SPRING, Texas (Christian Examiner) – The first "Greater Church of Lucifer" will open later this month in a Houston suburb and just in time for Halloween, organizers of the venture have said.
According to organizer "Jacob No," a nom du guerre, the church will open in an aged house in Old Town Spring to offer people a different kind of "church experience."
"We do not have a preacher. We do not have somebody saying this is the way it has to be, that you have to live this way," No told Houston's KPRC, but without facing the camera. "We're giving a platform for people to explore themselves with ultimate freedom, to be able to look in the mirror and say I understand you better."
The church insists it is not a Satanist church – that is, a church that worships Satan – because they are imitating, rather than worshipping Lucifer, the traditional name ascribed to the angel that rebelled against God and took a third of the angels with him.
In the Bible, the name "Lucifer" does not appear. Instead, it is a Latinized name derived from the Hebrew word helel, which is translated "shining one" or "morning star." Both Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 speak of the fall of a seemingly angelic being, though the passages are addressed to the King of Babylon and King of Tyre, respectively.
While scholars debate whether the passages are descriptions of the power behind the thrones of the two kings, portions of the accounts reference events and times outside of the life of either king. What is clear is that the being described rebelled against God in pride, focused on his own beauty and power through violence. God punished the rebellion.
"So I threw you to the earth; I made you a spectacle before kings," Ezekiel 28: 17 reads. Isaiah 14:12 reads:
"How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!"
According to the church's website, "The Greater Church of Lucifer is only a 'church' as a play on words. We are a gathering of like souls who seek to understand and live within the framework of Luciferianism as we understand it."
The church's symbolism, however, is decidedly Satanic. The church features figures of horned creatures, fallen angels and a Baphomet, a statue of a winged creature with hooves, the head of a goat and long horns. The statue is nearly identical to the statue placed in Detroit by the Satanic Temple* recently. Organizers of that group initially tried to place the statue next to monuments of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of Oklahoma and Arkansas state capitols.
Still, the Luciferians insist they are not worshipping God's adversary, Satan.
"A Luciferian would find it insulting to bow before any perceived deity," co-founder Michael Ford told KPRC, this time on camera. "We don't believe as a basis in the existence of a deity that wants us to worship it."
*CORRECTION: This article, when first published contained a reference to the Church of Satan's placement of a statue in Detriot. It was the Satanic Temple that placed the statue. The story has been corrected.