The Great Orange Prophet
The fact that Evangelicals have forfeited their values in return for political power under Trump is as putrid as it is undeniable. John Hagee and Robert Jeffress, a fire and brimstone pair of bigoted war mongers spoke at a recent ceremony with Trump. The President moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was another opportunity to placate his base and alienate the global community. While the geopolitical destabilization of the move will obliterate the peace process and increase the risk of bloodshed, Evangelicals came in their pants. It’s another example of how far they’ve strayed from the teachings of Christ.
Pastor Hagee told Trump that he would get “political immortality” if he made the move. The Evangelical right will support anyone, no matter how much that person violates the values that they profess to espouse, if it will move their agenda forward. Power, not virtue is their aim. The end justifies the means. Ironically, they’ve abandoned their alleged core principles to advance an empire that contradicts those very principles. They’ve collectively become the Antichrist. I’m impressed with the level of malignant hypocrisy they’ve mustered, so I thought I’d do an analysis on who acts more like Jesus – a Satanist or Evangelical.
Baphomet vs. Bible Geeks
Let’s begin with the Satanist because they’re more fun. Satanism (practiced as a serious faith) is a relatively young form of religious philosophy. Some say that theistic Satanism or devil-worship has existed for centuries. There is little evidence for those claims. However, there are theistic Satanists today, but it’s a very small (and moronic) minority. Theistic Satanism is essentially an inversion of Christianity, which, in my opinion, is a trite ideology with an affinity for theater. For the sake of brevity, I’ll examine two prominent forms of non-theistic Satanism in this post (this NOT a comprehensive account of Satanic philosophy – only high points).
The Church of Satan
The Church of Satan was founded by Anton Lavey in the 1960s and its teachings were codified in the Satanic Bible. Lavey was a musician, carnival worker and had a flair for showmanship. Whatever you think of his ideas, he is the most influential occultist in the last hundred years. Early advertisements for the church included elaborate rituals with black robes, animal masks and naked women. It was designed to petrify all God-fearing humans with its debauchery, which worked splendidly. What’s funny is that Lavey was essentially trolling the Christians with his antics. Notoriety equals free publicity.
Laveyan Satanism (LS) is atheistic. They do not believe in a horned devil or any kind of supernatural phenomena, although magic is practiced for symbolic purposes. LS exalt themselves as their own God to be worshiped. Individualism and dominion are seen as superior to collectivism and submission. The religion is hedonistic and values indulgence over abstinence. Carnal pleasures plays a huge role here. The difference is that LS are honest in their expression. Because Evangelicals are humans too, sexuality permeates their world, but they rarely follow the rigid laws that their doctrine prescribes. LS places an emphasis on sexual consent and absolutely forbids any harm against children. Christ told his disciples to turn the other cheek. The LS repays a wrong against them with vengeance, but within reason. Unlike theistic Satanism, LS isn’t a simple inversion of the Christian theology. It’s an inversion of the value system. Mastery over slavery. Knowledge over ignorance. Feasting over fasting.
The Satanic Temple
The next brand of Satanism I’ll examine is practiced by a group called The Satanic Temple (TST). Like the Church of Satan, the Temple’s philosophy is atheistic and devoid of any supernatural elements. A closer look reveals a humanist religion that uses Satan as a symbol against tyranny and oppression. TST is involved in many civil protests in the fight to protect the rights of everyone. The hedonism of LS is completely absent from TST philosophy. Compassion, empathy and respect for the freedom of others is key. TST states clearly that a person’s body is subject to their will only (pro-choice). Knowledge and understanding of the world is sacred to this religion. TST believes that our understanding of the world should be shaped by science and not by our beliefs. The thrust of TST is social justice and mutual respect for all. It’s a liberal humanist ideology that is more philosophical than overtly religious.
With these rough summaries in mind, let’s examine a few situations.
1) Judging Others
“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Evangelicals: In this scene, Jesus is talking to Pharisees and religious leaders who want to stone a woman for adultery. It’s way of saying, who are you to judge? Ironically, Evangelicals relish being in a position to judge. The Fox News fueled war against the poor has turned Evangelicals against the very people that Christ ministered to – the poor and disenfranchised. Evangelicals view the poor as lazy “takers,” as people people that are directly responsible for their situation. When Jesus lived, it was believed that if someone was born blind or with a birth defect, it meant that they or their parents were sinners. Christ repudiated this belief, but now Evangelicals are using the same rationale when they despise the poor for taking advantage of social programs that they need to eat or survive.
The Evangelicals are quick to repudiate and judge anyone that they deem as sinful: LGBTQ citizens, scientists, Muslims, media/entertainment industry, etc. The only people who they show restraint in condemning are Republican males accused of inappropriate sexual conduct. Anthony Weiner and Bill Clinton are reviled for their sexual proclivities (which are disgusting), but Donald Trump and others aren’t. Roy Moore was preying on teenage girls and he enjoyed ardent support from Evangelicals.
