The Belle Plaine issue

There has been an update to the story of The Satanic Temple’s Belle Plaine monument which I would like to cover. Last week, Belle Plaine has seen protests from people who are opposed to the erecting of The Satanic Temple’s “Joe” monument, largely Christian groups who are opposed to the idea of anything Satanic being erected on public property. A free speech zone was established by the city of Belle Plaine in response to previous protests by Christian groups who opposed the removal of the Joe monument. The idea was that the space would be opened all temporary private monuments. The Satanic Temple used this opportunity to try and get their own monument displayed there, but this of course drew protest from Christian groups who opposed the very idea. On Thursday, Belle Plaine eliminated the free speech zone, barring all privately owned monuments and leaving their respective owners with 10 days to remove them. This of course means that the Satanic memorial monument will not be displayed in Belle Plaine.

So basically, because The Satanic Temple decided to try and place their Satanic funeral monument in a public space, and Christian protesters decided to show up in response, Belle Plaine has decided that, rather than just allow both, they’ve decided to make it so that none of them can be displayed at all. Good job Satanic Temple.

The event also attracted the attention of FOX News’ Tucker Carlson, who interviewed Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple to talk to him about the monument, as well as Satanism from the perspective of Greaves at least. Now let me get one thing straight: normally I like Tucker Carlson. Ever since I started hearing of him taking on all kinds of idiots and loons not just on the left but on the neoconservative right, as well as craziness from Washington and the mainstream media, not to mention he’s a living meme as well because so many of the people he interviews bring out that famous face of bewilderment, he became the only reason I bother with FOX News at all. But when introduced to The Satanic Temple and to Satanism, it seems Tucker Carlson had a hard time dealing with it. Tucker accused the group of going out their way to deliberately horrify Christians (which I don’t think is entirely accurate), he basically dismissed Satanism as a “silly made-up religion” because it wasn’t as established as Christianity, Judaism or Islam, and he tried to legitimize Lucien’s belief system on the grounds that Satan was a Christian symbol, never mind that as a Christian (to my knowledge at least) his God was lifted from pre-Jewish Canaanite paganism. It seemed to me like Tucker was being really unfair to him, and he seemed to be arguing from a position of ignorance.

But I don’t think Lucien performed very well either. He started the interview by pretty much dodging Tucker’s questions about what the core beliefs of Satanism are before eventually describing it from the standpoint of The Satanic Temple. To Tucker’s credit, it did seem like Lucien wasn’t always very straightforward. What bothered me in particular though was that towards the end of the interview about how Satanism was not just about resistance to tyranny and religious authority, but also diversity and multiculturalism. So in other words, Lucien on national television proclaims that Satanism, for him at least, is just textbook social liberal philosophy dressed in the devil’s clothes. I view Satanism as, fundamentally, pro-individualism and pro-freedom. And the ideals of diversity and multiculturalism, as they are practiced today, are nothing more than covers for illiberal – if not outright authoritarian – social engineering, rampant soft bigotry and racism, the erosion of Western civilizational values (including individual liberty) in favor of cultural relativism and willful prostration in the face of the threat of Islamic terrorism. I know that Tucker was unfair to Lucien for the most part, but if he’s trying to tell me that *this* is what Satanism means he should frankly throw his pentagrams to the floor. On the whole, the interview was a dumpster fire for me and one of the lesser moments in Tucker Carlson’s otherwise fine show.

And that, in a nutshell, is the most recent development in the Belle Plaine chapter of The Satanic Temple’s activist campaign.


The Church of Satan vs The Satanic Temple

Welcome to Part 2 of my series of introspective posts about Satanism, and the wider Satanic zeitgeist. In this post, we will have a look at the two Satanic organizations with the largest profile that I can think of –  the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple – and observe the differences between the two groups and the split that it represents in the wider zeitgeist of what is considered to be modern Satanism.

The famous (or perhaps infamous) Satanic Temple depiction of Satan as a Baphometic figure

First, I think some essential background surrounding the two organizations is in order.

The Church of Satan was established in 1966 by Anton LaVey as something of an alternative to both Christianity and the hippie movement of the 1960’s, promoting radical individualism, egoism, rational self-interest and hedonism, using the figure of Satan as the embodiment of Man as a carnal being and as he ought to be, with some dark spirituality and occultism thrown in to some degree (though LaVeyan Satanism typically sees it as a pageantry, and the Church of Satan nowadays doesn’t emphasize these aspects, but we’ll get into that a little later). At first it was organization teeming with the potential of what might be called Satanic magick, which aspirants rising up the hierarchy through their own works, and there was sometimes even talk of some vaguely spiritual ideas surrounding Satan and magick, but it has since evolved into a more secular and outright purely atheistic organization.

The Satanic Temple was founded in 2014 by Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry as an activist organization, using the icon of Satan as a window dressing for what is essentially secular liberal (or social liberalism) activism. They are known for encouraging (or arguably trolling) the US government and Christian groups into accepting the rollback of religious presence and activity in certain areas, perhaps most famously with their campaign to erect a statue of Satan on Oklahoma Capitol Hill in order to protest the presence of the Ten Commandments monument, which has since been removed (though apparently a bill has recently been passed allowing the monument to return).

There are a number of differences between the Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple. Perhaps the most notable is their focus. The Church of Satan is not focused on political activity or lobbying, and currently has no desire to change the world around them in that vein. The Satanic Temple, on the other hand, is well known for its political activism and has staged many events aimed at promoting separation of church state and numerous other political causes generally aligned with the “left-liberal” side of the political spectrum. Besides the Satan statue, they’ve raised money for the adopting of highways, launched an after-school program designed to counter the kind offered by Christians, held protests in support of Planned Parenthood, held a “pink mass” over the grave of the mother of Fred Phelps to make the Westboro Baptist Church think they were turning her soul gay (stay tuned for my thoughts on that shit), erected Satanic “nativity scenes” to counter the Christian tradition of the Jesus nativity piece, held a black mass at Harvard Church and held various ritual ceremonies to protest Christianity. The recently commissioned a public Satanic monument in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, over the presence of a Christian religious monument. The Church of Satan, however detached from LaVey’s original spirit it seems to be in modern times, stems from LaVey’s original philosophy, which stresses focus on self-empowerment, embraces an egoistic view in the mold of Ayn Rand, and prizes radical individualism over egalitarianism. The Satanic Temple, in contrast, asserts its primary goal as encouraging “benevolence and empathy” among all people. They keep the LaVeyan understanding of Satan as an embodiment of Man’s nature, implying they share LaVey’s philosophy of Man as a carnal and selfish being, but they also embrace what seems to be an altruist tack via the rather wishy washy conception of benevolence to all things (again, we’ll get into that in greater detail later on).

Now despite what I have said and will say against the organization, there is still much that can be said to the organization’s credit. I would still praise their Satan statue campaign targeting the Oklahoma Ten Commandments monument, solely on the grounds that a religious monument’s presence in a house of secular law might present a conflict of interest. After all, does this place represent secular law or the laws of “God”?  I also approve of their general stance against child corporal punishment in public schools, and kind of support their After School Satan program because it involves nothing more than the insertion of an alternative set of ideas in a free and open market of ideas, though I don’t necessarily approve of their ad campaign. I also understand that they have a “Grey Faction“, which is devoted to debunking Satanic Ritual Abuse theories and anything of the like, I approve of their sentiment that religion can be divorced from the irrational thinking and pure superstition that is characteristic of the familiar organized religions and associated generally with faith (a sentiment which, if you think about, was also found in the Church of Satan back in the day and I suspect is also shared by organizations such as The Sect of the Horned God), and their founder Lucien Greaves is at least somewhat aligned with the classical liberal political tradition, as evidenced by his condemnation of other Satanists who tried to disrupt an event that Milo Yiannopoulos was holding because they didn’t like him spreading “hate speech”.

