In a bizarre move, the UK Church of Satan denounced pro-abortionists for taking Satan’s name in vain. How twisted must your cause be if even Satanists are distancing themselves from you?
A short recap just in case you’ve been living in a desert for the last few weeks: Some Texas abortion activists opposing the ban on post-20-week abortions chanted “Hail, Satan!” at a group of pro-life activists who were, for their part, singing “Amazing Grace.”
This invocation of Satan’s name, as would be expected, drew the ire of many pro-life activists who viewed the taunting as more or less hard evidence of the deep-seated connection between abortion and the forces of evil.
It was very bad publicity for pro-choice activists, so most of them weren’t terribly happy about the chanting either. They either discounted it as an antagonistic prank that perhaps was in bad taste, or they rejected it as the illegitimate exploit of a fringe group of desperate radicals who have no part in the mainstream pro-choice movement.
The conservative media had a heyday (of course). I didn’t think much on it. It really did seem like a stupid prank to me. But now it’s gotten interesting.
The Church of Satan tweeted this on July 3:1
Unfortunate to see Satan’s name used in such a diabolical manner. Another example of what ‘Satanism’ doesn’t represent. #HailSatan
I’m not sure what to make of this. The pejorative use of “diabolical” is either a very clever tongue-in-cheek etymological allusion or a hilariously ignorant word foible. I’m leaning toward the latter. Diabolical means “of the Devil” or “reminding one of Satan,” after all. So… if you’re the Church of Satan, being diabolical is, like, good, right? And what exactly was bad (whatever that means for a Satanist) about what the pro-abortionists did? What exactly did the keepers of the Dark Lord’s good, er bad, name mean about what “Satanism doesn’t represent”?
One of two approaches:
First, maybe they think abortion is not in keeping with the tenets of Satanism. I doubt this is the case. Satanism is all about self-gratification. Anton LaVey wrote The Satanic Bible, which the UK Church of Satan follows as a guideline. In LaVey’s words, “Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence.”2 Such a philosophy does in fact encourage a generally positive stance on abortion. In fact, that actually is the stance of almost every pro-abortion activist. They probably just didn’t realize how “Satanic” they were.
But I think the Church of Satan was annoyed for a different reason which has more to do with the name and “reality” of Satan. Here’s something that might come as a shock: Most Satanists do not believe in or worship Satan. Notice that LaVey doesn’t say, “Satan endorses indulgence…” He says “Satan represents…” To the Church of Satan, Satan is a conceptual figure with symbolic power. They have often been called “atheistic Satanists.” Therefore, they may have a problem with saying things like, “Hail, Satan!” because Satan doesn’t exist and is not a valid object of worship. Satanism isn’t about Satan… it’s about the individual. They hate reinforcing the old concept of Satan and Satanism. In other words, they took the pro-abortion activists seriously… or thought that since the rest of us did (did we?), they should distance themselves.
The fatal flaw of their rejoinder is that they have failed to see the situation for what it is. In fact, everyone seems to be failing to see the situation for what it is. Obviously, the chanters of “Hail, Satan!” were not literally invoking the name of a dark and powerful being that they felt actually existed. They were merely doing what they thought would be most offensive, obnoxious, and repulsive to their opponents. I highly doubt a single one of them believes Satan actually exists. But they all knew that the Christians they were taunting do believe in Satan, so they invoked his name in the same way I might chase a superstitious enemy around with a broken mirror. They view us as a bunch of ignorant, touchy fools, in other words. If I had been there, I would have just chuckled. Who are we … Dana Carvey’s “church lady”?
That’s who they think we are. And we proved them right. Again. But let’s not beat ourselves up too much. Even the Church of Satan took them seriously. Maybe they took them seriously because we took them seriously. Then why, Church of Satan tweeter, did you get annoyed with the chanters instead of with touchy Christians? Or maybe you didn’t take the chanters seriously, and you were angry that they had invoked Satan’s name without believing in Satan. They had “taken the Dark Lord’s name in vain.” How dare they. Oh wait, that’s what the Church of Satan does every day: use Satan’s name without believing in him. And Christians are hypocrites? I really don’t get why Satan’s church even got involved here. Did they just feel compelled to join the conversation since Satan’s name was involved? [Cut to Dungeons & Dragons dude sitting in front of computer]: “Oo. Ooo. Someone is talking about Satan. Hey guys! Someone is talking about Satan! What should I say on the twitter? … Yeah, I just said they were being diabolical. That’s a cool word… Diabolical.”
Anyway… We need to focus on what’s important, people. Don’t be distracted by all this media-baiting. We’ve got a job to do, and a whole army of Satanist and non-Satanist Distraction Tacticians can’t be allowed to prevail against us.