This series isn’t solely focused on the subject of occult influences in the public sphere; therefore, to give attention to all trends from every country in the West would be beyond our scope. It would take multiple encyclopedic volumes to discuss how symbols of the occult are edging their way into all societies throughout France, for example, and though that land may be a part of the “Western problem” of the Body of Christ, it is easier to show our widest, English-speaking audience some examples they can see closer to home. In America—a nation birthed in Christian values and goals (at least by the arriving Puritans, if not by the forefathers, whose religion was often anything but Christian, despite popular beliefs to the contrary)—demonic imagery on public grounds should be an outrage, a scandal…a crime. Nevertheless, we have reached the day when blatant occultism isn’t at all uncommon.
One demoralizing example of this is when a state capitol building either displays a demonic sculpture or takes down its time-honored Christian artwork in the interest of religious impartiality just to avoid having to include a demonic sculpture.
Both of these circumstances have happened recently several times nationwide. We’ll look at Arkansas/Oklahoma and Illinois as merely two examples of this large-scale mess.
In 2015, the Satanic Temple requisitioned a large statue of Satan, appearing in the classic “Sabbatic Goat” Baphomet likeness created by mystic Éliphas Lévi. Unlike the traditional Baphomet, however, the hermaphroditic breasts would be traded out for the inclusion of two young and assumedly innocent children, one boy and one girl, gazing up in awe, wonder, and clear admiration at Satan upon his throne. This adjustment would be carried out in order to “make the statue more publicly palatable.”[i] Yet, the sight of these two virtuous adolescents forever worshipfully taking in the “majesty” of Satan in this sculpture is, to be honest, more disturbing than the breasts would have been, in the opinion of many believers, as it represents potential eternal damnation for two pure souls as opposed to the same kind of public breast indecency we’re all exposed to at any feminist march these days.
Upon its completion, the Satanic Temple planned, the statue would be installed on the lawn of the Oklahoma state capitol building, right next to the Ten Commandments monument that had been privately funded and previously raised without objection. The Oklahoma Supreme Court’s hands were tied in regards to refusing the Baphomet while retaining the Ten Commandments, as such a decision would violate the state’s Constitution.[ii] This was decided to be the case despite those who rose to remind the Court that the Ten Commandments isn’t just a “religious document,” but a set of rules that greatly influenced the “formation of American law,” and was, therefore, justifiable as an exhibit on capitol grounds based on its national “historical context” alone.[iii] In the end, the Court not only had the Satanic Temple threats to consider, but also those of Universal Society of Hinduism’s president Rajan Zed, demanding that if the Ten Commandments were allowed to remain, their prized “Lord Hanuman” (the “protector” monkey-god of the Ramayana Hindu epic) must have a place on the property as well.[iv] (What a circus!) So, when put to a vote, the majority ruled in favor of prohibiting all “religious” structures, and the biblical Commandments were ordered to be removed. Four months later, they were transported to another location in the middle of the night, “in the dark,” under the supervision of “at least two dozen troopers”[v] to avoid civil unrest, which would most likely have come in the form of protests by Christians or taunts/provocations from Satanists.
Far from considering the Court’s decision a loss, the Satanic Temple celebrated. Its spokesperson stated that the entire purpose of the Baphomet from the beginning had been to reaffirm “that we live in a nation that respects plurality, a nation that refuses to allow a single viewpoint to co-opt the power and authority of government institutions.”[vi] Feeling they had accomplished their goal, and with the Ten Commandments out of the picture, the Satanic Temple discontinued the pursuit of installing the satanic statue on Oklahoma Capitol grounds.
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From there, the Satanic Temple shifted their attention to the Little Rock, Arkansas, state capitol building, another property with a Ten Commandments monument on display. The group’s attempts to have Baphomet installed as the lawn neighbor of the depiction of God’s laws were initially unsuccessful, due to Arkansas laws requiring that state monuments must have legislative sponsorship. The Satanic Temple responded by starting, and quickly reaching, a twenty-thousand-dollar “Bring Baphomet to Arkansas!”[vii] fundraising campaign to fight the ruling and organize a protest to take place in the summer of 2018. That August, the rally became a showdown between vociferous Satanists, atheists, and Christians alike on the steps of the Arkansas capitol, but overall, the results were inconclusive. The Satanic Temple and the state of Arkansas are currently awaiting court hearings since the Temple filed a lawsuit against the state for infraction of constitutional religious equality.[viii]
While the Satanic Temple continues to pester government buildings for the rights to display the Baphomet Satan as an equivalent to God, their other endeavors toward the goal of extreme blasphemy have already proven successful.
In the October following the Arkansas rally, the Satanic Temple of Chicago started a GoFundMe fundraiser for fifteen hundred dollars toward the installation of their “Snaketivity” (a blatant demonization of the word “Nativity”) display inside the Illinois state capitol building. The artwork depicted a black hand gripping an apple with a snake coiling around it (an obvious visual reference to the forbidden fruit and the serpent from the biblical account of the Garden of Eden). The campaign—which began with the plea, “Please consider what you may do to help us bring Satan to Springfield!”[ix]—was a success, and ultimately raised more than twelve hundred dollars above their goal.[x]
This sculpture, bursting from a red-lit, four-foot base that reads with a Gnostic “Knowledge is the Greatest Gift” mantra, was settled in warmly next to a Christmas tree and Nativity scene with the intent that passersby would be enraptured with “Satanic holiday cheer!” from December 2–29, 2018.[xi]
Of course, someone had to up the ante from the old-news Freedom from Religion Foundation Christmas display, as its statement that “religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds”[xii] was evidently no longer liberating enough by itself…
Speaking of old news, in case you’re assuming that this is the beginning (and hopeful end) of the Satanic Temple’s “religious equality” demonstrations, it’s actually not a surprise anymore when maneuvers like this make headlines. In 2014, the Satanic Temple shared space with the Christian Nativity scene at the Michigan state capitol building to show off a red snake curling around a black cross topped with a Baphomet pentagram. Officials on site—some of whom were professing Christians, themselves—were obligated to increase security measures in the interest of protecting the blasphemy from local protestors. One article covering the story captured well the tragically crooked and uncomfortable position this placed the capitol facility director, Dan Brocklehurst, in. It wouldn’t be surprising if the final sentence in an article about the event made history as the documentation of that bleak moment in time when America began to realize the corner of irony we’ve painted ourselves into: “On Sunday, Brocklehurst will visit the state Capitol to [check on] the Satanic Temple display—before continuing on to attend worship services at his church.”[xiii]
The same year, stationed in Florida’s capitol building next to a sepia-toned, scroll-style paper with Isaiah 14:12 showing biased capitalization—“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!”—stood a classic, Punch-and-Judy-type exhibition depicting an effeminate angel falling from clouds to flames. At the top, a crudely hand-painted sign said, “Happy Holidays from the Satanic Temple.”[xiv] This same work of “art” had been rejected by state officials the year prior, but in 2014, the Temple’s spokesperson “arrived with lawyers” and the piece was, as a precursor to the more elaborate “Snaketivity” of later years, placed directly next to the Christian Nativity.[xv]
Then, of course, there was the Boca Raton, Florida, “In Satan We Trust” lighted lawn structure of 2016 featuring Freedom from Religion Foundation’s large, red pentagram wedged between a Christmas tree and a Nativity scene. Locals weren’t happy that the sign next to it said both “‘Celebrate Winter Solstice,’ as well as, ‘Hail Satan, Not Gods,’”[xvi] but because it had been erected within a government “free speech zone,” they were all politely informed that nothing could be done.
