The Church of Satan? Progressive?

A rather fascinating article from The Guardian caught my attention, titled “Hell freezes over: how the Church of Satan got cool”. And by fascinating I mean this was just a puff piece. The article in question goes on about how the Church of Satan suddenly got hip and cool in the eyes of progressive commentators because some imbuing of left-wing radicalism into the Satanic zeitgeist (by the way, please no), and lamenting the fact that Chelsea Clinton isn’t a Satanist. I don’t see why that last part is a problem: the last thing Satanism needs is the Clintons tarnishing its image.

And a strange puff piece indeed. As you’ll see in the link I’ve left at the end of the post, most of the article deals less with the Church of Satan and more with a Los Angeles Times article (which I will also leave a link to at the end of the post). The LA Times article in question makes the case that  ̶a̶ ̶b̶u̶n̶c̶h̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶e̶d̶g̶y̶ ̶C̶a̶l̶i̶f̶o̶r̶n̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶h̶i̶p̶s̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶  a new breed of Satanists are channeling their affinity for the dark side towards progressive political causes to unite against Donald Trump.

Yep, it’s more bourgeois left-wing political activism with a layer of pop occultism on top. Just like last year, when you had “witches” casting “spells” against Trump and then nothing came of it other than they looked ridiculous.

Essentially, these people buy into the idea that the world is going to hell, that American life is never-ending chaos, and that, because of this premise, they’ve decided to mix Satanism with feminism. They earnestly believe that without a sense of magical community centered around their version of Satanism, you’d have the rise of groups such as The Proud Boys (Gavin McInnes’ no-fap PUA brigade), and they, seemingly without any sense of irony or  self-awareness, describe the fact that people have those groups as “black magic”. It’s so bizarre to hear that complaint when that’s what you’re into. I mean, the idea of just people forming social clubs as a form of magic is stretching, hard, but even if it’s true, why are you complaining? Is it good when you have black magic, but not when they have it? For me but not for thee, is it? They also talk about how one of their main advantages is being more well-versed in Internet culture, which is ironic because, anything, the anti-leftist political circles seem more savvy than they are in Internet culture because of their skill in making irreverent memes – the right arguably helped a President get elected through memes for shit’s sake. And then later on, the article goes on about how it’s all connected to African belief systems like Voodoo (which have nothing to do with Satanism) and how, predictably, The Satanic Temple is promoting inclusivity in Satanism and that sort of thing. I must say, for a bunch of spiritual rebels they certainly are very politically correct. But we’ll get to that later on. And to say that the new direction is more feminist than nihilist is rather accurate: there’s really nothing intrinsically nihilistic about it, because the progressive movement is, fundamentally, one that vies for its own brand of meaning, however vapid it may be.

But I see no sign that this current has anything to do with the Church of Satan. In fact, the funny part is how in the LA Times article they actually acknowledge that supporters of the Church of Satan believe in resisting liberal pieties as well as Christian ones, referring back to LaVey’s opposition to the hippie movement. So The Guardian went and promoted the Church of Satan as being more feminist, based on an article where they outright say The Church of Satan is still against liberal and progressive orthodoxy. The Guardian article just goes on to extoll the virtues of autistically responding to everyone casually using the phrase “satanic” in a manner not consistent with their beliefs. Funny, I’ve seen them accuse all Christians of being pedophiles just because a bunch of Christian priests came out to defend Roy Moore, who was accused of child molestation during the Alabama special election. I wonder, is that just a part of their “laconic” wit? Because to me it sounds like the take of a bitter teenager who still unironically listens to Antichrist Superstar and thinks he’s got religion all figured out. And the way they quote the FAQ section is rather pretentious. They seem to be under the delusion that the universe being indifferent to humans and values being subjective doesn’t apply to their own brand of progressivism as well: as in, surely it’s just as meaningless as Christianity? But hey, self-serving leftists rarely have that consistency about them.

What I find really, almost insultingly hilarious, is when at the end it says that “Satanism’s latest mutation is something else, a contrarian uprising against a patriarchal world order that deserves its comeuppance”, which gives you a very good idea that these people have no idea what contrarianism is. Feminist progressivism? Contrarian? Well I mean it has to be, that’s why in my country you have an entire political party embracing the zeitgeist. No, two! Labour is now thoroughly progressive in its socialism, and the so-called Conservative Party are actively in the business of diversity hiring with their most recent cabinet reshuffle. I mean it’s definitely contrarian, because you see so many Hollywood celebrities virtue signal about equality. Yeah, that’s what contrarianism is: going with the flow!

