ST GERMAIN UNITED CHURCH ALL WET ABOUT SATANIST BAPTISMS
The St Germain United Church of Christ wants to find god in the Satanic Temple. And I now have Johnny Lee’s “Looking For Love (In All the Wrong Places)” stuck in my head.
Last week, St Germain’s pastor germainated a blog titled, “Having Church With the Satanists.” Which sounds like a Double Jeopardy category for after Alex Trebek loses his mind.
By and large, the blog says little about the Satanic Temple and mostly just uses Satanism to make a point about Christian doctrine.
Fair being fair, I think St German United is also giving us a chance to make a point about Satanism. Namely, that it’s much less fraught than the assumptions that the St Germain United crowd prefer to build their castles on instead.
Topher Mehlhoff is Wisconsin-based St Germain United’s pastor. He’s also a parent, ex-Tumblr user, and, from the looks of him, beard aficionado.
And he’s a cat with opinions about Satanism. Mostly of the “Why, you don’t have claws at all!” variety:
“Here’s a group that seems to contradict everything we believe as Christians. And yet, we’ve got this common spirit. They also have campaigns that promote women’s rights, free speech, religious equality.”
Mehlhoff is big on the “Even sinners are doing good deeds” trope, apparently not realizing how patronizing it sounds:
“There’s a drag queen named Nina West who has raised more than $2 million for charity. I went to seminary with a real, honest-to-god pagan, one of the most charitable persons I know. And my mentor was a dear friend who is both gay and atheist.”
Unholy crap you guys, a real pagan! Not one of those imitation cubic zirconia pagans they make with the Russian Formula.
(Speaking of do-gooding, this seems a handy time to plug our upcoming charity movie screening of Rosemary’s Baby June 10. Ticket sales benefit the A Woman’s Place 24-hour emergency shelter in San Francisco. They also benefit a measurable decline in my anxiety about whether we can fill enough seats.)
But, again, the St Germain United blog says little about Satanism itself. Instead, Mehlhoff uses TST as a ramp into a parable about the earliest non-Jewish Christian converts.
In the book of Acts, St Peter (noted for rocking a totally metal inverted cross way before it was cool) gets pagan Romans hooked on Jesus. And he did it without access to Chick Tracts even.
Pete is a little reluctant to break Jewish religious traditions on his mission, but god scolds him, “What god has made clean, you must not call profane.”
Mehlhoff’s takeaway from this: “god is still speaking. May we listen.” In other words, don’t let your prejudices get in the way of giving people a fair shake.
That’s fine, although it seems Mehlhoff’s version of this is to fantasize about what great Christians we’d all make. As a Californian, I’m disinclined to his offered baptism as a waste of water if nothing else.
Here’s the part that worries me: Mehlhoff’s sermon is based on the idea of “what god makes clean.” In Acts, Peter is afraid of eating pork and consorting with pagans etc, but god said it was okay, so it’s okay.
You can see where this is going. History teaches that if people think anything “god” tells them is acceptable, ruin is right around the corner. I’ve seen Carrie three times, so I know what I’m talking about here.
The St Germain United response would be, presumably, that god won’t sanction anything bad. But all of us don’t have to think for even a second for examples of sociopathic things that “god” supposedly tells people to do.
Apropos of our previous conversation about Patron Sinners, this is why as a Satanist I still trust human judgment over divine edicts.
When push comes to shove, I don’t know how qualified I am to decide what’s right and wrong all the time. But I still trust my reason (and yours) over the alleged voice of any god, specifically because I admit I might be wrong. On the other hand, “god” is always supposed to be right—which makes his pronouncements extra dangerous.
Besides, who knows what “god” is even saying anyway? I don’t speak a bloody word of Hebrew myself.