We shouldn’t naively assume that all satanic demonstrators will be so quiet. Their boldness is increasing as we type this. Two minutes before the time of this writing, a story was released covering the “Let Us Worship” event at the National Mall in Washington, DC, at which a Kenyan-American pastor Dr. Charles Karuku, from the International Outreach Church, was accosted by a Satanist who drenched him in blood. Pictures of the incident show that the blood splashed its way past the pastor’s poncho and COVID-19 mask, reaching his eyes and covering his nose and chin. Details as to where the blood came from were not disclosed in the story. This attack followed one from a previous “Let Us Worship” gathering in Seattle, where Satanists marched and chanted “Hail Satan” before “sabotaging the generators being used to power the sound system.”[xvii]
Understandably, many conservatives in our country will find it appalling that all these pagan/satanic events are happening in a “Christian nation.” Or, maybe these folks aren’t aware that most, including our former United States president, don’t believe that’s what we are any longer, and aren’t afraid to say as much, even when the audience is, eventually, all of North America. Barack Obama, in his pre-election “Faith and Politics” speech in 2006 at the “Call to Renewal’s Building a Covenant for a New America” conference in Washington, DC, quite openly stated that, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.”[xviii]
And the disheartening reality that America—the most powerful country in the West—has hogtied itself into tolerating all “religions,” including satanic ones, is absolutely less than ideal, but at the very least, these events are only happening on government property, for the most part, right? Of course, there was that time when the Holy Trinity Church in Westminster stopped using its building as a place of worship and later allowed Paul Fryer’s grotesque, terrifying, offensive, completely nude (and anatomically correct) Lucifer sculpture called “Morning Star” to dominate the entrance to a once-holy gathering place, sure.[xix] But that was after Fryer’s other blasphemous displays—a gorilla being crucified on the cross[xx] and a Jesus with charred, blackened skin being shocked to death by an electric chair[xxi]—had already heralded that one particular retired church as a place of sacrilege. You can’t base what’s happening in other Christian churches that are currently, actively engaged in worship meetings on the events taking place in a single London building. Of course, there were all those other times that a bunch of actively worshiping Christian churches took down their crosses so they wouldn’t offend the non-Christians in their area.[xxii] Yeah, there was that.
Maybe we’re not doing so well, huh, now that we’ve processed this trail of thought? That remove-the-cross trend was certainly concerning, considering that the cross upon which Christ died is the universally recognized symbol of redemption and all that believers are given freely because of His voluntary act. If we’re willing to denounce our central symbol for the sake of the world, we’re guilty of worse than mere syncretism. When we see our land, our capitol buildings, and important landmarks falling under the dominion of the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of this earthly kingdom (Satan; see Ephesians 2:2, John 12:31, John 14:30, and John 16:11), and our response is to further surrender our land and take down our crosses, syncretism is small potatoes.
The Body is already splitting. Don’t you feel that? One group is on the surface, seemingly unfazed by the cultural shift from “one nation under God” to “one nation under Satan.” The other group, who refuses to syncretize and “play nice” with paganism, is becoming fed up with Western Christianity’s gimmicks and is moving underground in a mass exodus from the spirit of religion.
Someone needs to alert the Christian leadership in the West and tell them all this is happening! Maybe we should call the pope!
Oh, fiddlesticks. That’s right, we forgot for a second. He’s too busy trying to launch the One-World Order and get child-sacrifice idols placed in the Catholic Church. Crud. There went that idea.
But wait…we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Postmodernism’s Contribution to a Collective Vulnerability
After taking in that revolting list of blasphemous moments on the small screen, as well as the efforts of satanic groups to boot Christianity out of the West for good, some of what will be talked about in this section will seem tame. We assure you, however, this discussion here outlines by far the greater worry for all who identify with the title of “Christian” and who weep on the inside for the lost.
When the Body is ridiculed from the outside, we can boil with righteous anger about how that reflects on us as well as on God, and we can blame ourselves for allowing it to happen (which is partly true). But, no matter what, we can’t say we didn’t see it coming (2 Timothy 3:12; Luke 6:22; John 15:18; Matthew 5:10–11; 2 Corinthians 12:10).
When the Body deteriorates from the inside, spawning generations of a weaker Bride, we stand far less a chance of being able to successfully respond to what’s happening with the reputation of Christ and His Church on the outside, and more importantly, we pollute our Great Commission endeavors. Put another way: When a physical body is sick, it can’t be counted on to run the fastest race or stand the test of endurance; when the corporate Body of Christ is sick, it promises a similar collapse in its own race for the lost that Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 9:23–27.
