The national coordinator of Canada's Satanic temple says, "It's not just some arbitrary, 'Let's just piss everybody off and offend everybody.' It's never been about that."
Nicolas Marc told 1310 NEWS' Ottawa Today that the beliefs held by those attending meetings of The Satanic Temple of Ottawa don't follow the stereotypes associated with satanic gatherings or cults portrayed in movies. He said his members don't believe in God or Satan as an actual being, and there's no firey pit of hell.
He sees his group as a "rebellion for the greater good of the community."
Marc explained that in the United States, many Satanic groups fight for the separation of church and state. That's not as big of an issue in Canada, and Canadians enjoy many freedoms, but Marc said there have been groups throughout our country's history which have fought to keep those freedoms, and he sees his group as one that wants to do that work.
"I think the critical inquiry [on important societal issues] and questioning arbitrary authority is an essential part of any society's progress," added Marc.
The national temple leader said he and his fellow Satanists view Satan as the "eternal rebel within all of us -- the critical inquirer."
Over the last two years, crowds at Satanic Temple of Ottawa meetings, held mainly at the Coven Restaurant in the ByWard Market, have grown from three or four people to 30 or 40. The kinds of people that turn up include those dressed completely in black, as well as your average looking Ottawan, and they range in age from 18 to 80 (but Marc says the majority are in their late 30s or early 40s).
Nationwide, Marc believes the temple's following could be around 200. He said there's been stong interest in other cities like Calgary, where they're trying to open an official chapter of the temple.
Marc thinks there's been a boom recently thanks to successful campaigns across North America, where satanic statues have been erected, as well as the release of movies such as 'Hail Satan?'
Listen to the full conversation with Satanic Temple of Ottawa Coordinator Nicolas Marc: