SATAN’S PUPPETS MAKE “WARRIORS FOR CHRIST” TASTE THE RAINBOW
It’s time again for San Francisco Pride, so let’s talk about the potent Satanic power of rainbow emojis.
A couple of weeks ago the seemingly over-caffeinated fundamentalist Facebook page Warriors For Christ declared (unsolicited) “A RAINBOW EMOJI WILL GET YOU INSTANTLY BANNED” from their community. Because that’s a hill worth dying on, right?
Of course, people from all over the world responded by immediately burying Warriors For Christ in rainbows.
Even two weeks and thousands of bans later, the Warriors For Christ page looks like a squad of unicorns just sharted all over it.
Admittedly, this response didn’t resolve much. Although the page admin referred to all of us as “Satan’s puppets,” which was worth the trouble in itself.
Beyond that, Warriors For Christ’s manic woodchipper style of evangelism does teach us something. Among their many insecure exclamations during the Great Rainbow Siege was, “The rainbow belongs to god.”
Some fundies do seem to particularly resent the Pride rainbow flag these day. Back in April, far-right radio host Bryan Fischer (the human equivalent of the dry well that little Timmy falls falls down in “Lassie”) said via Twitter:
“LGBTs stole the rainbow from god. Give it back.”
And it’s true, rainbows do have symbolic significance in Jewish and Christian mythology. But they’re hardly the only ones.
The rainbow is also a symbol in Norse paganism, for example, as the bridge between mankind and the gods. Hindus hold a similar belief. On the other hand, to some Peruvian tribes rainbows are dangerous spirits.
(“The rainbow is achichilla, and they forbid children to gaze at them,” Finnish sociologist Rafael Karsten wrote of the Aymara people.)
So if you want to go interpreting rainbows through a cultural prism, you’ve got options. Like the visible spectrum itself, a symbol is in the eye of the beholder.
Which brings us (as always) back to Satan. Anti-Satanists often refuse to brook ideas like non-theistic religion or any concept of Satan other than theirs.
“These satanists are just lying!” declared a Faithwire reader incensed at the Satanic Temple last week. “They are worshiping Satan and they know he’s real. Would you really believe anything a satanist has to say?”
Some people just plain won’t budge about this. Old Anton LaVey used to say, “Those who disagree with the non-Christian definition of Satanist [always refer to] ‘common knowledge’ or propaganda.”
But once you divorce yourself from the superstitious belief in a real devil, one definition is potentially as good as any other.
In French satirist Anatole France’s The Revolt of the Angels, Satan is an avatar for political revolutionaries and the patron of “liberty, curiosity, and doubt.”
In atheist Italian poet Giosue Carducci’s Hymn To Satan, the devil is the “avenging force of human reason,” an icon for the rise of anti-Catholic sentiment in Italy.
And on the hit FOX show “Lucifer” the devil is…well, I don’t know, I’ve never actually watched it. But the showrunners surely have their own ideas about the character, and audiences have little trouble accepting it.
There’s no reason these Satans are any less valid than the perverted fiend so important to fundamentalists. In myth and allegory, we’re beholden only to the concepts that speak to us.
So a rainbow can represent flood myths to Warriors For Christ. Or it can represent human empowerment to San Francisco Pride goers. Trying to stop symbols from changing is like trying to force water back uphill.
Likewise, Satan will be what the beholder needs him to be. Like Pride, he is a naturally diverse collaboration.