However, this is where my praise of The Satanic Temple ends, and my many criticisms begin.

Honestly, their most recent campaign (the Belle Plaine monument) seems to remind me that they might not solely be motivated by separation of church and state, or at least I don’t think they have the same view of what that means. In an article of Star Tribune, a local Minnesota paper, Lucien Greaves (who is referred to as Doug Mesner) says this about the group’s intentions.

It’s a sad state of affairs when any one religious group feels persecuted because they don’t have exclusive privilege on the public grounds,”

What the heck does this mean, exactly? Is he trying to say that non-Christian religions are persecuted because of the lack of non-Christian monument? Does he want religious privilege? It seems kind of vague, but it come across as saying that the biggest priority here is a perceived religious privilege. This is a veteran monument we’re talking about here. I am pretty certain that the use of a cross, while it might be connected to Christian faith, may also be used to convey a more universally understood meaning pertaining to death. A cross, associated with funerary monuments, is instantly understood in popular imagination as being associated with death/passing away, though perhaps that is because Western culture is still undeniably influenced by Christianity in some way. Whereas with the Satan statue issue I sympathized with them because they objected to the presence of religious symbolism in a place of secular law, this issue seems to be them up in arms about the presence of Christian symbolism at a memorial park. I really don’t see the issue and I don’t care what religious symbolism is there. If I think about it, their way of opposing integration of church and state seems to amount to protesting the presence of Christian symbolism and acting like they don’t have the freedom to establish their own religious presence. Like with their counter-nativity scenes. I approve of The Satanic Temple creating their own nativity scenes, because it is just them putting their own cultural artifacts out into the public, but the motive here seems to be all about diversity of religious representation or railing against the mere idea of a Christian nativity being displayed in public. And these people actually went out of their way to protest a football game, dressed like goth rejects, all because a Christian led a pre-game prayer and they took it as evidence that one group has exclusive privilege, for which I do not see any proof. It’s almost like how SJWs look at how white people being the majority demographic in a given Western nation and somehow construe this as granting an intrinsic social privilege to that demographic, of course without offering any evidence beyond “white people in government and big corporations”.

Also, there’s something about their idea of the “pink mass” that bothers me. Besides the fact that they were basically dancing on the grave of Fred Phelps’ mother because they don’t like Fred Phelps’ thoughts on homosexuality (and neither do I, for the record), the premise of the mass is basically to, at least figuratively, turn the soul of a deceased person gay. My problem with this premise is that The Satanic Temple seem like the kind of people who would be against conversion therapy for turning homosexuals into heterosexuals, but because Fred Phelps was a vocal opponent of homosexuality that makes turning his mother’s soul gay a good thing? That seems like such a petty and pathetic thing to do over a man’s “hate speech”, as it would be termed by the media. Almost as petty is when they considered performing a similar ceremony for Fred Phelps himself after he died in 2014. It’s a bit like that notoriously bad Bill Nye Saves the World cartoon that depicts straight white men as a vanilla ice cream who proposes conversion therapy for his gay/bi friends and who needs to be turned gay through seduction so he can have a bisexual orgy with them.

Come to think of it, I can’t say I’m surprised that the same kind of media that praises Bill Nye’s stupid cartoon sketch as “slamming Christians” and “explaining the absurdity of conversion therapy” (by saying that it’s OK to push a kind of conversion therapy on straight white men) praises The Satanic Temple as bringing Satanism into the mainstream by showing their progressive credentials, shattering Christian intolerance by displaying public intolerance towards the mere presence of Christian symbols at any one time or place.

To be perfectly frank, I am annoyed with the fact that Satanists in general are being compared to Christians because of The Satanic Temple. “The truth is that Satanists are actually…saintlike” claims Comicverse for instance. Bullshit. Satanists are in truth more like cats than saints. I don’t strive to be a saint, not least by the standards of sainthood and morality put forth by both traditional Christian morality and the progressive ideology that so pervades modern media. Lest we forget that the Catholic idea of Sainthood allows for malevolent individuals like Mother Teresa (an ally of dictators and lover of the suffering of the poor) and Juniperro Serra (who seems to have converted the native population of California to Catholicism by force) to be canonized as Saints and treated as benevolent figures. Not to mention, if your idea of “saintlike” involves performing spiritual conversion therapy on people for merely having a bigoted opinion, you need to re-evaluate your moral compass. How would you like it if I dragged you to a clinic that provided actual conversion therapy, or had you mailed to Iran in hopes that you’d undergo forced gender assignment, because you think people who don’t like buttsex are evil? Are you going to say then that I am a saint for doing so, or for having the kind of mindset that would think this is OK? Salon (ever the most cogent outlet and totally not ideological driven at all these days 😉 ) actually ran an article back in 2015 claiming that Satanists are truer to the words of Jesus Christ, a sentiment echoed by many TST-obsequious articles on Patheos, at which point I must draw a line. I am nothing like Jesus Christ, and nor are most Satanists I know, nor do we try to be. I am not about loving thy enemies, I don’t want love for all things and all people without a shred of hatred in my heart, I don’t want religious pluralism to be replaced with hardcore traditionalism (Jesus, after all, advocated for Jewish conservatism as opposed to moderated and Romainzed forms of Judaism, and opposed the Roman Empire which, although it demanded the worship of an emperor, tolerated any religion that welcome a sacrificial rite to the Roman emperor), I don’t want universal benevolence in the name of the kingdom of the sky, and I don’t want your socialism-lite Christianity either. But crucially, I and most Satanists aren’t as violent and crazy as Jesus was according to the Bible. If you think that I and many Satanists have anything in common with Jesus, let alone your Bernie Sanders-esque conception of him, I’m sorry, but you are deluded I will treat you as such.

It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the Church of Satan has expressed disapproval of The Satanic Temple’s activities. Their current leader, Peter Gilmore, went on record to denounce The Satanic Temple as “a parody of Satanism rather than a representation of some actual philosophical or religious organization”. Whatever else can be said of Gilmore and the modern Church of Satan, and not much of it is positive from what I have seen in the Satanic blogosphere, I honestly don’t blame him for expressing that sentiment, given what The Satanic Temple seems to be these days. I mean, what exactly is so Satanic, for instance, about stressing universal compassion and benevolence and particularly going out of your way to basically bodyguard random Muslims because you think they’ll be stigmatized, while the religion of Islam is so against Satanism that its practitioners would be punished with death if a society were run in accordance with Islamic doctrine. But, in fairness, am I so surprised that Gilmore got flak for this sentiment given the isolationist nature of his organization and the fact that he want so far as to claim that the Satan statue was “pedophilic” in nature? I would say no. I would say that Gilmore didn’t do the organization any favors, and in the eyes of many Satanists he served to deepen the image of both himself and his organization as cranky, cantankerous (in itself far from unrespectable in my opinion), isolationistic, intolerant and out of touch, which to me is kind of a shame because, while it is true that the Church of Satan has been dismissive of other Satanic organizations as as not really Satanic (or even just filled with bad Satanists), I do understand and respect the fact that part of Gilmore’s objection to the Satan monument is that he doesn’t like proselytism. He views Satanism as something that should come naturally to a person who reads about it and decides that he/she sees him/herself embodying that philosophy, and the literary archetype of Satan to some degree, and sees The Satanic Temple as doing the opposite – proselytizing their outlook through public political activism.

We actually get a curious snapshot of the division between the ideals of The Satanic Temple and The Church of Satan in the wake of, of all things, the election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States of America. According to Rooster, The Satanic Temple witnessed a sudden increase in membership within almost two days of the election. The Satanic Temple views this as an opportunity to push their organization as a vanguard of political resistance against a “theocratic” regime under the Republican Party. The Church of Satan (which apparently also saw its share of increased online interest), by contrast, is noted as being less opposed to the idea of a Trump presidency, with Church of Satan reverend Raul Anthony noted as a Trump supporter. Their article, I must mention, was about as obsequious to popular progressive narrative on the subject as many Western media outlets on the subject of both The Satanic Temple and Donald Trump, painting the Trump viewpoint as essentially theocratic, even though Trump himself seems to be less religious than the textbook religious Republican to the point that he does not oppose gay marriage and seems to be, if anything, pro-gay. And their characterization of the Church of Satan as endorsing “Trumpian” beliefs is about as uncharitable as it is borderline character assassination. What exactly does a Nietzsche or Redbeard-inspired might makes right style view have to do with the “America First” ideology, which appraised objectively amounts to essentially a populist, nationalist, perhaps paleoconservative outlook? What does exactly Trump’s rhetoric on “law and order” have to do with “If a man smite thee on the cheek, smash him on the other”? And if they are related, doesn’t that make him (gasp) a secret Satanist? Wouldn’t that rather undermine the whole “Trump is a Christian ideologue” narrative, especially given that Christianity is supposed to be a Bernie Sanders religion according to these American media outlets? And “greater men should rule over lesser men”? Quite a peculiar thing to say about someone who spent his campaign on a decidedly populist, anti-establishment tack.  Though I must say, the quote from Raul himself doesn’t paint his side of the story in a good position. He is quoted as saying “you have to hate”, which I think is a misrepresentation. Yes, love is not the only thing in this world that you need, I agree with that, but you don’t *have* to hate anyone who doesn’t deserve it. Satanism simply says on this matter that you should be free to hate who you feel is deserving of hate – people who mistreat you, people have wronged you or your loved ones, people who do not give you your due as you toil in this world etc.

And speaking of Donald Trump, we come to my biggest problem with The Satanic Temple as of late: their alliance with feminism and progressive identity politics. I’ve covered this before on my blog, but the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration was marked by protests and riots in Washington DC, and I found out that The Satanic Temple had been seen attending the anti-Inauguration protests, claiming that they want to stop Donald Trump from “destroying all of your rights”. Immediately following this was the Women’s March, a giant incoherent virtual signal organized people with no unifying cause other than “fuck Donald Trump”, but happened to be led by anti-liberal ideologues like Linda Sarsour and Gloria Steinem, and perhaps most notorious for a crazy ass Ashley Judd’s slam poetry, one of the speakers having a criminal record and the elevating of the hijab as the symbol of women’s liberation, while the women of Saudi Arabia live with it as a symbol of religious oppression as is mandated by Islamic doctrine. And yet I find that, again, the Satanic Temple decided to join the Women’s March in solidarity with their nebulous cause. Not only that, but they also promoted a “civic engagement party” being hosted by three two-bit progressive bloggers, most of whom work for the Huffington Post (which I also covered in a previous post). In addition, when I look at the Satanic Temple’s website, it seems they have co-opted feminism not just for the purpose of supporting “reproductive rights” (which, judging from their support of Planned Parenthood, seems to amount to the belief that having abortion clinics sponsored by the tax payer and propped up by the state is a fundamental human right). And guess who is on the vanguard of “Satanic feminism”? None other than The Satanic Temple’s Jex Blackmore, the very same woman who took the folk horror movie, The Witch, and tried to co-opt it as part of some kind of progressive revolutionary agenda.

What is my problem with this, exactly? Well, in the case of The Witch, it basically amounts to them attempting to co-opt a piece of entertainment media as part of their own ideological movement, the same thing that progressives have been doing to video games and comic books in recent years. As for the rest, it is them deciding to embrace progressive ideology and embracing a philosophical/political identity that is proving to be increasingly divorced from actual Satanism. I will say it unequivocally, I think feminism has nothing to do with Satanism, nor should it. Feminism, at least in its current form, is an identitarian movement that regards women, and gender itself, as a social class, wherein all its members have shared interests (like how Marx viewed every member of the working class as having the same collective interests, or how white nationalists and supremacists view white people as all being part of one big family), wherein the ideologues who lead it claim that feminism represents women, and their interests, and an attack on feminism is an attack on women. I find that this is inherently anti-individualistic, and thus I find it is anti-Satanic. Progressivism in general is infested with much the same identity politics, except that it’s not just feminism. They have their own brand of identity politics wherein various groups of non-white people are treated as constantly vulnerable political classes that need to be shielded from a white supremacy that they themselves project onto a society that, when examined objectively, is not a white supremacist society. This too is anti-individualistic, thus is opposed to part of the core of Satanic philosophy. For the Satanist the individual, and the interest of the individual, matters more than any notion of a shared racial or sexual identity, and the individual is treated as an individual, with his/her own desires, interests and goals, rather than as a social class, let alone based on arbitrary characteristics. But apparently, despite being an organization ostensibly interested in promoting Satanism, The Satanic Temple views progressive identity politics and social justice as an acceptable component of its activism.

This puts modern Satanism in a lamentable predicament: Satanism as we know it began in the 1960’s as a rebellious alternative to the burgeoning flower power counterculture of the time, establishes itself as a movement opposed to both religion and political correctness in its time, placing individualism and egoism above of these values, only in to, in the 2010’s, have a public image that is not being dictated by a progressive organization that ostensibly seeks to reinvent Satanism and bring it to the mainstream, by divorcing Satanism from its original ideals, to the point that is seems like it is using Satanism as a means of militant atheist political activism. And the Church of Satan, despite Gilmore’s arguments, will not do much to remedy this situation, because they keep to themselves too much, resting on their past glory instead. In addition to this, the Church of Satan been shown to be kind of a money-grubbing organization. In order to join you have to pay the organization a $200 membership fee, for you receive a crimson card signifying your membership. That in itself would be ridiculous enough were it not for the fact that, according to my friend Satanicviews’ investigation of their finances, the money you give to the Church of Satan goes not to the organization and its cause but instead into the pockets of Peter Gilmore and his wife. And if you do decide to join the Church of Satan, your membership will take 16 weeks to process, and once you are a member you will be required by the organization to observe the doctrine/dogma of the organization itself, without fail, on pain of expulsion, which kind of violates the spirit of Satanism as embracing individualism over the dogmatism of organized religion. So, unfortunately, you are basically paying $200 to join an organization where you have to agree with Peter Gilmore’s version of LaVeyan Satanism and not diss other members of the Church of Satan or be cast out. And remember, if you’re not a member, CoS members will consider you to not be an actual Satanist, because their ideological prerogative demands it.

We are, thus, presented with a modern face of Satanism that is characterized by a stark factionalism between two established organized entities: one of them markedly conservative with regards to Satanic philosophy, despite itself being removed from LaVey’s original vision, plagued by elitism, isolationism, dogmatism and (I’ll say it) greed, and the other a bunch of progressive activists who use Satanism, or rather a form of Satanism divorced from its original ideas, to spread “equality for everyone” and fight for separation of church and state by pissing and whining about the merest breath of the American Jesus freak in public society, while embracing pepperings of the kind of identity politics and cultural infiltration that is currently killing the Democratic Party in America and the progressive movement in general, all so they can stick it the perceived Christian patriarchal order of things, which, when examined objectively, starts to become a shakier premise. This to me cannot be described as anything other than a farce. A weird psychedelic Satanic ashram led by the metalhead doppelganger of Osho would be a better public face of Satanism than this.

But hey, as bad as it is, at least there isn’t a giant Satanic Panic on top of all of this, like there was in the 1980’s. And at least if you don’t want to be in either organization, there is much less dependence on religious community in Satanism than there is in, say, Christianity or Islam.

A further excoriation of The Satanic Temple

You know, I think my musings on the inauguration of Donald Trump and its aftermath would be incomplete without talking about The Satanic Temple, and its role in all this. I talked about them before in “Some post-Inauguration thoughts“, but I intend to excoriate the organization further in late of their involvement in the Women’s March, which took place the day after Trump’s inauguration. After this, I swear I’ll go back to my planned content.

Before I begin my excoriation of The Satanic Temple I think it’s important to establish the following: just what is the Women’s March exactly? It was a mass demonstration that took place beginning on January 21st, the day after the Inauguration and after the Inauguration protests, which devolved into riots, vandalism and clashes with police officers and Trump supporters. Unlike the previous protests, these were not riotous protests in which Antifa, as well as radical communists and anarchists, got involved and started shit. It basically just a movement of feminists taking the opportunity to protest against Trump in a civil manner. I say that because it really does seem like a bunch of people getting together to protest Trump’s inauguration, especially given the time and the high presence of anti-Trump slogans alongside feminist and pro-Clinton. It’s not a response to any legislation, it’s just a response to Trump, driven by the fear that he will bring about the apocalypse of women’s rights. In a way, it seems to me like a kind of opportunistic, johnny-come-lately demonstration. I mean were these people planning to do anything the day after Trump got elected, or even after he was sworn in by the Electoral College?

So what women’s rights are being agitated for? Well, it seems that a lot of protesters showed up because they didn’t want to get their vaginas grabbed. Which is pointless because (1) the 12-year old tape was essentially bragging that isn’t substantiated by anything and that Trump will probably not live up (except, perhaps, in the bedroom with Melania, but that’s a private matter between two married individuals), (2) Trump will not order that every woman be taken to the White House to have their vaginas grabbed by him, that would be logistically impossible, and (3) I cannot see Trump making sexual assault legal, and I mean clear-cut sexual assault not the kind of bullshit that third wave feminists make up to justify not owning up to, say, getting drunk and then sleeping with someone and then regretting it. Then there’s that famous sign which read “Make men pay for razors if we pay for tampons”. I assume this refers to the “tampon tax” or “pink tax”, which can actually be debunked. But besides that, people already do pay for razors, they’re just less expensive apparently. The theme of abortion rights was also present – presumably driven by fear of either the overturning of Roe v Wade (which will likely not happen), the abolition of Planned Parenthood (which also probably will not happen), or simply the prospect that Planned Parenthood will no longer be funded by the taxpayer (which honestly is not a reduction of your rights, it just means you have to pay for your own abortion), who knows? -, as well as a cocktail of environmentalism, LGBT activism, promotion of Islam, and other causes typically associated with the Democrat Party. Not to mention, it seems to me like some of them don’t even know why they’re doing this other than they don’t like Trump, and even then they just feel that he’s going to be the worst President, they don’t know that. Other than that, this has been an entirely Western phenomenon – nothing about the horrors that women face outside the Western world, particularly in Islamic countries (like Saudi Arabia and Iran) and African countries (like Tanzania and Mauritania), where girls can be subject to things like child marriage or female genital mutilation and women can be viewed as commodities or subjects, rather than citizens just as men are.

This whole thing has been a pathetic and confused virtue signal, designed to make thousands of women feel good and act like they give a damn about issues and vainly proclaim that progressivism shall not be defeated, while it is otherwise on the path to being soundly dead, paying the price for its rejection of reason, tolerance and classical liberal values and its embrace of identity politics, postmodernism and ideological bigotry.

And yet who should I find in support of this sad display of witless political posturing? Why The Satanic Temple of course, specifically their Seattle chapter, apparently. But not only that, I did some searching and on the TST website I find that there is a link to their official Instagram account where they seem to be promoting the Women’s March. And what individual member announced her attendance? None other than Jex Blackmore, apparently. The same women who took a folk horror film called The Witch and co-opted it for their own politically progressive agenda. Why am I not fucking surprised? Another link brings me to another Instagram post promoting something called The Civic Engagement Dance Party. Right away, the fist symbol gives me concern, given that it’s pretty much the symbol of black power movements, and similar black racialist causes (like Black Lives Matter), as well as feminism. The event promises prospective attendees that they will meet with like-minded people who want to “build a better world”, the terms for which, for my money, I suspect that will amount to a world aligned with progressive ideology (you know, making everything equal and shit). The description lists some names of some “powerful women”, which are as follows: Najima Jamilah, Zaira Livier and Abida Segal. I can’t find much about Najima Jamilah other than she may or not be a Black Lives Matter activist who is affiliated with the Tuscon chapter of Black Lives Matter. Zaira Livier is a feminist and Democratic Party activist who supported Bernie Sanders and also has the honor of, apparently, not actually being a US citizen, but rather an “undocumented” immigrant, who it seems rather than work to legally become a US citizen spend her time getting politically active with the progressive Latino voting block. Adiba Segal is a blogger for The Huffington Post and a writer for Everyday Feminism, as well as a burlesque dancer at Ravishly and a self-described food addict, and her work for The Huffington Post is typical banal mom blog stuff.

So in other words, not only are The Satanic Temple promoting and taking part in the Women’s March, a confused, vain and opportunistic march for progressivism, but they also seem to be allying themselves with Black Lives Matter, an organization that promotes the lie that the police are at war with black people as a whole and think America is an actual white supremacist country (despite that it has several black members of government and even had a black President for 8 years, as well as the fact that black people are quite capable amassing large amounts of wealth on their own), and two no-name progressive activists, one of whom is a fucking blogger. These are not powerful women! These are just nobodies – nobodies who happen to be politically active and advocate for progressive and collectivist political ideas but that’s about it! And The Satanic Temple is taking their side. These are supposedly advocates of an individualistic philosophy allying with advocates for collectivist progressivism. That I find to be insufferable, if not intolerable, particularly from a group that has actually supported liberal ideals in the past, and as recently as the last weekend their leader was willing to defend Milo Yiannopolous’ right to free speech and disavowed the “Satanist” protesters who were planning to demonstrate their opposition to him speaking at California Polytechnic.

I’m going to tell you right here, right now, that these people aren’t doing this for Satanism. All the pentagrams, black robes, the dressing up as the Whore of Babylon and the Black Masses in the world won’t change that fact. They are doing because they are liberal progressives and they got some more supporters after the victory of Donald Trump. Yes, I seem to remember that right after the election of Donald Trump The Satanic Temple received an influx of new members, a new flock of sheep who believe that the end of the free world is coming and that America will be more of a “One Nation Under God” sort of country and seek to satisfy their desire for a resistance movement (and in that regard, at least they didn’t go to Keith Olbermann). They know they’ve got new membership, and they intend to capitalize on this, as well as the hip progressive “Trump is Hilter” hysteria – that’s all this is. And they use their existing political philosophy as a nice package for this progressive activism.