Whereas, here’s what Anton LaVey had to say about his conception of the “modern Black Mass” in The Satanic Bible:

Any ceremony considered a black mass must effectively shock and outrage, as this seems to be the measure of its success. In the Middle Ages, blaspheming the holy church was shocking. Now, however, the Church does not present the awesome image it did during the inquisition. The traditional black mass is no longer the outrageous spectacle to the dilettante or renegade priest that it once was. If the Satanist wishes to create a ritual to blaspheme an accepted institution, for the purpose of psychodrama, he is careful to choose one that is not in vogue to parody. Thus, he is truly stepping on a sacred cow. A black mass, today, would consist of the blaspheming of such “sacred” topics as Eastern mysticism, psychiatry, the psychedelic movement, ultra- liberalism, etc. Patriotism would be championed, drugs and their gurus would be defiled, cultural militants would be deified, and the decadence of ecclesiastical theologies might even be given a Satanic boost.

It amazes me how no Satanist movement that I have seen seems to be interested in tapping into this, because the simple fact is that we don’t live in the 1980s anymore. Even in America, the age of people like Bob Larson or Pat Robertson is long over. There’s still Satanic Ritual Abuse themed conspiracy theories spread around today, but it’s not the media phenomenon that it was until the early 1990’s. And despite the left’s fears in the wake of Trump getting elected, we see no signs of theocracy in the United States. If anything, despite the government being in the hands of the GOP, the zeitgeist of the wider establishment seems to be against him (including most media outlets). The idea that anyone’s being contrarian by embracing progressivism is dubious at best, and incredibly deluded at worst. It’s disappointing that there are no Satanists out there, that I know of, who are exploiting things like the reactionary movement as a form of rebellion against contemporary culture. Whatever your opinions on them, you can’t deny that they are at the opposite end of the establishment political zeitgeist, and exploiting the energies of such movements would play right into the kind of thing LaVey was talking about. But nope. If the LA Times and The Guardian are to be believed, it seems that modern Satanism is looking to embrace an ideology that, frankly, oozes with not just conformism and moral purity, but also (that’s right, I’ll say it) Christian universalism.

I fear that this will lead to the loss of a chaotic, rebellious edge that was classically associated with the Satanist movement, and if that happens, then I think it will be the end. Satanism’s primary impact and appeal came from the fact that it was rebellious towards the establishment, it placed the individual in opposition to outside social forces and institutions aligned against it, intent on corralling it into conformity in opposition to its will, and dared the individual to think for himself, treat these ideas with derision and mockery, and laugh at those stupid to embrace such hollow dogmas. But whereas in the 60’s it was Christianity and the hippie movement, and in the 80’s it was fundamentalist Christianity, in the 2010s, the popular zeitgeist is progressivism. You can be fired for publicly expressing ideas contrary to progressive ideology, that alone should be enough of a reason to channel rebellious intent against it. But instead a new breed of Satanists are embracing it. This will undo the original spirit of Satanism, rob of its chaotic, rebellious vitality, and turn it into just another whiny progressive movement based on what is, ultimately, feminist emotional porn. It would be sad to see such a defiant movement fall like this.

Link to the Guardian article:

Link to the Los Angeles Times article:


3 responses to “The Church of Satan? Progressive?

  1. The journalists who wrote these articles show ignorance about Satanism. Church of Satan generally supports Trump and is strongly conservative in outlook. I think the journalists mix up Church of Satan with other Satanic outlooks such as The Satanic Temple.

    • They almost certainly did, but I think to say the Church of Satan is conservative is also a stretch. For one thing, unless it’s some secular form of conservatism, they certainly aren’t pro-religion enough to be conservatism. For another, they regularly lambast conservatives along with progressives on their Twitter feed. They are arguably more libertarian than conservative as an overall position. As for Trump, I know that we have examples of members expressing a support for Trump, and rationalizing that position within a Satanist context, but I doubt the organization as a whole supports him simply because I don’t have access to a reliable consensus. Or, failing that, there’s always whatever Peter Gilmore has to say (after all, I think we can agree the organization pretty much exists more than him than it does for Satanism as a whole).

      • Yes, Church of Satan is a business brand with a marketing list of customers (their members) designed to financially benefit the owner of the brand, in this case it is Gilmore and his partner. The voice of Church of Satan is principally Gilmore who claims to be the voice of Satanism.

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