thecosmicdance ([personal profile] thecosmicdance) wrote2012-11-01 11:44 pm

Get Satan a Cherry Pop: A Link Heavy Halloween Post 2012

I wanted to do a forward to this explaining exactly why this is the way it is, but I think the links will do that job for now. I can write some more on this after Nano is over.

The blog Stuff Christians like talks about Halloween Hating in the evangelical subculture context.

For more, you can look at this, this, this, this,this, this, and this and
this and this.

Even though it now turns out that many of the people who promoted this view of modern Halloween and witchcraft were making it all up. A man named Mike Warnke was one of the primary instigators of the 1970s/80s “Satanic Panic”. Much of the evidence that wasn’t directly concocted by Warnke & Co as outright lies or collected by asking small, confused children leading questions, was uncovered via interviews with people whose therapists had “recovered” memories of horrific child abuse in Satanic cults. These “memories” turned out to be totally false, implanted through hypnotic suggestion. And well, sometimes the “victims” were con artists.

The other one was, of course, the cartoonist Jack Chick. Chick is responsible for the dissemination of at least half of the stupid urban legends floating around conservative evangelical Christianity from the 1970s onward. His 1980s tract on Dungeons and Dragons might be responsible, along with an infamous episode of the Christian children's radio drama "Adventures in Odyssey", for convincing thousands of Christian parents to instantly ban all “role playing games” from their children’s lives (my Pentecostal friend’s mother forbade her to play a recurring, elaborate game of pretend we had been engaged in).

People often took Chick’s information a step further than even he did. In “Dark Dungeons”, no one has any real powers, but the belief that they do, and the total obsession with the game, has the main character suicidal by the end. The Adventures in Odyssey episode portrayed the possibility that playing an RPG could let literal demons into our world. His manufactured horrors are treated as legitimate information by people who don’t even know they came from Chick tracts or indeed, what a Chick tract is. In the church congregation I grew up in, we didn’t really do tracts much, not the way they do them in the Bible Belt. Growing up, no one ever said the words “Chick tract” to me. The first time I remember holding one in my hands was as an adult, when it was furtively shoved at me during a Halloween street party. And yet a large percentage of what appears in those infamous tracts was taught to me as the potential truth. They may not have trusted Chick (or ever heard of him), but they trusted "Focus on the Family" (the producers of "Odyssey").

Even at the time, I felt this was total b.s. but...

Chick also produced tracts based on the “eyewitness testimonies” of Rebecca Brown and Father Alberto Rivera , who had all sorts of totally true stories about nightmarish , devil worshiping cults .

Almost none of it was true. Rebecca Brown and her roommate “Elaine” the “ex witch” are real people. They were really from Indiana. Uh, that's about the extend of the truth to their stories. Satanism is a real religion…but it isn’t like what they describe, it’s kind of ordinary and boring, it’s mainly cleverly disguised Objectivism. Instances of actual “Satanic” cults that aren’t just silly people in costumes listening to bad music, engaging in actual abuse and getting away with it for a long time are very rare. Most "Satanic" murders are perpetrated by mentally ill serial killers, there's no global conspiracy and trying to get a bunch of real life modern Satanists to participate in one would be like herding cats.

Christine O’Donnell, Mike Warnke and the Imaginary Satanists
The Internet Monk’s Annual Halloween Rant
Repeating Myself 2011 pt 2
The Devil Made Me Do It, Mike Warnke’s Ministry of Lies
How Bad Were You Really?
Offending the Creator’s Own

Despite the fact that Warnke and his ilk were exposed years ago, in a Cornerstone article, those beliefs are embedded in the subculture. Even liberal Christians and people who aren’t Christians at all can fall for it. Judging, you know, by how many people, including a gigantic majority of non Christians, actually buy the image of Halloween and RPGs and theatrical rock that these religious charlatans have peddled for forty years. And then they start trying to live up to that image, and once again, conservative evangelical Christians have created their own problems.

Part of the problem is the idea that “Satanism” can be detected by a specific collection of superficial markers. The truth is, the collection of behaviors we call "evil" and therefore in Christian terms, "Satanic", don't have much to do with how a person dresses or what music they like. Evil is a deliberate refusal to empathize and act on that empathy. Evil is putting your own wants and needs above everyone else's, all the time because you're the only real person in the world. Evil is trying so hard to be good that you destroy everything around you because winning is more important than actually being a good person. Evil is treating people like things.

In real life, the artist who plays the character of "Alice Cooper” teaches Sunday School. But this band ("Coven") were apparently actual Satanists. My parents have this song on an old tape of Sixties Protest Music and we listened to it all the time, but they discouraged us from listening to stuff like Led Zeppelin (they didn't like to censor our music, but we couldn't have it on within earshot). My father thought "Stairway to Heaven" had "backmasking" on it. While Zeppelin was certainly not *ever* a Christian band, that song is actually chock full of references to one of my dad's favorite authors. And backmasking, another one of those Christian pop culture bogeymen, has been debunked.