If You Hail Satan, Come Correct

Woof.  I wanted to like The Satanic Temple and Lucien Greaves, but I randomly came across the real scoop on what low-down fash-friendly piles of shit they really are.  Representing myself as satanic, I feel the need to address this, and while I’m at it, help fix some of the harm they are doing in the world.

To start with, I need to make clear that I do not believe every member of TST is fascist or a scumbag.  Some just haven’t gotten the facts yet, and some who have feel too invested to acknowledge the truth.  To those of you who are good people, I hope you work things out.

But I also hope you can realize you don’t need TST and can represent Satan in your own ways.  There is absolutely nothing stopping you from walking away from TST en masse and starting your own Satanism.  Maybe it starts small, a facebook group or a twitter account, but it can turn into something just as big and certainly better.

 

Eugenics and Nazi Friendliness

I was ill-informed and had little idea that modern satanists were so cozy with antisemitism and nazism until I fell down this unfortunate rabbit hole.  What in the name of Hell is the point of rejecting Christ only to wallow in the shit ideals of his worst fanboys?

Lucien Greaves has made some half-assed apologies for antisemitic comments made on a radio show in 2003 as that came to light recently, and in the narrow context of that clip one could think of his comments as being more antitheist than antisemitic – he was saying jewish religious belief is his problem and jewish blood is not, in disagreement with the hosts of the radio show he was on.

But broaden that context just a little bit more, and things look much worse.  Why did he not rebuke the whole proceedings when his pals on the show went full sieg heil?  Why didn’t he bail?  Because he knew they were nazis going in, and he was OK with that.

The show itself was the “Might Is Right 24-Hour Radio Special” in honor of a new printing of racist / antisemitic book “Might is Right” – and Greaves (as “Doug Mesner”) was invited because he illustrated the book.  Whatever terms or qualifiers he’s used for it (he had a site called “dysgenics” as late as 2018), Greaves has wholeheartedly endorsed eugenics on many occasions.  As recently as the founding of The Satanic Temple ten years after his appearance on that show, he was willingly associating with and involving the sieg heiling host of that very broadcast.

(Quick aside – the event hosts may or may not have identified as nazis and they didn’t actually say “sieg heil” but I don’t give an earthly shit about distinguishing between flavors of antisemite and the finer points of their ideologies.  Another guest on the show was prominent KKK figure Tom Metzger – in a segment of the show Greaves (Doug Misicko in the transcript) happily participated in.  Y’all are nazis; eat shit and die at your soonest convenience, thanks.)

(Aside Deux – because this is an atheist blog network and the “thought leaders” of modern atheism seem to think some nice guy version of eugenics, as a concept, can be salvaged for good, I should emphasize that ain’t true.  I’m not up to linkspamming support of that point, but feeling tempted to give nazi ideas an inch of your mental bandwidth should give you great pause.)

Anyone who would oppose the hypocrisies and injustices of cultural christianity has to decide for theirself what they will propose in the wake of christianity’s defeat.  Because you’re not going to defeat xtianity at large, of course (only they can do that to themselves lol), but you are going to win some hearts and minds away from the pews and pulpits.  What are you giving them in exchange for what they’ve given up?

For some opposing xtianity is enough, like dictionary atheists who are iconoclasts without a care.  LaVey was in the pitiful thrall of Ayn Rand and his satanic bible owes its soul to her “objectivism.”  His Church of Satan and the satanic movement generally from that point on carried those values of cruelty and greed forward.  This was the movement from which Greaves emerged, only differing in that he was more fully atheistic than his predecessors.  Or maybe just more ableist.  From what I’ve seen, ableism was always his biggest hobbyhorse.

OK, greed as a value does seem to oppose the charity spoken of by Jesus, so satanic, right?  Wrong.  If we were just going to oppose xtianity as described in the bible, maybe.  But I don’t give a fuck about that.  I want to oppose xtianity as it is practiced in my culture, and all the harm it does – most of which is fueled by greed.  If you’re not doing that – fighting for the ability of people to enjoy life, fighting oppression – what’s the fucking point?

In their stances on gay rights and reproductive rights and religious freedom, The Satanic Temple has lured in thousands of progressive people – taken their time and money.  But was this truly deserved?  The organization is rotten at its core for the same reason the gnu atheist movement was: the founders centered ableism, the ability to feel superior to the “stupid” xtians, which is just about the quickest path to eugenics and nazism.

To this day, there are high ups within TST that have a history of consorting with nazi clowns like Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannapolis.  TST have gone on record as being anti-antifa, and you know what you get when those antis zero out.

 

Reproductive Rights People Hate Them

Just because anti-abortion scumbags have had a great deal of success lately does not mean that the defenders of reproductive health have been failing at their jobs, only that fascists have been achieving horrific victories across the board.  But The Satanic Temple has opted to use that messaging to suck up activist dollars – to claim “We must accept the fact that traditional efforts to protect reproductive rights have failed.”

And what are they doing with the pro-abortion activist dollars?  They’re acting like $cientology in the way they veer between saying they’re a religion and denying that depending on what’s most advantageous in a given financial or legal situation, and not being at all transparent about where the money goes.

 

SLAPP Suit

All these issues and more led some Satanists in my part of the country to rebel, to make public critique of the organization.  The law protects criticism of religious organizations, but they’re still suing for business harm – a business when it suits them, a religion when it doesn’t.  The apostates are just regular people facing tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses they can’t afford.  It’s a SLAPP suit working as intended, and you can see why I might find that something worth fighting against.

Support the Queer Satanic Apostasy.  Help defend them against the SLAPP suit.

 

Full Disclosure:

TST and FtB have both employed the same lawyer in free speech cases, a man who is a strong partisan on that issue, but easy to find very negative articles about.  That lawyer is specifically named as one of the reasons for dissenters leaving TST.  Due to our prior relationship with him, I will not be addressing that one specific issue here and prefer it not be discussed in this space, except to say I understand and very much sympathize with those concerns.

Coattail Rydaz

By now you all know Dave Chappelle needed more money so he did some calculations and decided to ride the coattails of terfs, profit off the pain of a highly visible minority.  It’s incredibly transparent.  While transphobic actions make him a transphobe in effect, one wonders if he even has transphobia in his heart.  Are you really bothered by trans people, or is it just an obvious cash grab?  I don’t really care, just annoyed to see these irrelevant has-been comedian fucks throwing in with the worst people in the world.  A waste of whatever shreds remain of their original talents.

This is not especially relevant to me and my life.  I cancelled Dave Chappelle when he defended Trump’s misogyny and cancelled Netflix when they promoted eating disorders and suicidal ideas through their original programming, haven’t been tempted since.  But there is one way in which this is relevant and it’s as hilarious as it is pathetic.

PZ has called our attention to Nu Atheism’s shining light in Richard Dawkins, and what he’s been up to lately.  Want to guess what venal calculations he has cribbed from the fascist pundits and has-been comedians of the world?  Within weeks of Chappelle’s shit, our own former anti-pope came out on stage with a straw hat and cane to huck some shit of his own.

I’m reminded in part of the social cowards who orbited the true bullies back in junior high.  Para-bullies?  They wouldn’t initiate much on their own, just sidle up to the instigators once they start going in on a kid, and make sneering or laughing or wall-eyed faces of sadistic ecstasy.  Nu Atheism (TM) used to be at the vanguard of hate movements (islamophobia and misogyny), now our boys are coattail rydaz.  Fucking  pitiful, bro.

EDIT TO ADD:  These people will always have a profit motive for hate speech.  See how much money Richard Carrier was able to drum up just from people who hate progressive atheism – a pitifully small pool of donors.  But before the dollars run out, they might be dissuaded from hate speech by the worm turning on its popularity.  Some day our activism will pay off and mainstream people will look on the transphobia of this historic moment with absolute disgust.  On that day, easy money cowards like these two will try to backpedal and make excuses for how they were.  I will live to see this, and it gives me some comfort.

Eating Genesis Pi

Genesis 3:14:  And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.

Injustice that calls itself justice, hatred that calls itself love, is foundational to the abrahamic faiths.  The serpent in the garden was a cartoon villain with no motivation but the joy of evil itself, taking the text at face value, but any cursory examination of the events of the stories as written exonerates all villains save god himself.  Of course he made the serpent to love evil, made men and women to be curious, and so on.

And as abrahamic faiths are foundational to western civilization, the injustice is baked into who we are and how we do.  Poor people deserve to suffer because whatever people have or lack in life is according to his will, is “just” by divine fiat.  We must have done something wrong to deserve this.

I am put in mind of all this because today my ramen noodles smelled and tasted like cigarette ash.  Having smelled that, why did I proceed to eat them (with a lot of butter and salt added)?  I didn’t want the ramen to go to waste and I’d already added the packet by the time I smelled it.  I thought about why I’m eating cigarette ramen.

Maybe somebody rich is adulterating ramen with literal garbage just for spite.  Or maybe some poor filipino working in a ramen factory, knowing he’s gonna die in economic hell and unable to do anything else, tipped an ash tray into the flavor packets, knowing it would find decadent western mouths, and fuck those guys.  I won’t blame the worker, as shit a thing as that is to do.  I blame the global system built on exploitation, making us poor folks as cruel as what the rich have given us.

And capitalism, as much as it runs contrary to the hippy shit young jeezy preached, is a perfect piece with the justice that runs through most of the bible.  I’m a serpent, I’m gonna eat my dust all the days of my life.  Or maybe I’ll rise to the middle class, where I can eat chaff instead, and rain dust upon my lessers with a sense of righteousness.  All is as it should be on god’s earth.

EDIT to add:  I’m living on my belly as well – more crippled this week than I’ve ever been in my life from throwing my back out.  Had to miss 3 days of work.  I turn 45 in a few days, so I probably got another 45 years of this worsening to look forward to.  It’s OK tho, I’m cool.

The Treacherous Center

Not talking about centrism today, not strictly speaking about what’s wrong with it or anything. I’m thinking about this situation with the Atheist Community of Austin, and in the larger sense the youtubers and organized atheists around that situation, and in a larger sense any situation where degrees of progressivism start sorting themselves out. (And disclaimer upfront – this is pretty stream-of-consciousness. I wrote the title at the beginning and not sure how relevant it’ll be by the end.)

At the beginning of the gnu atheist movement the big heads were all about equality and lgbt rights and so on. Any time the subjects were up, they were very quick to proclaim them as their own. As if simply not having codified rules of repression like the abrahamic faiths would guarantee you a less repressive society.

But then the rubber met the road. Some mild feminist sentiment was issued from a perspective other than that of an old white man, and our whole shit exploded. Oops. As of now, do people like Harris and DickDawk even consider themselves feminist, even in a vile CH Sommers version of the term? Are they done with that? What about other progressive issues? When the old man tweeted that he’d heard the term SJW for the first time, he was boosting a very nasty bunch indeed.

Slice, slice, those who posture that they have some degree of progressive beliefs define themselves and their positions in a way that backs genuine progressives into a smaller and smaller corner. Now we have Austin – the most politically progressive city in Texas. The Atheist Community of Austin. Equality for women, people of color, them LGBTs. All seemed in order, right?

But this debate about intersex and transgender athletes (that first started being covered on FtB at Reprobate Spreadsheet). The old boy network of Youtubers that included important figures in the ACA closed ranks in favor of the more trans-exclusive side. Given the complexity of the issue, I don’t want to claim any authority to speak to it. But smart people who’ve taken a closer look say the instigating youtube boy was being unreasonable and transphobic, and their arguments are airtight. So is youtube boy a transphobe? Should he be rejected as such?

No, there should be no reproach for the special rational boys of rationalism. SJWs gone too far rabble rabble. Initially the ACA had enough progressives on board to denounce youtube boy, but the oldboy network hedged them out. Slice, slice.

Once again the political center has expanded in a way that shoved an oppressed minority into a smaller slice. Once you’ve defined yourselves that way as an organization, once you’ve excluded those voices, how long before any other lip service you’ve paid to progressivism disappears? How long before you’re all thunderf00ting about the joint, licking lady legs and moaning about feminazis?

Maybe you do keep most of your equal rights cred in place. It was just one marginal little issue right? You can be a feminist and anti-racist and pro-trans (in most instances) while still thinking the bodies of athletes must be crammed into narrow little genderholes.

But in a way that’s worse for the people you’ve sliced away. Because if you’re eating up progressive bandwidth and you’ve shown yourself to be an unsafe group for trans people to be around, they’re stuck on an even smaller fringe than they were already. Progressive atheism is small enough to fit in a schoolbus. Fully trans-inclusive progressive atheism is gonna be stuck in a Prius.

The right wing in the USA is a fucking nightmare show of hardcore nazi-assed hate goblins. Any degree to which you inch toward them, any inch you step toward the center, is necessarily coming at the expense of some of your friends, families, lovers. It’s a treacherous move.

It Always Comes Back To Us, Doesn’t It?

I haven’t been following the debate with this transphobic chode on youtube, just catching one side of it in the form of HJ Hornbeck’s posts – which are quite useful and informative even outside of the original context. Because I didn’t follow the original context, I didn’t notice the chode in question is a member of the atheoskeptisphere, and has been backed by more prominent voices in our creepy little community.

I’m unsurprised, but it does hit me in that pit of despair, the place where I can see my people – the atheists, those who hold faith in reason – being both irrational and malicious, making the world a worse place. Just a week ago, murderous atheist islamophobe Craig Stephen Hicks was finally sentenced for his crimes. But there’s no true justice in the universe, and most of us won’t have to answer for spreading hate while robing ourselves in words like “reason” as if they’re magic armor.

Thanks for propping up this status quo, my bros. It’s important for people like me to stay humble. As long as it’s fucking impossible to be proud of being an atheist or skeptic, I’ll stay self-aware enough to avoid acting the fool, maybe do less harm in my blundering.

Penny Arcade & Love Lost

Many of you have never heard of Penny Arcade. As far as webcomics go, it was the original success story, the ur-two-guys-on-a-couch video game afición strip-styled deal. The popularity of the comic helped the writer and the artist build a significant business, running gaming conventions, charities, and so on.

They’re still doing their thing, but outside of “gaming” (the bro subculture, not video game playing as a whole field), who has heard of them? They’ve hit the wall.

Two factors limit their success – the existence of gamergate and the “dickwolf” controversy.

Gamergate poisoned all things gamer, actually succeeding at their primary goal. Gamergate’s social terrorism was so vast it gained international media attention and told the world that gaming is an off-limits hostile place, ruled by miscreants that are best left alone. Congrats! You kept out the normies!

I’m not going to explain the dickwolf controversy and subsequent flare-up involving transphobia (because of course it did), even though they’re less well-known than gamergate. Long story short – they aligned themselves culturally with gamergate, with regressive gaming, by having mean-spirited blow-ups at mild criticism.

The dickwolf controversy aligned them with gamergate, no matter what they’ve said on the subject since, and gamergate relegated the culture of gaming to the sewer of human civilization.

I was thinking about that, about love lost. I used to follow the comic for a chuckle and dropped it like a rock back then. How many trans women and progressive-inclined people in general felt they weren’t safe engaging with the comic, with its fans, with the conventions they sponsored? How much love did they lose forever by being reactionary dickwolves?

And here we are – online atheism. The background is different, but the end result is the same. We were founded on islamophobia, so we were rotten at the core. A lot of us may have been socially progressive on a few issues, enough to feel good about ourselves, even then.

But collectively we were reactionary. When an opportunity for a movement-wide misogynist freakout came, it showed that we were stacked to the rafters with villains.

Many of us left the movement and culture altogether, I have no doubt. And of those who remained, the scum outweigh the rest of us by an order of magnitude. Maybe not in actual population (though I bet they do), but certainly in terms of will, of money, of resources, of cultural impact in the form of web presence, on social media and youtube.

Atheism aligned itself with evil and lost love. Where could we be without “elevatorgate”? Without the years of feeding the right wing islamophobia war machine?

It’s gone and it’s never coming back. I had a slow moment and considered opening up Penny Arcade’s website to see if I could have a chuckle. But no, I really profoundly don’t want to. They betrayed the vulnerable people in their audience – a fucking lot of us – and I’m not about forgiveness.

And no one is obligated to forgive us either. Organized atheism is a sewer. We can do things, we can be together, we can fight the good fight as much as possible. But what more could we be right now? How much love was lost?

Feels like all of it.


Capitalism, Heaven, and Hell

It is said without the threat / promise of heaven and hell, humans would have no reason to be moral. Worse people than I have pointed out the flaws in this. Standup comedians, skeptics, and more. One: laws and society enforce moral norms – not religion by itself. Two: if you need divine law to keep you from committing rapes and murders, you should probably seek counseling. Humans care for each other; it’s what social animals do.

It is often said that without capitalism, there would be no motive for labor, for innovation, for anything besides laziness. If you need greed and the suffering of others to motivate your every labor, you should probably seek counseling.

