Monumental Satanic Panic
Bad news! New York’s Satanic Temple has drawn up plans for a Satanic monument outside the Oklahoma statehouse, including an “interactive children’s display.” Since the state legislature has allowed a Ten Commandments monument there, perhaps the gates have been tossed open to all manner of religious statuary!
Here’s what I’m wondering: if “Satan” is an idea that comes directly from “Judeo-Christian heritage” (that would be the “Bible”) why shouldn’t he have a place at the table? What is God without the Devil? Don’t chocolate chip cookies or caramels lack une certaine je ne sais quoi without a generous pinch of salt? Is the Prince of Darkness not an integral player in the legends, and the subject or seasoning in centuries of art? …and so forth. Why, pray tell, does the Devil get such a short shrift these days?
According to the Satanic Temple’s website, these followers of Lucifer are only interested in being “compassionate” and marching to the beat of their own drummer. Not so bad, huh? This passage was of particular interest:
“God is supernatural and thus outside of the sphere of the physical. God’s perfection means that he cannot interact with the imperfect corporeal realm. Because God cannot intervene in the material world, He created Satan to preside over the universe as His proxy. Satan has the compassion and wisdom of an angel. Although Satan is subordinate to God, he is mankind’s only conduit to the dominion beyond the physical. In addition, only Satan can hear our prayers and only Satan can respond. While God is beyond human comprehension, Satan desires to be known and knowable. Only in this way can there be justice and can life have meaning.”
“Ours is the Humanistic Satan who would sacrifice His own Heavenly residence so that Humanity might learn to understand and enjoy the physical world they inhabit.”
Is it just me? Or does this description remind one of another one of God’s offspring *ahem.*
I e-mailed the Temple asking about the interactive children’s display, about which I am most curious, and asked if they had ever noticed that some of their mythology is rather close to its opposite mythology. I asked them why not, if Christianity is the easier option, just do that? At the very least, if “Satanism” pushes the panic button in so many people (I flash on Adrian Marcato and his gang of Satan-hailers myself), why not call themselves “Disciples of the Light-Bearer” or something like that? I might be insensitive here, but I feel these are fairly pertinent questions.
I have not yet received a response. I suppose “Satanism” as such comprises a wide spectrum of beliefs and behaviors, and perhaps the legends of human sacrifice and various types of desecration in the Devil’s big tent are true. Again, I’m thinking there might be some commonalities here. What is the Mass if not a proxy human sacrifice ritual? Mightn’t some outreach to the darker Devil-worshippers be a good idea—maybe teach them some kinder ways of slaking bloodthirst? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Judeo-Christians and Satanists to sit down and realize that they have more in common than they realize. And maybe dueling monuments is a way to start that dialogue. But maybe I’m just a dreamer.
Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.