Way, way back in the early ’80s, when I was a kid with a very concrete understanding of spiritual matters, I took the whole Satanism thing very seriously, which is somewhat embarrassing now, but I was just a kid and there were a lotta grown-ass adults who were taking it pretty seriously, so I have an excuse. As my blossoming alcoholism and clinical depression overwhelmed my naïve Christianity, resulting in my becoming a surly, slurring atheist, I started thinking of Satanists more as idiots than agents of evil, self-centered assholes at worst; goth drama queens at best. When I got sober and started trying to find value in all spiritual paths, I didn’t bother reassessing my assessment of Satanism because I didn’t consider it a spiritual path. I still don’t, actually, so if you was thinking this was gonna go toward me learning to respect and appreciate Satanism, please allow me to disabuse of that notion. I have no respect nor appreciation for the Church of Satan, Wicca, Scientology or modern Atheism with a capital A. They’re all fake religions for flaky dumbos.
But the Church of Satan has come up in my consciousness lately, because of a coupla things – there was a post on Bored Panda (https://www.boredpanda.com/) about Satanic groups doing fundraisers for local charities and other altruistic works which I kinda glanced at but didn’t think about because why would I spend any time thinking about some teenagers with eyeliner having a car wash to raise money for the local SPCA in some town in Florida or whatever. Then I was re-watching “Teenage Bounty Hunters”, which a show about a couple sixteen-year-old sisters – rich, white, Christian, southern girls – who become bounty hunters. I think TBH handles some issues very well. The sisters deal with teenage stuff, talk about it, figure things out, and it’s handled pretty well. In one episode, one sister is shunned by her social group and considers hanging out with the “bad” kids, who turn out to be goth teens who are in the church of Satan and who invite her to participate in their altruistic activities. The point there is to make the character think about her assumptions – Christians are “good”, others are “bad”.
These two references to the potential altruism of the members of the church of Satan got sorta stuck in my thoughts which was annoying, but I’ve gotten used to that. Sometimes there’s a reason something is bubbling up in my brain slurry, so I didn’t focus on it much, but figured the possibility was there for some kinda insight, which came about because I was up all night at the shelter with a Bible and I read Matthew 21:28-31 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2021%3A28-31&version=NRSV). All of this was happening at the same time that my Twitter feed was a lotta progressive, white Christians suddenly going “Holy shit! We can’t say this isn’t who we are because this is who we are.” (Full disclosure: I am a progressive, white Christian.) And then I thought “If fucking Satan worshipers are doing good deeds, it’s because Christians have left them undone.”
See, just not storming the Capitol waving a confederate flag with one hand and a Christian flag with the other ain’t good enough. Just voting Left, recycling and not being a racist dickhead is not enough. We are called – Christians are called to love, help, heal and restore. If actual fucking Satanists have any opportunity at all to step up and do some kind charitable deed, it’s because actual fucking Christians have failed. That might be a bit extreme. I certainly think that Muslims have first dibs on helping Muslims – Christians should not run around trying to solve everybody’s problems without being invited. But if the local Muslim community is struggling, the Christian thing to do is to offer a little assistance.
Pause for a moment for an aside. Most of the meals at the shelter are brought in by church groups who also serve the meals. Sometimes – very rarely – some of the church volunteers will come out and interact with the guests. T’other night, when I wasn’t working, a bus load of church youth showed up from some local church that’s all rapture this and rapture that, dished out some food and then went around bothering the guests: asking ’em personal questions like “Why are you homeless?” and “Have you thought about turning to Jesus instead of heroin?” They pissed everybody off and had one trans guest in tears. Hopefully, they won’t be allowed to bring meals again. But what the living fuck? How is it possible to be so insensitive and self-righteous? Especially when you’re a Christian whose Christianity is based on some bullshit that ain’t even in the Bible? Nutjob rapture Christians are just like Scientologists and Satanists in my book.
Okay, back to the main rant, which is really the same rant. Christianity has become a blight in America because some Christians have aligned themselves with white nationalism and other Christians have stood by going “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Yes, you are. Yes, we are. We, progressive, white Christians, are fully responsible for the fact that we did fuck all while the message of Christ was hijacked by white supremacists. We are Cain standing on Abel’s grave saying “It wasn’t me” and God ain’t that dumb.
And then fucking Satanists stepped in to do the work that Christians shoulda been doing. Dang. Harken ye back to that passage from Matthew, sisters and brothers, because the church of Satan fits into the role of the brother who said, “Nope” and then went to the vineyard, while Christians are a lot more like the dude who said “Yes, Father, I will” and then spent a hundred years saying “Well, I’m not a racist, but…”
I truly hate that. It really grinds my gears or twists my nipples or whatever. But I can’t pretend it ain’t true. Yes, some Christians have been doing very good work all along, probably with full awareness of their neighbors who weren’t walking the walk, prob’ly hoping to lead by example, yadda yadda. It is kinda tacky to point out other people faults and I fully understand the thought process that goes “I’ll just do the right thing and hope other people catch on.” That didn’t work in Germany when the OG Nazis came out from under rocks and it ain’t gonna work now.
I’m not shocked by the presence of racism in America’s churches. I knew it was there. Still, the image of that buffalo-hatted shit-fer-brains with the white power tattoo invoking Christ’s name in the middle of an attempted coup….. that is so fucking ridiculous. Compared to that, goth teens with eyeliner and Baphomet t-shirts are fucking respectable.
American Christians. Time to do the right thing. That’s either A) stand up and proclaim the message of Christ in word and deed; or B) join the church of Satan and help your neighbor.