talking about. So, even though this group is trying to use one symbol, really they're trying to get people in this country to recognize and appreciate people of all different faiths.
 

Host Brooke Baldwin then brought up the woman who joined after her gay son committed suicide:
 

I was watching the mother who lost her son, and, you know, she felt strongly about joining this because of a tenet on civil rights. Tell me more about these voices we'll hear from.
 

Ling recalled the mother blaming the "imposition of Christian values" at school for her son's death:
 

Well, we know that in schools across this country there have been issues with administrations in some cases recognizing kids who might be gay and banning people who are gay from student offices. And this woman that we featured found solace with the Satanic temple because her son committed suicide after a lot of pressure from friends and family members, and she found that the imposition of Christian values into the school system to be one of the reasons that may have pushed her son to take his own life.

The pre-recorded portion of the segment had begun with Ling speaking with a Satanic temple member named Michael who had constructed a "Snake-tivity" symbol using a snake to represent Lucifer as he had sought to display it next to a Nativity Scene outside the Michigan state capitol:
 

LISA LING: As a skilled artist, Michael is now using his craft to stand with the temple and their fight for religious freedom. When the Michigan state capitol put up a Nativity scene during Christmas time, the Satanic temple placed their own symbol of faith on the state capitol lawn. And Michael helped design it.

MICHAEL, SATANIST: The snake itself is to be representative of Lucifer when he chose to lead man to knowledge in the Garden of Eden. We support the idea of Lucifer as a metaphorical figure and his influence on man.
 

Below is a compete transcript of the segment from the Friday, December 11, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:
 

BROOKE BALDWIN: They are artists, they are community activists, and they are members of a Satanic temple. This holiday season, a group of Satanists is fighting major opposition in displaying their beliefs in public, and CNN special correspondent and host of This Is Life, Lisa Ling, takes a closer look. Watch.

LISA LING: As a skilled artist, Michael is now using his craft to stand with the temple and their fight for religious freedom. When the Michigan state capitol put up a Nativity scene during Christmas time, the Satanic temple placed their own symbol of faith on the state capitol lawn. And Michael helped design it.

MICHAEL: The snake itself is to be representative of Lucifer when he chose to lead man to knowledge in the Garden of Eden. We support the idea of Lucifer as a metaphorical figure and his influence on man.

LING: We live in a nation that's predominantly Judeo-Christian, so what's wrong with having a Nativity Scene on the steps of the capitol during Christmas time?

MICHAEL: There's nothing wrong with it, per se, if, you know, other religions can be accepted as well, and have their own displays. There can't be one dominating voice to all the voices.

LING: So "Snake-tivity" alongside Nativity, how is it received?

MICHAEL: A lot of people threaten to destroy it, but, for the most part, I felt like it was met with acceptance and curiosity.

LING: Do you celebrate Christmas?

MICHAEL: I do actually. I personally view it as just more of a time to be with my family.

LING: So you don't think Christmas should go away, even though it is the day that commemorates the birth of Christ?

MICHAEL: No, not at all. I feel like everyone should have the right to celebrate their religion, but every voice has to be heard.

BALDWIN: "Every voice has to be heard." Here she is, Lisa Ling joins me live from Los Angeles. And I was watching a bunch of different, you know, clips, and it's, all these different voices, and I had no idea. So correct me: Satanists, they don't actually worship Satan?

LING: So the Satanic temple is a new religious movement, and the followers are very defiant about the fact that they are, in fact, a religion because followers believe devoutly in the seven tenets of the Satanic temple. But they don't actually believe in the Devil or Satan or any other deity.

More than anything, they really are kind of a political action group, and they exist to protest the imposition of what they say are Judeo-Christian values on our political system, in our politics, and in public life.

And, interestingly enough, even though this group has chosen Satan as the head of it, a lot of these issues right now, the idea of respecting people of other faiths, especially during this time, a lot of these issues are relevant right now because there's a lot of scrutinization of people who espouse different beliefs, if you know what I'm talking about. So, even though this group is trying to use one symbol, really they're trying to get people in this country to recognize and appreciate people of all different faiths.

BALDWIN: I was watching the mother who lost her son, and, you know, she felt strongly about joining this because of a tenant on civil rights. Tell me more about these voices we'll hear from.

LING: Well, we know that in schools across this country there have been issues with administrations in some cases recognizing kids who might be gay and banning people who are gay from student offices. And this woman that we featured found solace with the Satanic temple because her son committed suicide after a lot of pressure from friends and family members, and she found that the imposition of Christian values into the school system to be one of the reasons that may have pushed her son to take his own life.

BALDWIN: Lisa Ling, we will indeed be watching Lisa's special, the belief of Satanists on This Is Life. Her series Sunday, 9:00 Eastern here on CNN. Thank you so much.

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters