Podcasts/Sacred Tension-STUniformed Coalitionaztq1
STUniformed_Coalitionaztq1 SUMMARY KEYWORDS military, people, community, satanism, satanists, satanic, satanist, campaign, coalition, religion, religious, absolutely, constitution, satan, called, midshipman, fight, navy, veterans, institutions SPEAKERS James Payne, Stephen Bradford Long
Stephen Bradford Long 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast this is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long, and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one, go to rock candy recordings.com All right, as always, I have to thank my patrons. They make this show possible and sustainable. So for this week, I have to thank Elizabeth Washburn Nixie Lionheart, Diane Koch Neff, Patricia Moreno, and Scott Armstrong, thank you so much. You are my personal lords and saviors. And by the way, if you wonder where your money goes, it goes to really practical things like keeping my six cat children fed and watered, and vet bills and repairing my rickety old 30 year old car, and things like that. It goes to really basic life stuff, as well as this podcast and future investments for more content creation. So every little bit helps, and you can get extra content every single week by going to patreon.com. Forward slash Steven Bradford Mon. All right. Well, I am really delighted to welcome James Payne to the show. Hello, James. How are you?
James Payne 01:42 Hey, Steven, I'm doing great. I'm happy to be here. The thanks for inviting me to be on.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:48 Of course. My pleasure. Yeah. So we are colleagues in the Satanic Temple. You are one of the ministers and the Satanic Temple. And you are, I believe the director of the uniformed coalition. And did I get that right? Satanic did? That's exactly Okay. Satanic uniformed coalition. So tell us some about who you are and what you do.
James Payne 02:11 Well, I guess we'll start with a little bit about me. I am active duty military. I'm senior enlisted in the US Navy. With that comes qualifying statement of nothing I say is reflective of the DoD or any person that I might work for all those sorts of things. I have to legally qualify it that way. Due to various military regulations. But yeah, I'm active duty military have been in for almost 16 years. I am married, been married for 14 years. Got a kiddo he's nine years old. I have two dog children. Like your six cat children. Here. Yeah,
Stephen Bradford Long 02:53 we love we love and we love animal invasions on this podcast. They happen. They happen regularly.
James Payne 03:01 Yeah, I'm sure it will happen again, you'll hear a very, very large booth. And that is my 90 pound lap dog named Astrid. My other tatertot is just sitting there being lazy.
Stephen Bradford Long 03:12 Nice. Awesome. Yeah. And can you say what? What's the ACA? I know nothing about the about military. The the guild What branch? What? What? Royal House? What? Which in which part of the military? Are you in? Or?
James Payne 03:35 Sure? I'll go into like...
Stephen Bradford Long 03:36 Are you a Harkonen? Are you are you an Atradies? Are you?
James Payne 03:42 Like, think of myself as a bit of a Hufflepuff?
Stephen Bradford Long 03:45 And are you a Ravenclaw? Are you an imperial Stormtrooper? Like what is what do you do?
James Payne 03:52 My next tattoo plan is to get an empire logo with a Rebel Alliance logo in the middle of it the rebels. Oh, nice.
Stephen Bradford Long 03:58 Nice. Nice. Nice. So So can you tell us some about what you do in the military?
James Payne 04:04 Sure thing. Yeah, I can tell you I can tell you a little bit about it. Absolutely. So I'm in the Navy. My, in the Navy, we have a bunch of different titles. I'll keep the simple ones. I am what's called a senior chief petty officer that is a senior enlisted position in the Navy. And basically that means that usually I'm you know, in charge of making sure that a department of sailors has everything they need in order to be able to do their job in order to be able to live their life. I mean, I I take care of sailors basically, is what I do and that senior enlisted position. My profession is I'm a military linguist. I see a variety of languages.
Stephen Bradford Long 04:49 Military, what was it your military Say that again?
James Payne 04:52 A linguist I'm a military linguist. As my profession, it's fun to get that thing done. I needed to say again, sometimes I can't work as well,
Stephen Bradford Long 05:01 or I just don't understand words, well, so who knows? It could it could be one or the other.
James Payne 05:07 But yeah, I mean, I've been doing that for quite a while I did a I did a stint, as we call it a recruit division commander in the Navy, but most people colloquially refer to it as a drill sergeant. Okay, and I know, I know y'all can't see me right now. But I promise I look very imposing in my calendar sweater.
Stephen Bradford Long 05:31 So I think that of all the things that Satanism gets paired with, in both a popular imagination, and in the minds of maybe a lot of Satanists, Satanism and military aren't necessarily one of those things. Right. And so, you know, you when people think of Satanism, they, they think of all kinds of countercultural things, and also, maybe a lot of political movements that might be ideologically opposed to the very concept of military. Right. So what is your journey to Satanism? So you have been in the military, you said for 16 years, is that right?
James Payne 06:18 Yes, it is six years now.
Stephen Bradford Long 06:20 So what drew you to Satanism? What is your path to Satan?
James Payne 06:26 Well, broadly speaking, everyone in the military has a different path to it. That is a military Satanists right. Speaking for myself. I've always been an atheist, I was never raised in like a firm Christian household or anything. My mom would identify a spiritual, my head is Unitarian. So you know, Christian light,
Stephen Bradford Long 06:51 everything unitary, it's everything when they Yeah, the joke is when they when Unitarians pray they always start out with to whom it may concern.
James Payne 07:01 Like not to tell that to my dad,
Stephen Bradford Long 07:03 I say that with great love for Unitarian Universalist, I absolutely love them. And I think they do amazing stuff. So I say that with complete adoration of our, you know, beloved, Unitarian Universalists.
James Payne 07:16 Yeah, they helped start a humanist movement. So I'm totally down with it. Absolutely. For me, though, it was a natural evolution, right? We have to go back to why a lot of people join the military also, though, to really get to the root of the matter. And the fact of the matter is, is that people join the military for every reason you can think of, they join it for, you know, the typical things that people might think of, you know, patriotism and service to their country, and things like that. But people also join it for education, or just to get out of their own town to get out of their bad situation. Right. Everyone joins it for a different reason. For me, I just wanted to get out of my hometown, really. And my view toward the military evolved through the years that I was in it. So what you're referring toward other where people see that counterculture and the military, and it doesn't quite align, I will acknowledge first and foremost that that's still correct. I am in the military. And I am aware that very, that parts of the institution that I am in, do not directly line up with my values, nor the values that most Satanists might hold and what we can speak to that in a little bit, because that's part of the uniform coalition as a whole of what we're trying to do. But for my personal journey into Satanism, it was really just that I always identified with this archetype with this romantic literary character of Satan, not necessarily Satan from the Bible, right, everyone thinks that one in that one specifically, but for me, it was more the, the rebel that was trying to make a real change. Right. And for Satanists, broadly, in the military, that's kind of how we look at it, right? We're in the system, just as Lucifer, the morning star was, you know, in the Celeste fuel system, as it were, but he wanted to make a change. So he was willing to rise up against those arbitrary injustices and fight for it. And that's part of what I would say military satanist do now. First and foremost, we obviously are beholden to the constitution. We take an oath to the Constitution of the United States of America. support and defend, and that doesn't go away. I absolutely take my oath to support and defend the Constitution very seriously. And I will never betray that oath.
Stephen Bradford Long 09:55 I've just been, you know, I've been so sorry to interrupt.
James Payne 09:58 I've Oh, no, you're fine.
Stephen Bradford Long 09:59 I I've been reading a book called The Constitution of knowledge. And it by Jonathan Ross, who is a former, you know, who's kind of an old time gay activist, and but he talks about the formation of the American Constitution and just what a marvel of two true liberalism as it is, and what an extraordinary masterpiece of innovation it is. So I am right there with you. And so not as someone who has made a formal declaration, you know, formal vow to defend the Constitution. But you know, in spirit, I'm right there with you. I think it's an incredible document.
James Payne 10:42 Yeah, absolutely. And something that I always like to point out about it is, you know, the Constitution, if you once you read it, it tells a lot of it always focuses on a lot of what the government can't limit in how the government can't limit the people. Right? It always says the government can't do this. Anytime it says that people can't do this. You end up with things like prohibition. And that didn't go so well.
Stephen Bradford Long 11:08 Right? Yeah, absolutely. So there's something kind of inherently satanic about the American Constitution. In my view,
James Payne 11:17 there's something inherently centered satanic, I would say about the American way of life, the American ideal of patriotism and revolution.
Stephen Bradford Long 11:25 Yeah, I agree. I definitely agree with you on that. And so, yeah, you were drawn to the symbol of Satan as the unbowed will, who fights for the greater good, and that it sounds like that resonated with you and your experience in the military, does it? So you have made this vow to protect the constitution to defend the Constitution? Do you feel like that is ever at odds with how the military operates now is part of that satanic practice in the military, then? Is there a conflict between where the military is right now and what the Constitution says it should be?
James Payne 12:14 I don't believe so. Okay, and I'll elaborate on why. That's because our Constitution as it stands right now, gives us a great deal of freedoms. Now, obviously, if you look at the, you know, various Freedom Index route, like the most free country in the world, and I don't pretend to say that we are. But I do think that we do enjoy a great deal of freedoms. The fact of the matter is, is that if there were anything that I found to be at odds with as a Satan's, the military has done a pretty good job of giving a will say, a way by regulation to effect change within the military structure. Now, is it always actually effective? That's, you know, it depends on a lot of 1000 things, right. But that doesn't mean that we can't fight for it within the military. So whenever it comes down to it. I don't think that anything that I do as a Satanist is ever at odds with my oath to protect and defend the Constitution. No.
Stephen Bradford Long 13:19 And what drew you to TST?
James Payne 13:22 Well, we know about kind of the origins of it. Well, sorry, sorry, to. I'm assuming your crowd knows a little bit about the origins.
Stephen Bradford Long 13:32 But you can always rehash it is fine. We we also get a lot of newcomers to this show, where this specific episode might be someone's first exposure to Satanism. So go ahead and tell people as if they have never heard anything about it before?
James Payne 13:49 Sure. I'll try to keep it I'll try to keep it brief and simple, right. Um, Scampton Temple was born in the mid 2000s 2010 is 2013, I think is the official establishment date, and then really started coming into its own a few years later, if 2017 I believe being when they officially became recognize, I might be wrong on that. Someone look me up. Y'all are the internet, y'all will be ruthless. So we talked a lot about the, you know, the where GST came from and how it wanted to make sure that religious equality was being observed. And to get that real separation of church and state in the place. You know, you have things like good old, good old Mr. raybert, who fought a lot to try to have a 10 commandments monument erected and that essentially became the reason that we have a Baphomet statue right now. life of slavery, of course, the original Baphomet way back in the day, but the Baphomet statue itself is probably born of that particular fight. Right. So it was really no would have seen things like that there were people who are willing to stand up for things like the separation of church and state, something that I've always fervently believed in seeing the problems that state recognized religion or, you know, local municipality recognized religion can create, it drew my attention to them. Obviously, I'd never identified with the Church of Satan or anything like that. I'm not going to go into you know, detail about CEOs, Satanists, but suffice to say I didn't never identify with them. So that never drew me towards Satanism. What did was the realization that there was this group of people that, Oh, damn, I already believe the same things this group of people believe. And it was very hard to find that community. Right. Like, I suspect, like a lot of people, they say, they read the tenets, and they go, Oh, well, I've been a Satanist my whole life. Because they believe in things like the tenants, right, I specifically chose to make an outward attempt to embody those traits. And I've always feel like I feel like I've always done that sort of my whole life anyways. But this gave me a way to codify it. And as I said before, to build that community around it, really, I think Satanism, it, it's very individualistic, obviously. But it's a bit of a conundrum, too, because it's an individualistic community. Yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 16:30 It is a community of individuals. Yes,
James Payne 16:33 yeah. And that's essentially what drew me to it, right? I didn't have to change who I was. I'm still the same person, hopefully, a little less flaws along the way, having learned from my mistakes, but still essentially the same person I was 510 years ago, still trying to fight the good fight, as it were. And TSP has really enabled me to further pursue that, and more importantly, enabled me to help others find that community. Right. We don't proselytize, of course. But that doesn't mean that people don't come to us wanting that community and that help and really love and relish being able to provide that outlet for people who never had it before.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:20 Yeah, absolutely. And I'm also, you know, I'm so glad that there exists this community of Satanists in the military, because I have friends who are in the military who have developed an interest in Satanism, and the uniformed coalition is a resource that I've been able to send them to. And you know, that that just points to the fact that this is a religion, and because it is a religion, it is going to draw many different types of people. And that's the way it should be. And so it is going to draw, you know, the gutter punks, and it's going to draw the, the military people, right, and everyone in between and, and the whole mix of humanity and lots of people from the gay community and sex workers. And then, you know, corporate Satanists who wear suits and ties and that's the way it should be. One of the reasons why I why I wanted to have you on is to break the notion that Satanism only appeals to one type of person. Does that make sense? Oh, no, I hope perfect. I hope that makes sense. And I hope I'm, I'm articulating that. Well, I don't know how well I'm communicating that, but
James Payne 18:42 I think you're communicating that very well. Actually, um, you know, it's funny, myself and the director of the afterschool Satan club, we often joke with each other June by the way, we often joke with each other that no one would really pick us out in the crowd as satanist and we could get to places other Satanists couldn't need to because we look very plain. Well, you know,
Stephen Bradford Long 19:05 I wrote an article called on being a Normie, satanist or two ago, and that was the point that I made, you know, I I'm a Satanist because it is my religion. And I may not necessarily look the part you know, I do have long hair. And I do have a big beard. If anything. I look more like a, like an Asheville. You know, I'm in the Asheville area. I look more like an Asheville hippie pagan. Like if, if there's any look that I have. It's like, Oh, this guy is eating mushrooms up in the woods. That is more of the look that I have. But you know, I usually I'm just like wearing khakis and a cat t shirt as I'm doing right now. Right. So, but the point is, Satanism is a religion and so therefore it won't be it won't attract Just one aesthetic type or one personality type or one person have a particular background. You know, there's this stereotype that Satanism is really just for disaffected Christians, who are, you know, people who are who grew up Christian and who are countercultural. And that is just not true. The number of lifelong atheists and the number of people who even who actually have a wonderful relationship with their former Christian faith, still, and I consider myself in that category. I love Christianity, even though there's a lot of ugliness to it, I still really, I don't hate my Christian background. And so there's just no stereotype for Satanism.
James Payne 20:50 Sure, by virtue of my, I guess we'll say position in the military, I obviously, embrace other religious structures as well, acknowledging that they too are problematic structures, and trying to convince people from within those communities to, you know, maybe, incidentally, be a little Satanic and change it for the better.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:12 Exactly, exactly. Yeah. And so tell us some about the uniformed coalition campaign. And but But first, I want to clarify what makes uniformed coalition a campaign. So a campaign within the Satanic Temple means something very, very specific. So what makes this a campaign rather than just a social group, for people in the military, or veterans, etc? So what is the mission of this campaign? What makes this a campaign rather than an alliance?
James Payne 21:48 So I guess to explain that answer, we need to first go a little bit about like what the uniform coalition actually consists of. Right? A lot of people focus on the military, because to be frank, it started with a military community. Right. That was it was originally military Friends of the Satanic Temple, right. And me and quite a few others, some veteran ministers worked very hard to evolve the group to where it is now. And the uniform coalition specifically consists of mill active duty military, veterans, first responders, firefighters, doctors, and nurses. And yes, law enforcement officers, police, among others, as well, right, all of these people are people who have chose to put on a uniform and serve their community in a potentially dangerous or life threatening way. And it's, it's a community like that that really brought us all together. Right. Now, what makes it an actual campaign is this community, this group that would normally be something like an alliance, what we have as the campaign is a network, right, that looks to provide Veterans Assistance, provide training, proper training for first responders, or an advocate for proper training for law enforcement officers and trying to make sure that within these problematic communities, we can really make an effective change from within. As a uniform Coalition. We understand the potentially problematic nature of our professional communities, we also understand and support those that would challenge the problematic or destructive issues that might arise in these communities. What I like to emphasize also is we as well challenge those issues from within just as you know, this Kimball uses law base in a religious biases to demand change or equality. We in the uniform coalition, believe in using institutional regulation and reason leveraging what we can to effect positive change on these institutions from within. Right. So that's part of the campaign and the other folks with campaign is of course, taking care of the members of this campaign providing resources, there's a great number of our membership, that unfortunately suffer from things like post traumatic stress disorder or various mental health ailments will say, and we while we don't provide those services, services ourselves, obviously, we do help direct them to people that can help them a lot of our a lot of our members, you know, go to things like military one source or, you know, certain police unions really help, right. Certain ones certain other police unions, not so much. We gauge those with depending on the municipality.
Stephen Bradford Long 24:48 Yeah, and I said earlier that I don't know much of anything about the military. That was that was kind of a lie. My partner works in suicide prevention for the VA And there is there, you know, you mentioned PTSD, I'm sure the same is true for people who have served in the police and the police force. And it's really hard to overstate how much at least I feel like our country has failed veterans with PTSD. I would I agree, yeah, we have done a terrible job, just socially, societally. And and, you know, the in terms of resources, and in terms of adequate care, and mental health care, and also just the communities that a lot of these people come back to. There's just, it's been catastrophic. That is something I do know a good deal about, because of the work that my partner is in. Yeah, yeah. And
James Payne 25:54 it's unfortunate, because all all of those communities that we represent, right, every single one of them has higher rates of suicide than the rest of, you know, the the rest of the country, right? Every single one of them have higher rates of domestic violence incidents, right? Every single one of them have higher rates of these things that lead to either self harm or harm of others. And that's something that we actively try to provide resources to get ahead of, right? Because we don't want that endemic to our culture, right? We want to change these institutions that we're a part of for the better. And we want to try to get that get those numbers down as low as possible.
Stephen Bradford Long 26:41 So what I'm hearing you say is that there are kind of two prongs to this campaign. The one, the one prong is the community of veterans and active duty and people on on the police force, and so on, and providing resources and community for those people. So that's one prong. But then the other prong is trying to affect change in policy and in reform within these various institutions. And that's kind of the the broader goal. So what is what are some of those specific goals that make this a campaign? So one of
James Payne 27:23 the things that I can really speak to you, I guess, is our efforts to get Satanism recognized within the military? Right? Well, we can focus on that a little bit. That's one of our specific goals, right? There's a whole lot of jargon, and I'll try to avoid using it. But there's this there's this board called the Armed Forces chaplains board. And essentially, they dictate what is or isn't a religion within nine States Military. Now, nevermind that it's already recognized by the US Federal Government, this is a different list. Okay. So one of our specific goals is in this endeavor is this particular recognition, getting us to be able to put tsp on our dog tags to put it as simply as possible? Right. Right now, that's not an option can't do it. But there's a lot of Satanists within the military that want to be able to represent themselves, you know, if, if they die, and it just says no rel Prix with no religious preference, or other or atheist. There's, how is the military supposed to know what their wishes might be? Right? It's, that's a drastic scenario, of course, but it's something that we have to consider. Right. And it also just comes down to that religious equality, to be able to read the book.
Stephen Bradford Long 28:48 Oh, there he is.
James Payne 28:51 Yeah, wanting to be represented the same as others, right. So the other one, that another specific point that we're going to is making an alliance of suicide prevention networks, I guess, we are actively reaching out across the country, in order to, I guess, distribute more info and make more known various things in people's local community that can help someone not pull trigger, as it were, that can help people whenever they feel like they might not have another out. And we want to make sure that that community is very robust, and that people will always have somewhere to go with it. Hopefully, the end goal of that particular endeavor is to have something like that we have we know the suicide prevention crisis line, right? We want to have something like that for our community as well. And anyone that's associated with our community, right, and I guess really anyone, but we want to basically have the A PSP version of that, right, where it's it's another outlet that people can use that people can feel more comfortable using, because it's from their community.
Stephen Bradford Long 30:11 Absolutely. Yeah. And you know, this is this is one of the really important roles of religion for a religious community to provide these services and to provide those resources. That's what a church is supposed to do. That is the role of a church to have a healthy church to provide those resources to members of their community. So yeah, all of that makes sense. Were there were there any specific steps that your that uniformed coalition had to go through in order to become a campaign like, what is that process like for this is kind of insider satanic baseball, so we don't need to spend too much time on this. But just for people who might be curious, and we don't need to go into too great detail. But what's the process by which something becomes a campaign like what what was the process for you to for uniformed coalition to become a campaign?
James Payne 31:06 So first off, I guess I should say that each campaign within TSP is probably probably built a little bit differently, because we each have to have our own way of operating in order to effectively operate a campaign. We're nowhere near as big as sober faction, for instance. But that doesn't change the fact that we're, you know, increasing in numbers literally every day. Now, what got us to be an actual campaign really started off with a need. Right? And I think like most things, what does it say? Difficulty breeds ingenuity, something like that? Something like that? Yeah. Yeah. And in this case, the lack of ability to help a particular portion of our community led to the formation of this, as I said, originally, military friends of this temple. And it did start off just as a group, right, like kind of a little local support group. And it grew and kept expanding. And I know there was a lot of discussion back and forth within our own group, as to, you know, whether how we should expand whether we should open it, frankly, to other communities, as well. Ultimately, we see where we ended up with that. But really, ultimately, what it comes down to informing ourselves as a campaign is providing that resource to our satanic community, right, filling that need, and creating an outlet to enable us to be able to help each other better. Hmm.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:46 Awesome. So listening to you talk, I can just what kind of what kind of reaction D, so you are probably doing a lot of for lack of a better term activism within the military on behalf of Satanists. That's part of your job. In you know, as Director of the uniformed coalition, what kind of response do you get from your colleagues in the military?
James Payne 33:15 Well, first, I should be very clear in state that I keep my religious activity and my professional activity entirely separate.
Stephen Bradford Long 33:23 Right, that is very mature and professional, and everyone should do that. Yeah. Everyone do what James does.
James Payne 33:33 Nonetheless, I you know, I'm I go by my real name, I don't make any effort to hide the fact that I'm a Satanist. I don't, you know, go running down the hall screaming and of course, but I don't make any effort to hide it either. And people and then I work with do you know, know that I'm a Satanists? Let's say largely, it depends on the community that I'm a part of, at the time. As far as how their response to that goes, whenever y'all can look up articles about it. I'm pretty sure there's an article about me and the American conservative. But one of the big, I guess we'll say triggering factors for all of this was a group of midshipmen. What a midshipman is, is that's like a cadet at the US Naval,
Stephen Bradford Long 34:21 what is a cadet for people who are not in the know? Yeah,
James Payne 34:25 exactly. You know, these, these young men and women are trying to go through this college and eventually become commissioned officers in the US military. So they, as I said, I've always been public about it. And a few of them wanted representation they wanted really what they wanted was a community at their school. And someone came to me and asked, they asked me if I would be the sponsor for it, you know, help them with this process.
Stephen Bradford Long 34:55 With the process of being a satanic community. Yes,
James Payne 34:59 God Esoteric community within the school, right? Because there were other religious clubs, right? This what would have, the way it would have been categorized would have been called an extracurricular activity tack religion. So a religious extracurricular activity, right. And there was no shortage of them on the yard. You know, you have Catholic groups and Christian groups and, you know, Muslim groups and Buddhist groups, everything like that, right. And because they were very good about letting people represent themselves equally, right. And I will say that, that almost almost all the chaplains that I've worked with, in a chaplain, for those of you that don't know, is someone whose job it is in the US military to facilitate religious structure and religious activity to a command. Now, they, you know, they, they take care of their own religious community, obviously, but they also are charged with taking care of everyone else, regardless of their own personal beliefs, or lack thereof. And most of them stuck to that I won't say all of them, and I won't drop names, but most of them stuck to that very well, the system at large did not, it was a long fight. Ultimately, where it ended up was a community that was allowed to get together unofficially, because they would not allow the name Satan on an extracurricular activity would not do it. And that's something that we're still looking at how to challenge today, we have things like the satanic representation campaign that's doing a lot of that work, right? In colleges across the country, and we're figuring out how to best tackle those sorts of situations. So this situation at the academy is ultimately where a lot of this really kicked off as well, because it sparked this interest in all of these people coming together. And it was, you know, you're gonna tell us no will fuck about, fuck that, and fuck you, right salutely. And we get together and we coalesced into a community that just decided to do it anyway. It's like, okay, well, you're gonna deny us our rights. We're going to, you know, effectively protest by doing it anyway. And we did. So after that, of course, I actually, personally got what's called a counseling statement. Right? And that's because they knew that legally, they couldn't do more than that to me. I got a counseling statement for my support of Midshipman in this endeavor, because it made national news, right, a bunch of a bunch of Midshipman want to be Satanists. They want to be able to be Satanist. Right, and it made national news. And I have that counseling frame on the wall in my office. Specifically, because I always like to encourage my sailors to fight for injustice where they see it. Absolutely. So I took that to heart and framed it.
Stephen Bradford Long 38:12 Amazing. Amazing. Yeah. So it sounds like you get a lot of institutional pushback. Yeah, maybe it isn't so much personal pushback. But institutional pushback is what I'm hearing you say.
James Payne 38:25 So am I saying that I predicated all this with a depends on where I'm at. Right? I will predicate it with it is it was that particular institution at the time. And also, I do need to be very clear here that less, you know, the US Naval Academy tried to sue me for something. The chaplains were very supportive of the process throughout the entire time. And I do believe that ultimately, we will come to an agreement about what can happen. And I do have to say that they have not officially denied it in any way, shape or form to this day, they have not officially denied the allowance of it. Awesome.
Stephen Bradford Long 39:04 Important, they also haven't seen this. Sure, sure. But that's an important clarification, when
James Payne 39:10 we're talking about that, right. I'm not certain how much it impacted me personally, in my career. I do know that with my colleagues at that time, it put some of them off, right. Some of them didn't care, right. I still have a lot of friends and a lot of great relations from the Naval Academy, or from from my time there, and it just really came down to the individualized person. We had we have some success stories from it. Of course, like, for instance, satanic Midshipman, graduating into the Marine Corps. You know, the first ever openly satanic midshipmen graduating into the report. The first ever openly satanic woman graduating into the US Navy, and then followed by the first ever opened the satanic man as well as And we also were a, we also have a membership that included our transgendered midshipmen as well. And ultimately they graduated into their various military services. Amazing. I think it was exceptional that we were able to facilitate, you know, giving them a community there. While they were on that journey, it's not an easy school. It's, it's, you know, one of the top institutions in the country, and usually, usually somewhere between one and three for public schools. And it's not easy for them. And I'm very glad that we were able to give that to them. While we were there, in whatever capacity we were, in fact, able to provide it. Now, moving to I will say, my own community because that's, that's a different kind of community. Right? I'm, like I said, I'm a military. I don't know if you heard my kid. It's fine.
Stephen Bradford Long 40:53 It's fine. We screaming children in the background is just fine. It's like it's the same with barking dogs. And yeah, wheeling cats. It's several episodes ago aren't raw was on the show. But he had the there was this, like persistent yowling, like this cat II just caterwauling. But at the very beginning of the show, he was like, I'm so sorry. That is my parrot pretending to be a cat. And so it was like his parents pretending to be a cat. And it was just like screeching through the first, you know, 20 minutes of the show, so it's all good.
James Payne 41:32 First and foremost, my community is the Navy, it is the military, you know, I shouldn't paint a narrow stroke of that. But there are some communities within military. And I will say that the linguist category is typically a little more liberal and progressive and the rest of the military. So like, my current command, and the chaplain corps at this command, and you know, the students and the staff at this command, they're just like, fucking a rock on, you know, we ask great sailors great. We're actively working at this command to establish the first military satanic congregation on this base.
Stephen Bradford Long 42:16 You know, what I think what you're, what this emphasizes is just how huge the American military is, and how varied a culture it is. And, you know, I think that for a lot of people from the outside, on the outside of the military, there's this stereotype of what a military person is. And that stereotype might have some truth to it, depending on it's very specific context. But the truth is, there are so many different cultures and personality types and backgrounds and motivations and beliefs within the military. And I, whenever people talk about the military, I wish, whatever, whatever they might say about it, I wish that that they would include that in their analysis that this is actually a gargantuan and varied community.
James Payne 43:14 Sure, yeah. And you're absolutely right. The military is no different, right? We have communities like here, like anywhere else, that have all kinds of people that believe all kinds of different things, and have all kinds of different viewpoints on all kinds of different activities. Right. Right. And military, you're gonna you're gonna get people in the military, just like anywhere else that, you know, think that Satanists shouldn't have a right who's this? You know, and then you're gonna get people that don't give a shit. And, you know, you get, of course, get the satanists themselves. Right, right. People who are allies, no matter what their own personal religious belief is, if good people Yeah, back, if you have all the spectrum in the military, that's no different in that community than it is in our own satanic community.
Stephen Bradford Long 44:07 Absolutely. So speaking of our own satanic community, do you get pushback within the satanic community for being part of the military? You know,
James Payne 44:16 occasionally? Yes. But I won't say that. It's the norm. That's great. Yeah, it is. It's a great thing. And if, if I do not a lot of people are willing to confront us about it. So I don't know.
Stephen Bradford Long 44:31 Right, right. We're right. That makes complete sense. There.
James Payne 44:33 There certainly are Satanists within tsp that don't believe that we should be allowed to be a part of PST you know, Far be it for me to dictate what tenants should mean to what the tenets of DSP should mean to anyone, but I don't personally believe that, you know, gatekeeping Satanism is reflected in our tenants. Right? Those that Do as I said, though earlier, those that do have problems with our community, being a part of the stand temple, I continue to support them in having that view. And that belief, that's cool. I get it. And that's why I said that we're going to continue to try to change that for the better. So that hopefully, you know, soon, sooner rather than later, we'll be able to say that we've changed those institutions for the better, something very, I'll go ahead and put it up front, something very difficult to talk about, for instance, is we have a ton of Satanists who are, you know, a cab, all cops are bastards, right?
Stephen Bradford Long 45:38 Yeah, I was just, I was just about to bring that up. And, and there's got to be a tension there.
James Payne 45:44 There is the fact is there is right, and there's not a clean, good solution to it, there's a, I think the only real thing that we have to do in order to bridge that gap is we, as members of these problematic organizations, acknowledge the problems and try to make it better. And hopefully, those outside of our institutions that might look negatively on our institutions, at least acknowledge that we're trying, right. I'm not asking someone to, you know, I'm not saying that, you know, people shouldn't be, you know, a cab or, you know, anti military industrial complex, or anything like that. I'm not saying they shouldn't do those things. Absolutely. voice your concerns, right. Because without voicing your concerns, what would never get done.
Stephen Bradford Long 46:33 And the community relies on people doing that, right. Like, like, as our religious community, you know, there's a reason why I brought this up. And the the reason is fundamental disagreements are like the the energy in the perpetual motion machine of our religion, it, it is the fuel that generates the life of our religion, it is in that space between those disagreements, and some of them are intractable disagreements, some of them are going to be irreconcilable. They have to be in order for this thing called religion to work in order for this thing called community in order for this thing called culture even, to work in a mature way. For those those profound differences, to exist in tension with each other in a way that makes it resilient and anti fragile, rather than brittle and delicate. Right. And, and so there are a ton of people in TST I disagree with, that's the way it should be. That's important. And there are and you know, there are people who disagree with me, there are people who read my articles and and I hear from them, and they think I am completely wrong. Or there are people who will listen to my podcast, and they will write me emails, and I welcome every single one of them.
James Payne 48:07 Oh, you're probably gonna get quite a few of them about this. Yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 48:10 Which is perfect. Because the fact is, we need each other. Yes, we need. We need those who disagree with us, in order to function as a mature and healthy community. That is how we grow that is how we transform. And so you know, I am a minister, my job is to part of my job well, part of my self ordained job, you know, I have taken this on. I've taken on this mantle. Part of I believe that part of my role as a minister is to embrace that tension. My show is called sacred attention for a fucking reason.
James Payne 48:55 Absolutely. 100% Oh, my God.
Stephen Bradford Long 48:58 So, yeah, yeah.
James Payne 49:01 Well as speaking as a minister, right, I mean, obviously, all of this could be ministerial talk, but most definitely, specifically, I guess, to provide some industry. I think that what we're talking about here, this need for, you know, conflict within our own organization, this Well, I wouldn't say conflict necessarily, but discussion within it can be conflict and disagreement, and it's
Stephen Bradford Long 49:23 okay, if it's conflict, too, sometimes. Sometimes conflict is necessary, and that isn't a bad thing. And, and depending on how healthy our institution is, it will cultivate that in a way that makes us resilient.
James Payne 49:38 And I think that that can be represented and embodied in the fact that we don't have a Bible. We don't have, you know, specific books and texts, this walls of, you know, documents that say exactly how you should do a B or C thing. We have seven tenants. And we try to go by those the best we can. Right? And that specifically, so in my opinion, specifically so that we can have this progressive conflict, right, this way forward in agreeing and disagreeing with each other. So that we can say, well, you know, it's my belief that maybe we go this way with this thing. And someone else says, well, that's, you know, I think that we should go this way we could, and we can either go, you know, that's fucking dumb, or that's a stellar idea. And it's that way that we can come together as a community and go forward, if we had this wall of books that we had to adhere to Every page of would be no different than any other religion. And we wouldn't ever get anything done. Because the entire idea of having that, you know, that huge book that says everything to do is to not progress. It's to do this injustice is to free up. On moving us forward.
Stephen Bradford Long 51:06 Yeah. And, you know, the seventh Tenet, the essence of which is, you know, even these tenets are, are basically open to revision and reinterpretation, you know, nothing is written in stone. And, you know, the spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should prevail. And all things include and should prevail over the written word. I mean, I bring this up, because being made stronger as a community, because of disagreement, and not in spite of it is an incredibly challenging thing to do. It is incredibly hard, it is so difficult to exist in that space. And it is maybe one of the most counterintuitive things for our species to do. But I think that Satanists might be uniquely suited to doing that because of our principles of reason and compassion, and progress, and so on. So it's very, very, very hard. But I think in general, it's just, it's necessary to, it's necessary to have a healthy and mature movement, the fact that there will be people who are a cab, and the fact that there are people who are members of the police force, within the same religious community, that is a very deep tension. And that's the way it's supposed to be
James Payne 52:38 100%, we would never progress without that tension.
Stephen Bradford Long 52:42 So I think that's a great note for us to end on. So for people who might want to know more about uniformed coalition or contact them, where can they do that?
James Payne 52:52 So one of the primary means of contacting us is Facebook, right? We have Facebook like anyone else. So facebook.com/groups/t s t uniform to coalition, right, that'll get you to our group. Now, that group, that specific group is closed to the, you know, the membership of military and veterans and law enforcement and firefighters, et cetera. But nonetheless, it does have a lot of our about info, and what we do and what we're about. And if you do have any questions, or you're a part of one of these communities and want to know more, you can also always email us at uniform coalition at the satanic temple.org or T S T you see at the satanic temple.org. And we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
Stephen Bradford Long 53:43 Amazing. And I will put all of those in the show notes for for anyone who listens to this and wants to follow up on that. All right. Well, this has been great. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, James. I really appreciate it.
James Payne 53:56 Thank you for having me. Absolutely stoked that you gave me the opportunity to be here.
Stephen Bradford Long 54:00 All right. Well, that is it for this show. The theme song is wild by eleventy seven. You can find it on Apple Music, Spotify, or wherever you listen to music. The show is written, produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and it is a production of rock candy recordings. As always Hail Satan, and thanks for listening