This month on the blog and podcast we discussed Cancel Culture, problematic online leftist spaces, and the Satanic Abortion ritual unveiled by the Satanic Temple at the beginning of the month. This generated a great deal of discussion on social media, Discord, and Patreon.
One member of my Discord community had this to say about my interview with the widely loathed and canceled journalist Katie Herzog:
I’m proudly on the left but I understand completely about asking what good “cancelling” can do. Also is it possible to separate art from the artist? Weirdly enough I watched the new documentary last night on Ren and Stimpy. While it celebrates the show and the ENTIRE team behind it, they also address the disgusting behaviour by John Kricfalusi. I can’t cancel that show in my head because I loved that show growing up but I can say that the man IS problematic to say the least. The same with Rowling, I grew up on the HP books but I have trans friends who are rightly upset by her views/tweets etc. Whilst I enjoyed the books (never really dove into the fandom), destroying copies of the books will get you nowhere because 1) shes made her money 2) theres barely any money to be made from the books as it is. It’s all in the merchandising. And yes the left needs to stop being so aggressive and more welcoming at times. A couple of years ago I did a gig for an anarchist book fair and was told despite being from a working class background and on the left, I wasn’t left enough and wasn’t invited back the next year. I’ll always be a leftie little snowflake but dammit, sometimes we need to give our heads a shake and actually unite.
Another member of my Discord offered this commentary on the subject of “Cancel Culture:”
Just caught the recent episode and while there’s some specific things I disagree with (I firmly see JKR as a terf), the broad strokes about the dangers of cancelling, social boycott, or excommunication I definitely agree with. It’s a big problem because there’s no room to grow, you’re just shunned forever if you make a mistake and it absolutely only is effective from your own side. Excommunication is being driven from your community so it follows that only your community could do that to you. And absolutely I’ve noticed the emphasis on victimhood over resiliency. I believe strongly in the value of trigger warnings, but damn do some people turn things that upset them into genuine triggers by catastrophizing about them over and over and self-traumatize about it. A queer person calling themselves queer shouldn’t cause such an emotional response in people. I don’t really care why someone is at Pride as long as they’re ready to do some work for advancing human rights. I don’t care if someone has a slightly different view on most things as long as we both agree on basics like acceptance of minorities and harm reduction. The online left is so fucking baffling to me. Nobody at the real Dyke marches cares if you’re a lesbian, trans dude, bisexual, or even just a cisallohet sex worker, but online there’s all this pointless debate about it. All this stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much as if that gay person can be themselves without parental abuse, or that sex worker can get condoms when they need them, the real, tangible stuff.
Over on my Patreon, Lady Lilith offered this commentary on my interview with Jane Essex about the Satanic abortion ritual.
I, too, have felt dismayed when seeing commentary online insinuating the *only* purpose the abortion ritual (or TST in general) serves is to give the middle finger to Christian Nationalists or that the abortion ritual itself is nothing more than a clever ploy to outmaneuver theocrats. That “take” is so narrow-minded and short-sided, it is hard not to feel frustrated at times. However, (I try to remind myself) the ill-informed beliefs of others do not have any bearing or impact over the power of this ritual or this religion. Never in a million years would I have thought I would willingly join any type of religious movement or feel a sense of pride in a religious identity… Then, I found Satanism and TST and my life is richer for it. Revolt of the Angels teaches us that we destroy our Tyrant when we destroy Ignorance and Fear within ourselves. This destruction ritual serves that exact purpose, from my point of view. The “fear” , the self-doubt, and the ignorance imposed upon individuals seeking abortions can be overwhelming… they are often bombarded by the ignorance and superstitious nonsense of others — whether that be from individuals, organizations, or even states/governing bodies.
Vile hatred and a twisted perception of reality where pregnant people are meant to feel awful for exercising control over their own bodies and their own futures is oftentimes hurled at them from all directions, sometimes literally (like walking through a gauntlet of pro-life protesters) and being forced to act in a manner consistent with the beliefs of outsiders (anyone other than the individual’s own beliefs and will) and/or to comply with medically unnecessary mandates, practices, or procedures is not only incredibly invasive, it is also unconstitutional.
I think the abortion ritual is a beautiful and empowering religious experience.
Other religions prescribe a certain set of rules their adherents must comply with and followers are often taught to resist temptation / not to be swayed from their religious path by “worldly influences.”
Whenever an adherent makes a decision that is consistent with these teachings, they feel a sense of affirmation…like they’re doing “the right thing” and have made a choice that coincides with their faith, religious identity, and practices. This behavior is often reinforced when they receive backing/support from their religious communities and they feel a sense of comfort and reassurance in their actions and life choices by believing they have the unwavering ‘love’ of a supernatural deity.
From my perspective, the abortion ritual seems *somewhat* similar in that an individual is meant to find comfort within themselves by taking control of their own bodies & futures. The feelings of doubt and fear are vanquished and replaced with acceptance and love for thyself.
This ritual provides a layer of protection as well as emotional support for Satanists who refuse to be swayed / influenced by the will of others or the will of the state (I.e. “worldly” influences or cultural norms) or to bear an undue burden that infringes upon a Satanists’ religious beliefs of bodily autonomy and science being the ultimate arbiter of truth.
On the topic of whether a healthcare provider might feel coerced into taking part in or supporting a Satanic ritual, the way i see it:
— they should not be in the healthcare field if they are not willing or able to provide healthcare to all individuals with the intent of improving the health and well-being of each patient (not just the patients who share the healthcare provider’s personal religious beliefs) and the mental health of each patient should be considered and respected as well.
— a healthcare provider attempting to prevent a Satanist from enacting / participating in a deeply religious and sincere ritual experience that they feel is necessary, provides them with comfort, and improves their mental health would be like if a healthcare provider tried to prevent someone from participating in communion or that they were not allowed to pray during a medical procedure. And no government body or any person has the right to dictate what is and is not “appropriate” religious expression for another human being.
I am so grateful for both of you (and all the other leaders within the Satanic Community) for all the hard work you do and risks you take to ensure other Satanists can live in accordance with our sincerely held religious beliefs. I cannot thank you enough. Hail, Satan and Hail, yourselves. ❤️
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