Consider a quote by Professor Douglas Groothuis, a well-known doctor of philosophy who specializes in postmodernism and the failure of our culture to recognize and report genuine truth. In his book, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism, Groothuis first states that the media does, in fact, “affect how people view truth, what questions they ask, what they take for granted and about what ideas they are skeptical,”[xxiii] which relates to the role of the social science influences we addressed earlier. Then he spends a good chunk of his book explaining how the gouging detriments of fake news, media manipulation, and popular dissolution of an “absolute, objective, and universal”[xxiv] truth in our society (among other things) not only lead to the development of cultural hostility against Christianity, but feed the disease of postmodernist reasoning, which ultimately states that everyone can believe whatever they feel good about regardless of reality. (The Handmaid’s depiction of cultic Christianity, under the influence of postmodernist reasoning, joined by biased subjectivity in news related to Christianity on a global scale, almost guarantees that the twisted, dystopian religion of television will be how we are eventually viewed on a large scale. It’s simply what happens when logic and deep thinking are traded for partisanship.) Later, Groothuis delivers this gem regarding the Church’s role, specifically:
When the people in the pews are soaked in postmodernist assumptions and sensibilities that erode the biblical view of truth, they are in no position to program the life of God’s church—for teaching, evangelism or anything else.[xxv]
What a humbling thought. Whether or not the “people in the pews” are to blame for our culture’s “truth decay” and constant barrage of miscommunications about God and His people, so long as we’re a part of that nonsense (and we are, whether individually or corporately, as we will soon address), we don’t have the right, or the capability, to lead Christ’s Church the way it should be led. We are incompetent to teach and evangelize, whether our purpose is for edifying the Body of already-saved saints or ministering to the lost.
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While we’re on the subject of postmodernist philosophy, its relationship to religion, and its effects on the Body of Christ, let’s visit a few absolutes that some forces at work in today’s secularizing culture are attempting to dissolve. Regardless of what you decide to believe, and no matter how you feel about Christianity, certain fundamental facts apply in order for the title of “Christian” to mean anything. Howell wrote at great length about this in her previous book, Radicals—a line-by-line study of the entire book of James and the power it holds to reform the current pop-culture, social-club Church into the wise, self-controlled, familial structure it’s meant to be—so we won’t go into it at length now. Suffice it to say that there are countless current misapplications of Martin Luther’s sola fide (“faith alone”; see Galatians 2:16) doctrine in an increasing number of mainstream Protestant ministries today (lies that state we can live however we want to and get by on “just believing,” which is not what Luther meant, although it’s a clever postmodernist approach to avoiding divine accountability). But it goes beyond only “Donna Howell’s opinion” that “just believing God exists” (like a child does in the bogeyman or fairies) doesn’t inscribe the “Christian” moniker on our spiritual nametags. Not only does James—the half-brother of Christ, Himself—state that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14–26), he also dispels the liberalistic application of the sola fide doctrine by stating that the very demons of hell have also achieved “just believing” (2:19), and they’re scared out of their scaly skins at the mere thought of God, because they know they’re doomed and salvation is eternally out of their grasp. Choosing to generically “believe God exists,” then sharpening that faith with the wet noodle of postmodernist philosophy that builds hear-then-disobey foundations on sand (Matthew 7:24–27) doesn’t secure even salvation, let alone a successful approach to the Great Commission. And, when the Great Commission isn’t top priority for a Christian, then that person cannot be a Christian, regardless of what culture or society says, simply because the Commission is the purpose of the Church.
If we don’t care about these principles, we may as well be a cult…
Because of the apathetic stance the Western Church has taken on the tenets and spiritual disciplines of our faith, the Church has morphed into something appalling. We may not always be able to stop the outside world from being what it will be, simply because, when left to mere human moral conviction (as opposed to an absolutely governing moral law, like that found in the Bible), fallen man will produce fallen worlds. But when we “do as the pagans do” and embrace their evil ways, we become pagan while we are “dressed like” Christians…and this is precisely what will happen in the End Days, when the visible, legal Church—under the influence of the Man of Sin—persecutes and murders the true disciples of Christ.
As demoralizing as it may feel to some to read the following words, they are nonetheless true: In the End Times, the Church of Rome can’t save you, because she, too, is a Bride of Spot and Wrinkle. Every effort by the powers that be are in place to make her the mother of all Harlots.
UP NEXT: Vatican Babylon
[i] Avi Selk, “A Satanic Idol Goes to the Arkansas Capitol Building,” August 17, 2018, Washington Post, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/08/17/a-satanic-idols-3-year-journey-to-the-arkansas-capitol-building/.
[ii] Abby Phillip, “Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments Statue Must Be Removed, State Supreme Court Says,” June 30, 2015, Washington Post, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/30/oklahomas-ten-commandments-statue-must-be-removed-state-supreme-court-says/?tid=lk_inline_manual_5.
[iv] “Ten Commandments Monument May Be Joined By Monkey God and Satanic Tribute at Oklahoma Capitol,” December 16, 2013, CBS News, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ten-commandments-monument-may-be-joined-by-monkey-god-and-satantic-tribute-at-okla-capitol/.
[v] Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “Oklahoma’s Controversial Ten Commandments Monument Was Quietly Removed Overnight,” October 6, 2015, Washington Post, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/10/06/oklahomas-controversial-ten-commandments-monument-was-quietly-removed-overnight/.
[vi] Abby Ohlheiser, “The Satanic Temple’s Giant Statue of a Goat-headed God Is Looking for a Home,” July 1, 2015, Washington Post, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/07/01/the-satanic-temples-giant-statue-of-a-goat-headed-god-is-looking-for-a-home/.
[vii] “Bring Baphomet to Arkansas!” fundraiser, ReasonAlliance, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/Mzg4NTY=.
[viii] Max Brantley, “Satanic Temple Cleared to Enter the 10 Commandments Lawsuit,” December 18, 2018, Arkansas Times, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2018/12/18/satanic-temple-cleared-to-enter-the-10-commandments-lawsuit.
[ix] Elisha Fieldstadt, “Satanic Statue Erected in Illinois State Capitol with Other Holiday Decorations,” December 6, 2018, NBC News, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/satanic-statue-erected-illinois-state-capitol-other-holiday-decorations-n944706.
[xi] Elisha Fieldstadt, “Satanic Statue Erected…,” NBC News.
[xiii] Bill Chappell, “Satanist and Christian Holiday Displays to Go Up at Michigan Capitol,” December 17, 2014, NPR News, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/12/17/371503835/satanist-and-christian-holiday-displays-to-go-up-at-michigan-capitol.
[xiv] Abby Ohlheiser, “The Florida Capitol’s Holiday Display Will Include a Festive Message from the Satanic Temple,” December 4, 2014, Washington Post, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/12/04/the-florida-capitols-holiday-display-will-include-a-festive-message-from-the-satanic-temple/.
[xvi] Kristen Chapman, “Battle over Holiday Displays: Satanic Display Erected Next to Nativity Scene,” December 6, 2016, CBS 12 News, last accessed January 14, 2020, https://cbs12.com/news/local/battle-over-holiday-displays-satanic-display-placed-next-to-nativity-scene.
[xvii] Heck, Peter, “Satanist Assaults Pastor at D.C. Prayer Rally, Drenches Him in Blood,” October 27, 2020, Disrn, last accessed October 27, 2020, https://disrn.com/news/satanist-assaults-pastor-at-dc-prayer-rally-drenches-him-in-blood.
[xviii] “Obama: We Are No Longer a Christian Nation,” YouTube Video, 0:00–0:04, uploaded by robxz on March 9, 2008, last accessed February 3, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmC3IevZiik. Note that this was a part of the speech listed in the following endnote number, but the New York Times actually reported it incorrectly (likely to make his statement less offensive), as this video clip shows.
[xix] Photos of this monstrosity is all over the Internet. Many tourists have taken pictures of this “artwork” and added it to their own websites, articles, and Facebook and Pinterest accounts. Readers will not have a hard time finding news about this through a simpleGoogle search. However, as one example: “Lucifer in Westminster,” August 16, 2014, last accessed February 3, 2020, https://enso6288.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/statue-of-lucifer/.
[xx] Similar to the last endnote regarding Fryer’s “art,” this is everywhere. One example: Olivia Cole, “London’s Guerrilla Art,” October 15, 2009, updated July 14, 2017, The Beast, last accessed February 3, 2020, https://www.thedailybeast.com/londons-guerrilla-art.
[xxi] Similar to the last endnote regarding Fryer’s “art,” this is everywhere. One example: Andrew Hough, “Church Art Exhibition Includes Crucified Ape and Black Jesus on Electric Chair,” October 14, 2009, The Telegraph, last accessed February 3, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/6319258/Church-art-exhibition-includes-crucified-ape-and-black-Jesus-on-electric-chair.html.
[xxii] This is an ongoing trend, actually, and readers will easily find countless stories of this occurring across our nation today simply by Googling it. One example is: Robert Spencer, “Canada: Church Takes Cross Off Wall to Avoid Offending Muslims,” December 26, 2018, Jihad Watch, last accessed September 26, 2019, https://www.jihadwatch.org/2018/12/canada-church-takes-cross-off-wall-to-avoid-offending-muslims.
[xxiii] Groothuis, Douglas, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000; Kindle edition), locations 999–1000.
[xxiv] Ibid., back cover.
[xxv] Ibid., locations 2793–2794.