Director of 'Hail Satan?' documentary says young people are 'inherently drawn' to satanism

Penny Lane, director of the documentary film "Hail Satan?", said in an interview with Hill.TV's "Rising" that satanism appeals to younger people and gives those who have turned their backs on other organized religions a sense of community.

"It's gone from, as you see in the film, three people to over a hundred thousand in a very short period of time," Lane told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball in an interview that aired Wednesday. "I think that that's because if you look at something like Pew Research polls, young people ... can't get away from organized religion fast enough."

An analysis by Eastern Illinois University political scientist Ryan Burge published on Saturday found that, for the first time in recent history, "no religion" has topped a survey of Americans' religious identity.

"When you leave organized religion behind, you lose a lot of good stuff," Lane said. "You lose community, you lose a kind of organizing, moral framework."

"You lose a kind of philosophical basis for what gives life meaning, and I think that young people know that," she said. "They know they're missing that, and so satanism comes along and provides an opportunity for an atheist to sort of regain a lot of what's been lost when they kind of lose religion in the past."

"It's not going to work for everyone but it presents a novel solution to that problem, and I think that's why so many people, especially young people, are really inherently drawn to this group," she said.

The Satanic Temple's website says the group's mission is "to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will."

"Hail Satan?" gives viewers an inside look at the group's founding and its political activism.

The documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is set to hit theaters on Friday.

— Julia Manchester