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A Satanic Guide to Effective Protests

Atticus is a senior in college and has been a Satanist for four years. He plans on attending law school and specializing in public policy.

Protesting is an important practice for The Satanic Temple, and frankly, any group that seeks justice. Through practicing our First Amendment rights, we are able to invoke change or bring awareness to issues we believe need to be corrected. Tangible policy changes can come from effective protests and demonstrations.

However, there are also certain risks that protesters need to be aware of as they conduct their civil rights. This list will serve as a guide to protesting from a Satanic point of view. This list comes from someone who has participated in and organized a number of different protests and movements that came with varying degrees of success.

Satanic sign from a rally against Texas SB 8 reading "let's raise some hell"

Satanic sign from a rally against Texas SB 8 reading "let's raise some hell"

1. Protest Is an Act of Free Speech

Protesting is a right that all citizens share and it should be respected by all citizens. No matter how offensive someone’s rhetoric may be, we should all be able to say it. Free speech does not excuse someone of consequences, but all protesters should honor the rights of others as should others honor their rights.

2. A Clearly Articulated Position

Have a clearly articulated position with tenable demands and a practical, well-defined statement for what constitutes achieving your goals.

This rule is incredibly important to have an effective protest. When you think about a protest that isn’t effective, you may probably look at examples of videos on YouTube. If you are unable to articulate why you are demonstrating or the change that you want, then you are adding no value to the protest.

Calling for a general change without giving an outline of what you want to happen will not lead to desirable outcomes.

3. A Legitimate Theory of Change

3. Effective protest is founded on a legitimate theory of change that is exemplified by the structure:

IF I do X, THEN Y will happen BECAUSE of Z.

This rule lays out perfectly exactly the mindset that we should go into when we are protesting. The point of a protest is to enact change, therefore, it is only appropriate that we treat the protest with these logical steps.

4. Principle, Not Identity Politics

Protest must be based on a principle as opposed to identity politics. Everyone benefits from the pursuit of well-conceived principles.

The purpose of this rule is to promote focusing on principles themselves. Principles will always form a sturdier foundation rather than identity politics. Principles can be articulated much more clearly, and they are more structurally sound when they are criticized. The thought process around protesting and seeking justice should be to improve the lives of everyone.

5. Stay Focused on Specific Issues

Stay focused on specific issues and do not adopt issues that you think are analogously related.

This rule is important to stay on track. Find something specific that you want changed and stick with it. The best way for your message to be clear is to stick to a specific issue. The more that we begin adopting different issues in our protest, the less focused it will become. An unfocused protest will lead to an unclear message, which will make bringing change difficult.

6. Stand for Issues and Principles

Stand for issues and principles—do not reflexively support the entire agenda of parties, organizations, or individuals.

A common issue that groups run into is wholeheartedly supporting the entire agenda of parties, organizations, and individuals. While some individuals may be important for the movement, they shouldn't be venerated, or considered an idol.

All people are fallible, including organizations, and that’s why it’s important to think critically about who is on your side while protesting. You can work with them, but just because they agree with you on one issue, doesn’t mean that we should abandon all fair criticism we could have.

7. Facts Over Narrative

Do not allow narratives to prevail over facts. This rule calls you to invoke the fifth tenet. The fifth tenet reads “Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.”

It is guaranteed that protests and demonstrations are going to be subject to scrutiny, and for fair reason. We should never base our principles and issues we want to change based on narrative instead of facts.

The best way to tackle any policy issue is to always remain as factual as possible when coming to any kind of conclusion. You must always be ready to prove why your solution will benefit everyone.

8. Quality Control of Outside Actors

Restrict the movement of people who believe in the principles of your movement.

Effective protests should always have some kind of quality control. Outside actors who join in on protests for dubious reasons can hijack your movement and message. If people are not on the same page for your protest, they should not be in your group.

For a message to be effective, it needs to be sound and consistent. Bad actors insert themselves into different movements to take advantage of the chaos that can ensue during large-scale protests. These bad actors detract from your credibility and shift the focus away from your message.

9. Respect the Rights of Others

If your protest calls for the deprivation of rights and liberties of others, intimidates others, harasses or threatens others, or silences others, then you are doing it wrong. This invokes the fourth tenet. The fourth tenet reads:

“The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own.”

The fourth tenet is a sincerely held set of beliefs, and it’s also important to honor it while protesting. Our goal when enacting change is to increase freedom and the benefit of society. To call upon stripping the rights and liberties of others is to be in direct contradiction with our beliefs.

10. Violence Is Never Justifiable

Engaging in, promoting, inciting, and/or celebrating physical violence that deliberately targets civilians is never justifiable.

Things can get heated at protests, and it is always important to remain peaceful. When a protest becomes violent, it legally opens the doors for the government to shut down your rights to protest. Violence against other fellow civilians never leads to any productivity towards reaching change.

Instead, it will create more violence, more harm, and even death. From 2020 to now we saw the direct product of violence during protests and just the kind of damage it brings to communities and the movement.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.