There are a million good motivations to labor that have nothing to do with the carrot of wealth or the stick of poverty. Again, caring for each other. It’s what social animals do, and what we could do a lot more effectively, if our lifeblood wasn’t being congealed into the foundations of castles.

Besides that, leisure. You work to minimize labor, conserve energy and resources so you can enjoy life. Building a house keeps out bears and keeps in heat. Less labor and resources spent building fires every night and guarding against bears. Let the fucking robots take our jobs, we shouldn’t need as many jobs in this world.

And there are plenty of jobs that need doing that are being left undone because they don’t generate gold bricks for the aristocracy. So much human need, infrastructure, education is being left to rot or straight burned to the ground right now in the name of greed.

Kudos for achievement, looking good, pride of accomplishment, basic executive function for self-maintenance. What are your reasons to labor? They don’t have to be dollars and cents or the fear of the economic abyss.

Belief in hell is one of the chief moral failings of the abrahamic religions. Belief in the necessity of poverty is the exact same fucking thing. Fuck capitalism.


Money Atheism is Regressive Atheism

People pursuing different causes for influencing our society will sometimes form organizations, like American Atheists or The Sierra Club, which pool money from members for lobbying and other ways of spreading the gospel. Then there are people who try to influence society without institutional backing, without money, with nothing but the street game. Groups like Antifa, which is not an actual organization, but rather something anyone can call their self if they go to bat for anti-fascism.

The side of atheism and skepticism with the money? Unfortunately, it seems that side has been overwhelmingly lost to political regressivism. Hj Hornbeck crunched the numbers, and it seems like the more right wing and reactionary you are in the movement, the more money you make. If you want the financial backing of atheists and skeptics, the only sure way to do so is by attacking feminism, hectoring those who advocate for social justice, generally being a conservative shitbird.

So if the side I favor has not a nickel to its name, has no financial leverage in changing the world, what does it have? Maybe nothing, as far as this fight. I think for most of us, other causes are more important than atheo-skepticism, and any leverage we have comes from our solidarity with those unrelated movements. When we do fight to make atheism a better place, all we have is our social media platforms, and our audience is just not large enough to swing this fight. Atheism as a money movement is lost to us, strictly the province of utter bastards and willfully ignorant centrists.

But money isn’t everything, as much as the Man wants us to believe that. Maybe just being on the good side will give us the staying power, the long game needed to change this movement. Maybe the rightward march of the money heads will force them to stagnate at a certain level, while we have potential to expand. That would be nice.

I don’t really believe it though. I think activism for atheism and skepticism are founded – more than anything – on ableism, and are therefore inherently regressive. One could advocate for them for progressive reasons. Most of this blog network is trying to. But that poison in the soil? It isn’t going away.


You Can’t Kill Atheism or Homosexuality

I was thinking of this because of the balloon cartoon. It doesn’t specifically reference atheism, but it does credit an evidence-based worldview with creating what it perceives as social ills – including homosexuality.

You can kill atheists – especially in places like Saudi Arabia. You can kill gay people right here in the USA, and have some cultural support even if you lack legal sanction. But you can’t kill either of those things in the population as a whole. It’s impossible. If every last atheist and every last gay person was wiped out in a generation, the behaviors, the ideas would pop back into existence.

It’s because being gay is a natural thing a certain number of people will always experience the first time they feel sexual attraction, being an atheist is often based on thoughts and feelings that arise in an individual with no outside influence. The first time you tell a kid to pray, the first time you ask them to believe in Noah’s Ark or that the entire vast unfathomable universe was created for paltry humanity, you invite comparison and contrast between the child’s experience of reality and the flimsy fantasy you’re pushing. Sometimes, indoctrination will fail.

In that way, homosexuality and atheism are a bit different. Homosexuality requires sexual instinct, which is a natural phenomenon. It doesn’t arise as opposition to nature, but is natural itself. An evidence-based worldview is likewise natural, but the expression of it found in atheism can only arise as an opposite reaction to theism.

As long as you push xtianity or islam or whatever, you are the cause of atheism. You made us. Thanks. Now fuck off with your tyrannical wet dreams and social fascism. You can pop my balloon but another then will inflate – out of the heart of your castle. An endless supply of gay balloons, getting the fuck out of your shitty homes, flying away to leave you alone.