“BLACK MASS APPEAL” ASKS: SHOULD WE TELL PEOPLE WE’RE SATANISTS?
Last week, Satanic San Francisco launched our new podcast, Black Mass Appeal.
Alternative titles we considered: “Satan For The Rest Of Us,” “Are You Afraid Of The Devil?” “Rosemary’s Babies,” “The Adversaries,” and my personal favorite, “Could It Be…Satan?” That was a fun meeting.
Anyway. Black Mass Appeal is about Satanism, of course. But mostly it’s just about Satanists ourselves.
Rather than spend every show on religious beliefs we want to talk about news, the Bay Area, our lives, TV, horror movies, animation, the Bible (there’s no getting away from it), black metal, Dungeons & Dragons, HP Lovecraft etc.
Satanists having good conversations; it seems like a winning formula. It’s also, hopefully, the solution to a problem.
There are a lot of podcasts out there already. We’re charming as fuck and all, but the world might have gotten by without our input.
But our little local Satanist group had an issue. Namely, most of us don’t tell people that we’re Satanists.
A few of my friends know. My girlfriend knows. (She’s on the cast too, in fact.) But nobody in my family knows, and certainly not anyone I work with. Outside of closed forums, I keep it off social media.
We’d all like to be more open about it. We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, in truth. And all of this sneaking around gets unsatisfying after a while.
But there are crazy people out there: paranoids, conspiracy nuts, fanatics, Oath Keepers. And guys who walk into pizza parlors with rifles because they think “Satanists” are molesting kids under every table.
There’s a reason the Church of Satan calls Satanism as “The Feared Religion.” The old Satanic Panic script is not so old. At the end of 2016, 38 percent of people polled believed Hillary Clinton organized “human trafficking and Satanic ritual abuse.”
(Curiously, nobody asked the same question about Donald Trump, even though he looks and acts like an alcoholic pedophile’s sweaty liver grew a face and an ego.)
Some of my Satanist friends tell everyone anyway, and that’s their right.
But I worry. And I advise people to keep it close to the vest; don’t tell everybody, don’t post photos of SSF events that show your face, be careful what you put online, etc. I don’t like doing it this way, but that’s life.
The secrecy, though, can be a problem itself. A friend told me a while back that one reason she put off dropping in on our monthly meetings was our anonymity appeared unfriendly.
We want to promote a thing, but also keep it very private. It’s like trying to use a fire extinguisher to toast your marshmallow. So we’re damned if we do, damned if we…well, in our case that’s a moot distinction.
A podcast sans real names and faces is a compromise. It’s still a degree of risk and exposure, but a calculated one. Like backing up a few feet before peeing on an electric fence.
(Can everyone relate to that analogy? I grew up in a small town…)
And maybe if a few people hear Satanists talking about the world, relating to each other, having fun, and (Ba’al willing) being entertaining, they’ll get a little less anxious. Empathize a little bit more. Perhaps feel friendly.
And realize that, deep in our icy black hearts, we’re just human too.
Forty percent of Americans in 2015 said they wouldn’t even vote an atheist for president.
Still, I take heart in the little things. When public spaces and businesses have been very welcoming of us at events, for example.
And when I ask favors from strangers like the artists who donated illustrations to our letter-writing campaigns, they’ve said yes. One even said “I love Satanists,” even as she asked we not use her name for fear of reprisal.
The world is not changed. But maybe it’s changing. Until then, there’s Black Mass Appeal.