And I have half a mind to suspect that these people don’t actually care much for authentic Satanic philosophy to begin with. These are the kind of people who distance themselves from Anton LaVey’s philosophy primarily because Ragnar Redbeard was an avowed racist (at least according to them), despite the fact that Anton LaVey had excised the racial components of Redbeard’s philosophy when using its ideas to form his own – something that Greaves himself acknowledged – and the founder Greaves emphasizes meritocracy as impossible without an “environment of equality”. Well, what equality? Do you mean equality of opportunity? Or do you mean equality of outcome, or parity? Or do you just mean a bunch of socialist nonsense that will never be achieved because it just doesn’t pan out in real life? In my mind, authentic Satanic philosophy is about individualism and merit first, and equality second, or third, – we are equal in the sense that every man and women, regardless of race or creed, can play by the same rules in a society, can share the same liberty and strive to become more than he or she is at present. Beyond that, equality really isn’t the strongest ideal to be found in Satanist philosophy, which is deeply individualistic. Of course Greaves and co can’t have that – they wouldn’t be siding with progressivism if they are truly committed to any deep-seated individualistic philosophy. They may have some aspects of it right, they may talk about how their Satan is the eternal rebel against arbitrary authority, but their actions in the wake of the Inauguration speak louder than words here. Either commit to individualism as you purport to, or continue down the progressive road and remain a trendy left-wing activist group that conforms to leftist ideological trends whilst simultaneously espousing the idea of Satan as the eternal rebel against arbitrary authority.

The sad thing is, I know that The Satanic Temple is capable of being better than this. They are capable of standing up for positive ideals and in at least a somewhat positive manner. And I know that in the past their trolling of religious institutions, or religious influence in secular governing institutions, was largely a force for good because they were trying to show that individual rights and secular government should come first. They should have been a beacon of how, contrary to the Church of Satan’s assertions, Satanic activism can be a force for good. But instead they have proven the Church of Satan to be correct in their assertion that they represent a Satanic philosophy diluted by Tumblr politics.

You can’t practice both Satanism and Judaism

The Times of Israel released an article today about Malcolm Jarry, co-founder of The Satanic Temple who happens to also be a “self-described secular Jew”, and about how The Satanic Temple recently opened a headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts (surprise, surprise). The article talks a lot about what The Satanic Temple does, and the progressive take on Satanism it pursues, but the main point of the article is how Jarry does not consider his Satanism to be in any conflict with Judaism. He apparently views Buddhism the same way. I’m not going to bother with this article’s understanding of Satanism, just the premise the centering around Jarry and The Satanic Temple.

The idea that Judaism is compatible with Satanism in any way, let alone for the same reasons as Buddhism, should be treated as inherently and patently nonsensical. First of all, Buddhism is an atheistic religion. Even the more esoteric forms of Buddhism, which are based off of Mahayana Buddhism and often involve magical beings, do not believe in a God. Judaism, however, is a monotheistic religion, the starting premise of which involves YHWH – you know, the same tyrannical deity that all Satanists are against and refuse to worship? Judaism is based on worshiping YHWH, and just like in Christianity the individual is part of a hierarchy in which God is above Man and subject to laws and commandments that suit an authoritarian God. Satanism, by contrast, has few hard and fast rules and is focused ultimately on the individual. Not to mention, one of the premises of Satanism is that, ultimately, Man is God.

Second, Jarry as a TST member seems to prize the idea of religious freedom . In Judaism, thou shalt have no other gods before YHWH. Even if Satan isn’t an actual entity in the Jewish faith, you are still revering Satan as a symbol, a symbol in opposition to YHWH no less. And engaging in ceremonies that no doubt would be considered blasphemous to all three of the main Abrahamic religions. And I don’t think the New Testament means anything in traditional Judaism, so the only God you get is the God of the Old Testament, and that God is fucking brutal. He wields totalitarian power over his creation, willing even to commit acts of genocide, and this is justified in Judaism just as it is in Christianity. Satanism rejects the totalitarian power of Jehovah/YHWH, it stresses individual freedom, as I said before. If you think that resisting tyrannical power and worshiping tyrannical power are compatible, you are engaging in obvious double-think. And if you don’t feel the same way about Christianity, a direct off-shoot of Judaism, then you are a hypocrite – plain and simple. You can’t win with this way of thinking.

Third, the article says this:

In addition to Jarry’s belief that Judaism and Satanism can co-exist, there are parallels with how Judaism and Satanism have been branded by their detractors, he said.

“The false accusations that have been thrown at Jews historically are similar to what some people say about Satanism,” said Jarry, mentioning accusations of blood libel and — more recently — fabricated allegations that Israel perpetrates genocide against Palestinian children.

How the hell is this even a parallel to Satanism? The only parallel here is that they’re both stereotyped, which in itself does nothing more than construct a victim narrative. And while the Jewish community is fine to craft a victim narrative based on identity politics based on a history of persecution, Satanists aren’t. We don’t desire victim status, so we sure as hell will not welcome any victim narratives. Not to mention, . This is the only parallel given in this entire article. If that’s the basis of Jarry’s claim of parallel’s between Satanism and Judaism.

Since he mentioned Buddhism as well, there are barely any parallels between Satanism and Buddhism either! Right down to the starting premise of a lack of individuated self or consciousness and a rejection of desire. His case is weak, and I suspect any Satanist would know this. But of course, we are dealing with The Satanic Temple, and it seems they are one of those types of people that’s all about inclusiveness, apparently. Typical progressives. It says a lot about a high-ranking member of The Satanic Temple that this, this, is what he bases the idea that two diametrically opposed belief systems being totally compatible as opposed to being defined by diametrically opposing philosophies.

Honestly, The Satanic Temple does good things often times (like recently alerting their followers to a fundraiser to pay for a victim of anti-Satanic conspiracy theorists to be given a proper funeral by her son), but this is just another case where it’s hard for me not to blast The Satanic Temple for, well frankly, being bloody ridiculous.

Link to article:

A critique of the Satanic Temple’s Seven Tenets

It occurred to me recently that, because of my more critical stance on The Satanic Temple, I should do a critique on their seven main tenets. I’ll do this the same way I did my critique of the 11 Luciferian Points of Power.

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

Now here’s my take on each of them.

