You could say Satanism has undergone a “rebranding” since the 1980s and 90s, when devil-worshipping occultists were supposedly to blame for a series of disturbing crimes – both real and imagined. Since then, in large part due to the founding of “The Satanic Temple” seven years ago in Salem, Massachusetts, Satanism has entered the mainstream of contemporary culture. The clever marketers of this movement have traded notions of goat sacrifices and Black Magic for feel-good sophistry about equality, social justice, and personal freedom.
In fact, in a bizarre non sequitur The Satanic Temple claims its mission is not to worship the Devil. Instead, its self-proclaimed mission is merely “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people.” If this rings somewhat contradictory, remember the Apostle Paul’s warning in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”
The Temple’s strategy appears to be bearing fruit. Its enticing — almost reasonable – repackaging of Satanism has made it a seductive “philosophy” in today’s tumultuous society. If a Sundance Film Festival feature documentary on modern Satanists is any indication, Satanism 2.0 is on the rise, and even without the literal devil worship, this cleverly marketed ideology provides the perfect cover for the actual Satan to entrench himself deep within our society.
All this should come as no surprise. America (indeed, much of the western world) today is fertile soil for such snake oil sales pitches. The modern church is constantly mocked and demonized in the media, with regular attendance down across the board (a situation not helped by the continuing and highly publicized revelations about pedophilia within the Catholic Church).
The nuclear, two-parent family has become more and more the relic of a bygone era, fostering an environment in which children are increasingly less likely to attend regular religious services. Add to this equation the fact that any hint of religion (or patriotism, for that matter, as in required recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, with its reference to “one nation under God”) is categorically banned in schools, and the current moral drift of today’s young people is easy to comprehend.
Not only are churches feeling the pinch of this phenomenon, but secular social organizations like Rotary and Kiwanis are as well; with the median age of such organizations increasing significantly. This reflects the reality that many Millennials have little interest in joining anything or anyone outside the orbit of their electronic devices.
Whereas the Church once provided a social and emotional support system, especially for young adults, our crumbling religious foundation has given way to a moral vacuum filled with vices like our “hook-up” culture (lust), decaying social skills and standards of decency (gluttony), and hollow “slacktivism” that seems to have bred a perpetual state of politically-motivated hate and rage in young adults against their peers and their elders (sloth, wrath, and pride).
This deficit of moral centering makes individuals struggling with personal identity easy targets for the siren song of the new Satanism. In exchange for a sense of belonging and purpose, Satanists work to detach those drawn to its melody even further from the moral foundations that for centuries served as the bedrock for a liberated and progressive society.
If you doubt the impact of this evil thinking, look no further than the abortion bill passed recently in New York, and another proposed in Virginia; both of which essentially legalize infanticide. In New York, lawmakers cheered and celebrated its passage, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordering New York City skyscrapers to light pink as a sign of the Big Apple’s progressivism. Meanwhile, Virginia’s Governor echoed the sentiments of his liberal colleagues to the north, suggesting newborn babies be “kept comfortable” (whatever that means) following delivery, while doctors and the mother discuss their options, including, as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has implied, that the baby be left to die.
Comments such as this illustrate a culture completely untethered from basic decency and compassion. Yet, this is swiftly becoming the new norm, as seen in the way people rushed not to criticize New York and Virginia lawmakers, but to defend them. The warped world that considers such extreme abortion “rights” as these to be benign presents the perfect breeding ground in which Satanists can call new sheep to their flock.
The Devil does not need to be literally worshipped in order to be effective in his mission on Earth, which is to separate people from God. Liberals, who constantly chip away at America’s religious and moral foundation, and Satanists, who fill this vacuum with promises of community and purpose, are doing his bidding, and doing it well. The moral abyss into which it is drawing us, however, is cold and dark.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the House of Representatives from 1995-2003. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and is Chairman of Liberty Guard (a non-profit, pro-liberty organization). He also heads the Law Enforcement Education Foundation (LEEF) and a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies.