The far right is again shaking up life for people in Portland—this time causing a local congregation of Satanists to sever ties with its national leadership headquartered in Salem, Mass. over a Twitter dispute.
Satanic Portland withdrew this week from The Satanic Temple, a national network of Satanist congregations across the country. Satanism is a non-theistic religion (like Buddhism) that celebrates the literary tradition of Satan as a symbol of autonomy, anti-authoritarianism and "rational inquiry."
Local chapters have been splintering from the executive leadership over the decision to sue Twitter and hire Marc Randazza, a lawyer who has worked for conspiracy-promoting Alex Jones, alt-right social media icon Mike Cernovich, and neo-Nazi site, the Daily Stormer. Jezebel first reported the "civil war" waging between Satanists who support the lawsuit and those who want nothing to do with Randazza.
"We sincerely appreciate the support we've received from our local community and while we are thankful for the greater community we have come to know through The Satanic Temple, we have lost all confidence in National Council's ability to adequately address our concerns.," Satanic Portland announced in a Facebook post on Aug. 15.
Satanic Portland says its decision comes after two years of being frustrated with the national organization's "lack of accountability and formal organizational structure." But the group also mentioned far-right groups in its parting post, which suggests the decision to hire Randazza likely contributed to the split.
"We don't believe we should be allying ourselves with, or fundraising for, those condoning the beliefs of Neo-Nazis or their sympathizers by giving them a platform," the post said. "We cannot stand idly by while Patriot Prayer, Proud Boys, and other white supremacist groups march in our city."