  1. It’s very telling that this is the first tenet because this is one of the main points of divergence from other variants of Satanism, particularly the original Satanism espoused by Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan that founded. Compassion and empathy for all creatures sounds like something a Christian, a Hindu or a Buddhist might espouse, even if placed within the confines of reason. I would think that, for a Satanist, it is best to show compassion and empathy only to those that deserve it. I do not think you can show compassion and empathy to all things without being a bodhisattva.
  2. What is being stated here? Is justice being defined as something that takes primacy over the law, rather than something that is propagated through the rule of law? If that’s the case, I don’t think I like where this is heading. The only way to achieve “justice” outside the rule of law is through vigilantism. Or, alternatively, trial by public opinion as is fashionable in the modern age. Do you know what that means? It means that someone can be accused of rape, he would be found not guilty in a court of law, but he would be still be hounded by people who misguidedly believe that the voices of the “victims” have been silenced or that they matter more than an impartial ruling. Such a culture would end in the presumption of guilt, rather than the presumption of innocence. Is that justice? I would usually emphatically say no.
  3. Fair enough. I suppose this is the main justification for your abortion-related activism and your support of Planned Parenthood, but it is a fine tenet. But if we are going to talk about abortion, what about the body of the fetus? Is it your body to do with as you wish? And we’re not talking about a body part that you modify in accordance with your desires, but rather a growing life-form that depends on the body of the mother and will eventually become conscious and alive.
  4. Does that include bakeries? Don’t get me wrong I agree with the principle, but I’m curious if they’re willing to include freedom of conscience for private business owners on that list as well. I won’t be surprised if they aren’t, by the way.
  5. I may hold you to that. But seriously, this is essentially a statement that objective reality, determined by the best scientific understanding currently available, is the ideal basis for forming your worldview. No real issues here. In fact, you could argue that the same, or similar, rationalist approach is found within the Church of Satan and The Sect of the Horned God.
  6. The point here is pretty straightforward: nobody’s perfect, so don’t try and act you are and make up for what what mistakes you make instead of justifying them. That’s completely fine in my books.
  7. Except for #2, clearly. But anyways, we get the clear sense that the aim is to propagate the values of compassion, justice and benevolence, whatever those things entail in their minds. This, again, establishes divergence from pretty much most other forms of Satanism – which makes it interesting how both the first and last tenets serve this function.

The Satanic Temple and The Witch

This post actually has two main components: the first of these is a short review of Robert Eggers’ film The Witch, originally released in January 2015, and the second of these is an analysis of Jex Blackmore’s claim that the film is “a transformative Satanic experience”. Because let’s face it, I think we know we’re in for a good time when The Satanic Temple starts declaring something to be culturally relevant for Satanism.

It should go without saying that there will be some spoilers contained within this entire post, but I will try to keep said spoilers to a minimum.

The subtitle of the film is “A New-England Folktale”, and this is exactly what the film is – a historical folk tale of 17th century witchcraft and the beliefs surrounding, centering around a devout Puritan Christian family living in the wilderness in fear of the forces of darkness. It certainly does seem like this film was informed by a very historical perspective. It’s also one of those films that builds up slowly, which in a sense reminds me of older horror films I saw before over the years, and the film gets more and more sinister as it goes on. The witches are a mostly malevolent force in the films, which would definitely fit into the folklore and belief at the time. And its because of this that the family in the film are so fearfully devout. It’s to the point where I can’t help feeling even a little bad for the father. He gets gradually unhinged over the supernatural happenings that befall his family and take to some rather fanatical measures, but it’s clear to me what he wants is to make sure his children are safe. And yet you do get the sense that there is a real dominance of fear in the environment. Part of it comes from the fear of God, or losing the grace of God, but I think part of it also comes from the family being totally cut-off from the rest of the world and just trying to survive on their own. I can’t imagine it was very easy – in fact, I imagine it was quite difficult. In fact, some of the tension between the mother and father is very much related to that. There is a certain authenticity to the film that isn’t particularly difficult to spot, and I am certain that this sets it apart from many of the other horror movies out there. And I think you can see this in the highly convincing portrayal of the characters. Eggers ought to be commended for the way he achieved this authenticity. As chilling as the film tends to be, the climax takes a very enchanting tenor – enchanting in a way that is in keeping with the dark mood of the film, and befitting what is surely the climax of great tension and fear, as well as some death.

If I were to give this film a rating, I would say about 4½ stars.

Now that I feel I’ve addressed the film itself, let’s address the claims of Jex Blackmore that this film is some kind of “transformative Satanic experience” and the spark for some kind of “Satanic revolution”.

I think the case for Blackmore’s claim is best laid in the her “letter”. Let’s go through it point by point.

Dear Comrade

With the discipline of a historian and the voice of a rebel, award-winning filmmaker Robert Eggers celebrates the sociocultural roots of the witch as a consequence of parasitic, puritanical worldviews. The Witch examines theocratic patriarchy in microcosm, documenting the pathology of a religious hysteria that is still influential in politics today.

OK, right off the bat I’m worried that Blackmore is referring to the potential recipient of this letter as “comrade“, unless that’s intended as some kind of satire.

But I digress, the only hysteria I see influential in politics today is the Marxist social justice hysteria that the media is tacitly promoting and progressive politicians are aligning themselves to. The conservative Christian hysteria I assume you’re referring to is actually dying. You still have fundamentalist Christians trying to stir the pot, I grant that, but they are almost a non-issue because of how toothless a political force they actually are. In fact, whenever you do get fundamentalists in the media, they are often reviled because of the ludicrous things they spout or advocate, and I doubt most Christians are actually on the side of the old hyper-conservative religious right anymore. And that’s just the US. In my country and the rest of Europe, the religious right may as well be dead already. God is simply not a part of my country’s politics. The only reason God is a part of your country’s politics is because of things like “In God We Trust”, which was introduced in 1956 as a response to the fact that communist Russia was officially atheist and anti-religious (more on that later on).

Also, the idea of the witch and of witchcraft goes back much further than the Puritans and their worldview and has existed in many cultures throughout the world. It isn’t just the Christian Puritans who believe in witches. Only our modern conception of witches comes from the Christians.

I speak to you as a Satanist, an individual who embraces her pariah status and actively challenges arbitrary authority in defense of personal sovereignty. To The Satanic Temple, Satan is a symbol of defiance, independence, wisdom and self-empowerment, and serves as an affirmation of natural existence.

A fine explanation of your values, and personally I’m sure I share your values in a way, but they don’t mean much in relation to the film, which is what you’re discussing.

Also, I don’t know that you are a pariah. Maybe you are in a more conservative community, but the mainstream media doesn’t reserve much condemnation for you or your organization as far as I have seen from them.

As Satanists, we are ever mindful of the plight of women and outsiders throughout history who suffered under the hammer of theocracy and yet fought to empower themselves. This film provides context to a period of American history that is too often fetishized by those seeking to wield this hammer once again.

Who now? Most of the time I see the historical witch craze being fetishized not by those evil Christian conservatives wishing to wield “the hammer of theocracy” again, but rather by filmmakers for the purpose of entertainment. Believe me, I’ve seen my fair share of witchcraft-themed horror movies from the good old days, and I’m probably going to see more in my lifetime.

Also, I would believe the point of theocracy were it not for the fact that in the film, the only structure we deal with is a sole family unit in the middle of nowhere. The real theocracy? They were banished from it, apparently for reasons which suggest religious disagreement or non-conformity – at least that’s what I infer from the father’s talk of not being judged by “false Christians”.

The point of empowerment I think is mostly subjective. You could argue that the girl named Thomasin may have sought empowerment as a witch – she sort of reveals this herself after the death of her brother Caleb. But what about the other witches? They don’t seem to be struggling against anything. They are mostly just murdering people, and livestock. And what about the infant twins, Jonas and Mercy, who claim to communicate with Black Phillip and are later revealed to have made a covenant with him. What do those mere infants wish to gain?

While the patriarchy makes witches of only the most socially vulnerable members of society, Eggers’ film refuses to construct a victim narrative. Instead it features a declaration of feminine independence that both provokes puritanical America and inspires a tradition of spiritual transgression. We are empowered by the narrative of The Witch: a story of pathological pride, old-world religious paradigms, and an outsider who grabs persecution by the horns. Efforts to oppress and demonize the heretic prove to be a path to destruction. The witch does not burn but rises up in the night.

The patriarchy? I can only assume we’re talking about the historical patriarchal family unit depicted in the film, because that is the only patriarchy depicted in the film itself. At least I hope anyway. You’re either referring to some kind of historical patriarchy, or the modern feminist myth of the patriarchy. If it’s the latter, just stop. Please. Because then you’d also be viewing this from a feminist lens – which is dumb. But you are right about the fact that there isn’t really a victim narrative going on here, or at least not one that I managed to see anyway.

“Puritanical America” – there we go again – has not been provoked. Search Google for the Christian reaction to the film, and you find no news stories about Christian outrage surrounding the film. At all. I get Christians on Christian websites discussing the film, and a “theological” review of the film, but no evidence for “puritanical Christian America” being provoked. Also, what outsider? If you mean the fat old witch who sometimes appears, then she isn’t being persecuted. She’s eviscerating a goat, and one of the pilgrim father William’s children is almost blamed for it. If you mean the other witch, she curses the boy Caleb, causing his eventual death. If you mean Thomasin, then she’s not an outsider. She’s oldest daughter in that Puritan family. And what about the toddlers, Jonas and Mercy, who made the covenant with Satan (Black Phillip)? Again, it’s not clear what they, mere infants, were trying to gain. It is worth noting that Thomasin does eventually embrace the role of the witch in full and make her own covenant with Satan – after Thomasin kills her own mother, who blames her for Black Phillip goring her father, and after witches kill two of her brothers. Most of the time the witches, as I said before, kill people and livestock – either directly or through some kind of curse – and it’s not known why. I have to wonder what kind of role models you see in this film, since you are so intent on finding role models for your values.

Also, the witches are never burned. Come to think of it, nothing bad ever really happens to any of the witches except Thomasin being boarded in the shed with her infant siblings and her almost getting killed by her mother, and that was after her father died and her mother…I really shouldn’t need to repeat myself here.

The Witch is not only a powerful cinematic experience, but also an impressive presentation of Satanic insight that will inform contemporary discussion of religious experience. Yet, The Witch is more than a film; it is a transformative Satanic experience that, in its call to arms, becomes an act of spiritual sabotage and liberation from the oppressive traditions of ourforefathers.”

What do you call it when one of the witches kills a baby, an innocent baby boy, and grinds him up to make magical ointment for her body? Or when the boy Caleb is cursed by a witch, which leads to his death? Is that necessarily reflect of your Satanic values at all, given Anton LaVey – the father of modern Satanism – made it explicitly clear that killing children was unethical and given that you yourself are surely against the idea of killing children for what I would think you might deem as superstitious reasons? Isn’t Satanism generally against killing children? And if it is, I would have a long hard think of how witches killing children is conducive to a Satanic revolution. Personally I think it looks like you’re the one’s who are imprinting Satanism – or at least your particular brand of it – onto the film by viewing it with your own ideological lens.

Honestly, there’s a profound lack of self-awareness in just the last part of that paragraph alone. I am of the impression that if a colonial-era Puritan were to travel forward in time to see the America of today, he/she would be aghast at how permissive and liberal it has become compared to the colonial society of his/her day. Yet you, Mrs Blackmore, act as though this is not the case. You write this statement as though adultery is still punished with having an A compulsorily printed on the back of your garments. You write it as though the accusation of witchcraft will still get you burned at the stake. And needless to say, you aren’t thrown in jail for your religious beliefs, or worse as would be the case in most of the Middle East. Hell I’m not even sure there was a free market, at least in the modern sense, in the Puritan era. In fact, your freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution of the United States. Pretty much all the oppressive traditions of your forefathers are gone, the old-world religious paradigms are either dying out or being forced to adapt. The only places on Earth I can think of where this isn’t the case is most of the Middle East and much of Africa, as well as certain insular Islamic communities in Europe and the UK.  You have to admit, our modern way of life, even the modern Christian way of life, is alien to the Puritan Christian worldview, and was made possible long after their time by men who harbored the ideals of classical liberalism, secular government and the freedom they provide in their hearts, not the religious paradigm of the Puritans. So what are you fighting against exactly? Well from what I’ve seen of The Satanic Temple’s activism, you are opposing what you see as the cultural influence of Christianity (in some cases legitimately problematic but in other cases they really aren’t that big a deal – such as nativity scenes) as well as  fighting off the last stubborn remnants of the Christian right, but that’s it. That’s why you won’t question Islam despite it being the far more threatening religious force, not to mention way worse than the Christian fundamentalists considering what the Middle East is like under Islamic theocratic rule. It’s also why you talk of the persecution of thought and reason in the next paragraph yet you don’t bat an eye when such a thing is actually happening in universities across America and it’s in the name of Marxism instead of religion, and that also stands to do far more harm to society than Christianity in the long run.

It is time to awaken. As we stand at the crossroads of history, let us confront the blind and self-righteous who persecute thought and reason. Let us rise up in celebration of our Satanic nature and embrace the embodiment of the witch. This is a new American era. Join us.

Yes, let us confront the blind and self-righteous who persecute thought and reason by attaching a movie to our cause. But, as we’ve established, only when it’s the Christians. Because fuck Christians.

Well there you have it. The “Satanic revolution” is on, apparently. Can’t wait for the next campaign they have planned. I’m sure it’s going to be pushing for Christians to pay reparations for the descendants of witches who were burned in Salem.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t address claims made in the video released by Jex Blackmore to promote The Witch and her “Satanic revolution”, which was actually the first thing I saw before I got to see The Witch.

We live in a Judeo-Christian society, so concepts and embodiments of evil and embodiments of good are part of the imagination of Americans.

No you don’t. Or at least, your society isn’t actually structured around Christian teachings and Biblical law. One might argue that America has a somewhat Christian culture, and it is true that a lot of Americans are Christians – about 70% in fact unless I’m mistaken. But your culture isn’t particularly religious, and is only somewhat influenced by Christianity, and in terms of the way your country is ordered and structured, you don’t live in a Judeo-Christian country at all. You live in what is by and large a secular country. If, say, the Ten Commandments were actually the basis of American law, your freedom of religion would simply not exist, because remember that the first two of these commandments stress that you are allowed only to worship Jehovah and are forbidden to worship any other gods. And that’s not getting into all sorts of other laws and rules found in the Bible that might be counter to the foundations of a liberal democracy. Not to mention, much of the Founding Fathers were actually Deists, some were atheists, and they generally felt that religion and faith in general were a negative influence. So in other words, when they wrote about the rights endowed in Man by “their creator”, they’re not talking about Jehovah. They were probably talking about Nature’s God – the God that Deists believe is determined by reason and observation of the natural world instead of religious faith and revelation. The only reason people get off claiming this is a Christian country is because of communist Russia being atheistic, and that was used as justification to adopt “In God We Trust” as the motto and the addition of “One Nation Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. None of that was part of American culture until the 1950’s. Christianity was used to assert just how different American society was from the “godless” Russians, possibly because Christianity was popular among Americans and organized religion was big at the time, or because some idiot thought the Founding Fathers were actually talking about the Christian God.

Also, those embodiments of good and evil that influence the imaginations of Americans are actually older than Christianity. In fact, some would argue that those embodiments are somewhat borrowed, even plagiarized to a certain degree, from other religions. So needless to say, they have been in all sorts of cultures, not just America’s, for an extremely long time.

The witch was kind of the handmaiden of Satan, it took a life of its own because it’s it’s really the manifestation of evil in the female form.

From the Christian folkloric point of view, this is actually true. I mean, for instance, the infamous Malleus Maleficuram’s ideas seemed to fuel a lot of the witch craze in Europe, and one of its central claims is that “all witchcraft comes from a carnal lust, which is in women insatiable”. What you’ve said is also still true today in the Middle East and in Africa, where people are still accused of being witches and sometimes killed over it. Saudi Arabia actually has an anti-witchcraft unit in its religious police. Go figure.

The fear of witches and of influence of the Devil came from Europe and hundreds of years of perpetuating this mythology about satanic influence.

Well actually, if you think about it, it comes from the Bible. It goes as far back as the Old Testament, which is based on the Tanakh (otherwise known as the Hebrew Bible), which itself is a collection of texts from Jewish faith. So this tradition goes as far back as Judaism, which started in what is now Israel. Not to mention, the mere idea of influence from a devil is originally Zoroastrian (hello, Angra Mainyu anyone?), and Zoroastrianism came out of what is now Iran. So yeah, in a way, this actually dates back to the Middle East and has been around for several thousand years, not hundreds of years. But the particular European belief regarding witchcraft, I suppose, may have taken a life of its own and it does influence a lot of our cultural perceptions regarding witchcraft.

The influence of Satan and satanic influence on women and on colonies is what compelled the religious structure together and people suffered greatly as a result of it.

Don’t you mean “kept the religious structure together”?

But yes, there was a lot of suffering under the rigid religious structures. At least in Puritan America. This was true in Europe as well, but the general idea of the medieval era being referred to as the “Dark Ages” is also one that is questioned.

The witch idea deserves more consideration because of the history and evolution in American thought of the witch being dangerous. It is my hope that we can encourage people to see this film and they undergo a transformation and inspire a Satanic experience.

OK, from there it is clear that Jex Blackmore hopes that people will have a “Satanic experience” and, as was already established, this is intended to be the basis for a “Satanic revolution”. She and The Satanic Temple are very clearly co-opting the film to suit their goals. Not much more needs to be said.

So after all that, I’d like to conclude this post by saying this: I do actually encourage you to go see The Witch, not because of The Satanic Temple but because it is, on its own, a good film. But I would also like to say that I am actually disappointed with The Satanic Temple at this point. They say this film is a “Satanic experience”, but I get the feeling this is based on subjective judgement of the people in The Satanic Temple. And based on that, they want to co-opt the film for their own ideological goals. Since The Satanic Temple are obviously very progressive politically (as is evidenced by a combination their overall ideals, the sentiments of its spokesperson Lucien Greaves, the identity politics virtue-signalling regarding Muslims, their indifference towards any religion besides Chrisitanity on the basis of religious “privilege” – a word which by itself should raise flags in any mind that isn’t completely destroyed by social justice – and the means by which they have sought the achievement of their goals), it strikes me as yet another instance of progressives trying to co-opt art, entertainment and popular culture for their own ideological agenda.

It’s not hard to imagine how deeply against such an idea I am, because I have seen this before. With the new Ghostbusters, we basically had a remake that came across as a progressive hijacking of an established franchise, and everyone who criticized this was deemed as a “misogynist”. We see all kinds of comic book related entertainment such as Captain America, Iron Man, Spider Man and others having established characters altered for the sake of media representation of certain races, genders or sexualities rather than either creating new characters or even simply utilizing female, LGBT and non-white comic book characters that already exist. You have all sorts of articles from various magazines and news sites about how everything under the sun can be feminist (the most recent I can think of is how Barack Obama being a dad somehow makes him a feminist), which just obviously screams of an ideology that exists to co-opt everything else. Not to mention, the entire GamerGate movement was partially a reaction to the continuing encroachment of ideologically motivated individuals taking a role in games design and video game criticism (mainly through calling everything sexist and racist and so forth for no good reason), as well as ideologically motivated individuals perverting the cause of journalism, even to the point where objectivity is seen as a worthless thing to strive for, and then the gaming press decided it didn’t have to cater to an audience that rejected their agenda. Believe me, I know progressive co-opting of art, entertainment and culture when I see it, and I don’t like it – not a goddamn bit!

So no, I as a Satanist, do not wish to part of any revolution The Satanic Temple wants to start, because I view them as progressive Satanists that co-opt what they can for an ideological agenda. They may do good things, and they may well be Satanists rather than simply non-Satanists using Satanism to troll Christians, or they may simply be non-Satanic progressives who are using Satanism as part of their own activism. At any rate, if I do want a Satanic revolution, it will not be the progressive Satanic revolution that The Satanic Temple are pushing for. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a warning to any of my fellow Satanists who aren’t TST members (I could extend this to Luciferians): don’t get ideological with your beliefs. Don’t go and use your beliefs as a vehicle for ideological activism. People like The Satanic Temple are the result.

Once again, go and see The Witch, and be sure to remove any ideological lens you have before doing so!

Link to Jex Blackmore’s letter (where you will also find the video):

After School Satan

Once again The Satanic Temple is making an effort to reach out to children by spreading its teachings and philosophy through schools. This time they are doing so through an after school program, which they call After School Satan, that they plan to introduce to American elementary schools. They released a video yesterday explaining how they envisage the program to be. Predictably, The Satanic Temple justify this program by pointing out that evangelical Christians (*sigh* those guys again, they’re almost not worth it at this point) hold their own religious programs in elementary schools across America. In the video description, the Satanic Temple refer to an organization called the Child Evangelism Fellowship, a group aimed at spreading the Christian gospel to children (as the name would suggest).

While I do personally bemoan the sport of going after Christians as opposed to going after Islam – the more pertinent religious threat at large in today’s world – because I see evangelical Christians as the easy target, there is some validity to The Satanic Temple’s concern regarding the CEF, specifically the Good News Clubs they operate. A Good News Club is an after-school Christian education (or, arguably,  indoctrination) program aimed at elementary school children. These clubs feature Bible lessons and promise fun activities such as songs and games centered around the gospel. However, these programs seem to be accused of indoctrinating children through shame and regular proselytizing about sin and eternal damnation in Hell, and avoiding that through obedience to Jehovah. Just take a look these books they hand about shame. In addition, according to journalist Katherine Stewart, there are about 3,000 of these Good News Clubs nationwide. Evidently The Satanic Temple feels that the best way to oppose Christian indoctrination is by setting up their own programs with their own activities in opposition to the Good News Clubs in order to teach a different set of values.

It’s worth noting that The Satanic Temple aren’t the only organization setting up its own counter-Good News Club program. There is also an organization called the Better News Club, an atheist and humanist organization that has set up Young Skeptics programs. These programs exist to counter the religious indoctrination of these Good News Clubs by teaching skepticism, reason and science and organizing activities themed around that purpose.

Personally, apart from the fact that these programs follow The Satanic Temple’s standard tactic of opposing the presence of Christianity by inserting Satanism in public avenues, I have no major problem with the programs themselves. If anything, thinking about it, I actually believe it to be at least a better idea than the idea of them offering Satanic coloring books last year.

The only other major problem I have is the way the program is the promotional video. To the outsider, the video seems like it’s promoting a horror movie or something like that. I kind of like the video, but that’s because I am a Satanist myself and I like what that program might offer, at least to a child. But at the same time, I think it’s a bit creepy that a video with dark, droning music and sepia-tone imagery that, again, must seem ghoulish to the outsider and possibly to children is a video promoting an after school club intended for school children. I feel like the video is aimed at other Satanists, which is a problem considering that I would imagine the intent is to advertise an after-school program to people who probably aren’t Satanists.