Something absolutely nutty happened last May. A glowing orb appeared, and the Church of Satan went viral.
For clarification, this is not a Satanic ritual. pic.twitter.com/CccP39fqN4
— The Church Of Satan (@ChurchofSatan) May 22, 2017
In the interest of not violating the house rule of “no politics” at TDL, the abridged summary is the President was pictured fondling a “glowing orb” during a visit to Saudi Arabia. The orb itself was merely part of a ceremony opening a “Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology“. Thrilling. Regardless, the gaudy, “over the top” nature of the ceremony, and the unintentionally hilarious photos that followed, led to the circulation of numerous conspiracy theories including suggestions of “Satanic” activity. The innocuous tweet of clarification shown above went instantly viral, was reported on by numerous media agencies, and at the time of this writing had garnered over 60,000 retweets and over 100,000 likes. An incredible blast of (free) overnight exposure for the Church of Satan.
It can certainly be said that Satanists, being fully aware of their environment and experts in human nature, recognize a great opportunity when they see it. The increased attention from the media and the denizens of Twitter has sent the Church of Satan account into overdrive, and capitalizing on that increased scrutiny has led to a Hydra-headed mix of correcting misinformation, undefiled wisdom, and downright comedy.
Although there are certainly far too many examples of the self-unaware foolishly commenting without bothering to read the FAQs first (an ongoing theme), there are also many legitimate questions about Satanism that are being deftly answered through the Twitter account.
Despite the limited capacities of Twitter, I find this somewhat reminiscent of Anton LaVey’s own “Letters From The Devil” (purchase link) articles of the late 1960’s/early 1970’s in which he had the opportunity to not only disseminate what Satanism actually was, and just as importantly wasn’t, but could also engage with readers who would send him a variety of questions of both intelligent and mundane substance. Compared to the immediacy of Twitter, it’s almost quaint to think of the days of folks sitting down and writing a lengthy letter, then slapping on a postage stamp, then dropping it in the mailbox, and then waiting presumably for months to see if they may get a response in print.
Unhindered by a 140 character limit, the Doktor could also afford to be wordier in his responses when required, (though sometimes he wasn’t, see below) but the results were similar. Satanic logic, tempered with a healthy dose of humor, and above all brutally honest and entertaining.
(Photo is an excerpt from “Letters From The Devil”, available through Underworld Amusements.)
In those days, as now, there’s a widespread reluctance on the part of many who feel the urge to comment publicly about Satanism, to actually read and learn anything about Satanism. They choose instead to maintain an openly uninformed stance, and formulate ideas based on their own biased perceptions, beliefs, and conspiracy theories. You can have numerous books available, an archival column like Letters From The Devil, Twitter and Facebook, or have a highly detailed website where you do everything up to and including placing information directly under their noses and they still won’t read it! Then, they wonder why they get roasted on social media.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Ad infinitum.
For a religion that doesn’t proselytize or recruit, correcting misconceptions as they occur is no easy task. It’s a fine line that has to be conscientiously tread with the utmost care and skill. Every response posted in the public sphere will be scrutinized by those who have an agenda, and an axe to grind. They, the ignorant and the rubes, are also Legion, and that fact must never be forgotten by anyone who walks the “left-hand path”.
To all those who have performed this function and continue to do so with tremendous skill and patience- from Doktor LaVey, to Maestro Gilmore, to today’s Twitter account and all others in between, I salute you and thank you.