Satanists: Several rules of the Church of Satan are applicable to this teaching. One of the eleven Satanic rules of the Earth is to not give your opinion unless you’re asked for it. Another one is to not complain about anything that you don’t have to subject yourself to. Some of the Satanic Sins that apply here are Pretentiousness and Herd Conformity. Acting self-righteous and like you’re morally superior to others is a form of pretentiousness and is forbidden. Herd conformity pertains to doing what everyone else is doing because you want to fit in.
Often times for Evangelicals, the group mentality leads to judgment of others. Some Evangelicals judge children schooled in public institutions as morally inferior or more likely to do drugs or become criminals. Many times, the action being perpetrated by the group is judging! For example, many Evangelicals despise Catholicism and revel in smearing its teachings as evil. The Satanic Temple’s philosophy on judging others can be summed up by its first tenant: One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason. Judgment of others due to a feeling of moral superiority is not practicing compassion or empathy.
Verdict: Satanists Are Less Judgmental.
Both Satanic religions’ teachings forbid the moral superiority that Jesus condemned in the verse above. But, just because Christ forbids it doesn’t mean that Evangelicals won’t do it. They throw stones ALL the time and they definitely live in glass houses too.
2) Compassion and Caring for others
Matthew 25: 38-42
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
Evangelicals: This verse is one of the most often quoted in the Bible. As stated before, Evangelicals are hostile to the poor because they’re viewed as lazy. Instead of giving the poor food, Evangelicals advocate for alternative solutions that will give them “the dignity of work.” They have an inherent distrust of the poor, wondering what they could have done to be in their situation. Evangelicals hate criminals more than they hate the poor, so prisons aren’t exactly overflowing with Evangelical visitors. America has some of the harshest sentencing laws in the world and the Right wants to keep it that way. Modern day Evangelicals are aptly illustrated by verse 41 and 42…
Satanists: One of the Church of Satan’s Satanic Sins is projection (i.e. don’t project your issues onto others). Instead, the Golden Rule is advocated. One of the Satanic Statements involves offering kindness to those that deserve it, instead of allowing yourself to be abused by opportunists. So, it’s essentially up to the individual to decide who is deserving of kindness, based on how they view the person in question. The Satanic Temple is strongly in favor of compassion and empathy and their primary drive as an organization is social justice. While kindness to those needs falls under that tenant as a recommendation, it’s not mandated.
Verdict: If Christians practiced what they preached they’d win, but they don’t.
The Church of Satan limits cruelty more than it promotes charity while the Satanic Temple’s tenants are so vague, it’s hard to say exactly how followers will interpret the message. Evangelicals espouse to care for the least of these, but their actions show otherwise.
3) Paying Taxes
19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
Only one thing gives Evangelicals a bigger hard-on than repressing the rights of women. That is finding ways to not pay taxes. 501(c)(3) televangelists swindle millions of dollars from their congregations and all of it is completely tax free. The Tea Party and other ultra-conservative right-wing organizations celebrate our heritage of resisting taxation without representation, but they seem to still despise taxes with representation. To this demographic, the line between political ideology and religious practice is quite blurry. Evangelicals’ politics inform their religious understanding and vice versa. If Evangelicals DO render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, they do so quite reluctantly. Any chance to avoid taxes is, not just preferred (which is the case for everyone), but admired. Donald Trump was elected by Evangelicals who lauded his “smart business practices” of tax evasion. Gaming the system is viewed as a virtue.
Satanists: There is nothing for either Satanic denomination that advocates one way or another on taxes. Both religions prescribe that all local, state and federal laws should be followed at all times, whether that is part of daily life or activist protests. The Church of Satan is an overtly apolitical organization. The Satanic Temple is an extremely political organization and stages many protests across the country. Not one of these has focused on lowering taxes. Nothing in their texts references this issue in particular.
Verdict: Satanists don’t love taxes, but they don’t hate them either.
Satanists are more like Jesus when it comes to this matter. They are not passionate about paying taxes, but their beliefs are practiced within the realm of modern reality, which means paying taxes. This is done without the Evangelical drama of feigned financial persecution or extortion by the government. The Evangelicals, at the very least, resist Jesus’s call to pay the government what is required.
The Winner Is…
Based on this limited analysis, it would appear that modern Satanists ACT more like Jesus than Evangelicals do. This does NOT mean that Satanic philosophy is, in anyway, in alignment with Christian theology, because it definitely is not. However, both philosophies prescribe basic tenants of human decency and there is an overlap. In that limited overlap, we can see that Satanists who follow their doctrines act like Jesus more than Evangelicals do. Much of what Jesus advocated was basic human decency. This fact doesn’t demonstrate how great Satanists are. It illustrates how far the Evangelicals have fallen into the abyss of hypocrisy. I’ll end with this reminder to the Evangelical from your supposed Savior:
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink.