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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Letters to a Satanist: Don’t you worry that by associating specific causes with Satanism, you’re doing more harm than good?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 3:31 PM

click to enlarge Illustration by Lee DeVito
  • Illustration by Lee DeVito
Illustration by Lee DeVito

Recently, Metro Times, our sister paper in Detroit, unveiled a new column called Letters to Satan. Readers are invited to submit questions about Satanism to be answered by Doug Mesner, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple. Since the Satanic Temple has been so active in Florida in the past couple of years (they rallied for Gov. Rick Scott last year, and more recently, they’ve been saying that they’ll be handing out literature at Orange County Public Schools), we figured we’d run some of the letters, too. Here’s the next installment. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Don’t you worry that by associating specific causes -- such as women’s rights and secularism -- with Satanism, you’re doing more harm to those causes than good?

There is a certain breed of sanctimonious ass who -- after defining him or herself in relation to a specific social issue -- acts as self-appointed arbiter of all that is representative of that issue. Whether it be women’s rights, gay rights, secularism, or any number of causes, they imagine themselves to have taken ownership of an entire movement. These self-righteous snobs feel it appropriate to try and dictate the ideal political affiliations, activities, even religious persuasions, of those who would embrace “their” cause.

This is as ignorant as it is counter-productive.

Often the argument comes in the form of condescending and coddling concern for what the opposition will think. Now the affrighted superstitious will think all atheists are Satanists, some affronted secularists decry. Likewise for gay rights and women’s rights. Implicit in this argument is the ridiculous notion that there is one uniform, “true” voice of the cause. Worse, the argument suggests that Satanists have no right to define themselves on their own terms. Offensively, we’re being asked to accept as unchangeable, or unchallengeable, persistent libels regarding Satanism. It’s suggested we should withdraw ourselves from issues that intersect undeniably with our values. Even worse still, the argument further suggests that The Satanic Temple’s membership who are gay activists, feminists, secularists, etc., should seek to define themselves in religious terms more acceptable to those who would ostracize them.

In short, The Satanic Temple will continue to advocate for issues in accordance with our convictions. Other people and organizations are free to undermine their progressive efforts by apologetically pursuing agendas that will not raise the ire of those who disagree with them. For our part, we have little concern that their spinelessness will be confused with our actions.

Lucien Greaves is the pen name for Satanic Temple spokesperson Doug Mesner.

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We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

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