It may sound like satire, but everyone from HuffPost to Twitter seems to be taking very seriously a liberal mom’s essay about how she turned to Satanism in response to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Jamie Smith – who describes herself as a 40-something “attorney and mother who cares about civil rights” – wrote for HuffPost Personal that last week’s death of the 87-year-old liberal judge drove her to join the Satanic Temple, not out of grief but out of fear.
A bronze statue of Baphomet at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, September 22, 2016. © REUTERS/Ted Siefer
“I fear that American citizens are inching closer to living in a theocracy or dictatorship and that the checks meant to prevent this from happening are close to eroding beyond repair,” Smith wrote. “Our democracy has become so fragile that the loss of one of the last guardians of common sense and decency in government less than two months before a pivotal election has put our civil and reproductive rights in danger like never before.”
And, so, I have turned to Satanism.
The phrase “Satanic Temple” quickly began to trend on Thursday, with Twitter promoting Smith’s piece as “a conversation starter.”
Conservatives pointed to Smith’s article as proof that liberals are insane Satan-worshipers, and that the upcoming election is “a battle of good versus evil.”
Let’s check in to see how the Left is doing almost a week after the death of RBG. pic.twitter.com/DIj0Ee8zXa
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) September 24, 2020
Democrats are writing op-ed’s about becoming Satanists to fight pro-life Republicans now. If it wasn’t already explicitly clear to you that this is no longer about policy differences, this should really open your eyes.
This is a battle of good versus evil.https://t.co/8ebyk34sWb
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) September 24, 2020
Liberals, on the other hand, argued that the Satanic Temple doesn’t actually worship Satan but is an "excellent group" intended to be secular mockery of Christians and consists of atheists fighting for freedom from religion.
Aimee Vanderpool, a liberal feminist with 317,000 followers, argued Smith’s piece was “a nod to RBG’s thinking out of the box” and that “using religion against itself to combat the curtailing of our reproductive rights seems pretty genius.”
I see this piece as a nod to RBG thinking outside the box to sue for a man's rights to show other men how gender discrimination occurred. The idea of using religion against itself to combat the curtailing of our reproductive rights seems pretty genius. https://t.co/9sgTjIZz1C
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) September 24, 2020
According to Smith, the Satanic Temple is “willing to use radical, creative and yet legally sound strategies to make its case.” She also called it “a community of people who will stop at nothing to safeguard my family’s rights – and all of our rights – when they are at their most vulnerable.”
While this kind of stilted prose sounds like satire straight from the pen of Titania McGrath or Godfrey Elfwick, the fact that everyone seemed to be taking Smith’s essay at face value seems to suggest her ode to Satanism wasn’t intended as parody.
Whatever the case may be, the actual Church of Satan disavowed both Smith and the Satanic Temple on Thursday afternoon, calling them “a political activist group who uses scandalous language to get press attention” and asking people to “Please do not confuse them with us or the religion of Satanism.”
This is a political activist group who uses scandalous language to get press attention. Please do not confuse them with us or the religion of Satanism, and please see this as the PR stunt that it is.
— The Church Of Satan (@ChurchofSatan) September 24, 2020
Democrats have long idolized Justice Ginsburg as a champion of feminism, and considered her the bulwark of abortion rights – established in the US not by law, but under the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. The mere possibility that President Donald Trump could get a reliable majority of conservative-leaning judges by appointing her replacement, and then overturn this ruling at some point in the future, has sent Democrats into a frenzy over the past week.
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