August 17, 2018. Bastard HQ.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled venomous travelogue to catch you up on recent events in Little Rock, Arkansas, where representatives of the Satanic Temple are presently boolin outta control.
Arkansas has been struggling with controversy surrounding the separation of church and state for a while now, if by “struggling with controversy surrounding” you mean “baffled by”. It came to a head in 2017 when they constructed a monument to the Ten Commandments at the Capitol Building in Little Rock. A gorgeous 6-foot marble dealie.
This didn’t sit too good with a dude named Michael Tate Reed, who drove his car into the monument that night.
That’s already funny enough, but it turns out Mikey wasn’t a radicalized atheist! You can tell because radicalized atheists do nothing but smoke pot and have lengthy debates in the comments on Chris Hitchens youtube videos. No, this is better; dude is a staunch Christian who believed that God called on him to destroy the monument.
The Little Rock gubmint decided this is the hill they’re gonna die on. Give up now and the devil wins, right? So they build another monument, another gorgeous 6-foot marble dealie. They’re getting criticism from all sides, but they remain strong in their conviction. This is rapidly become a crusade!
Well, you need the polarity for a good narrative conflict, especially on matters as grandiose as good versus evil. Enter the Satanic Temple, looking to be your heretic, yeaaaah.
These witchpunk son of a bitches load up their eight-and-a-half-foot Baphomet statue, ordinarily located in their cute little art gallery in Salem, Massachusetts, and cruise down to Little Rock to parade it around the Capitol and generally cause a fuss.
And what a fuss it has caused.
Here’s a couple tweets I stole:
Sure, there’s a legitimate realpolitik interplay at work here, but I’ve met the Satanic Temple. Two years ago, I took pictures at their podium (which was forbidden, but I figured if anyone would appreciate transgressing arbitrary demonstrative propriety rules, it would be the Satanic temple). I got pictures sitting on the Baphomet statue, which will show up one day in a #tbt post.
The political aspect is theater, because, in their devotion to discord, they see politics as cheap theater. These kids are just out there having a good time.
Baphy represents the dichotomous nature of everything. Animal and man, male and female, above and below, you get the picture. It’s almost too appropriate to wheel him out next to the 10 Commandments monument, especially since you know these obnoxious little neo-goths are telling the religious right counterprotesters, “our monolith is bigger than yours”.
The Satanic Temple gets a bad rap because of edgy teenagers in facepaint who kill sacrifice cats or whatever, but what you’re talking about there is a perversion of Christianity. See, acknowledging a “Mr. Satan” as a spiritual entity means you’re playing the God game. To have a real Satan means you have a real Sky Dad that he’s in rebellion against, and believing in one necessarily predicates believing in the other.
If your grandma believes in angels, she must also believe in demons, but it’s best not to mention that to her.
Satanists actually believe in a sequence of decidedly libertarian (or maybe libertine) anti-commandments called the Seven Tenets. They look a little something like this:
- “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.”
- “The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.”
- “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”
- “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 one’s own.”
- “Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.”
- “People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and remediate any harm that may have been caused.”
- “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.”
Pretty close to Buddhism, but with spookier statuary.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s kind of nice to see headlines about a “religious conflict” in the news without a bunch of explosions and corpses. And if nothing else, you got to give them points for the aesthetic.
All right, kids. Vaya con Dios, or Hail Satan, or Hail Eris, or namaste, or whatever the hell it is you do. Juju is juju. However you handle it, keep your mana bar full.