The Navy Chief at the Naval Academy sent this email:
A few minutes later, the Chief who authored that e-mail sent this follow-up:
(Readers, these were sent to me as screenshots. I can’t copy-and-paste in a more readable format. If you are having trouble reading it, the gist is that the Chief is a confessed Satanist, and is inviting others at the USNA to participate in a Satanic ritual.)
My source comments:
Obviously, the email raises more questions than it claims to answer. How can this chief claim no sponsorship or endorsement from the Satanic Temple, even as he admits he’s a member? He claims not to conduct or promote symbolic evil, when that’s what Satan is in literature (and he’s the closest thing to evil incarnate in the real world). The website he links to talks about Black Masses and “unbaptisms,” but they don’t engage in ritual sacrifice. The list goes on.
This source said that the command chaplain, a Catholic priest, had no idea any of this was going on, and is furious. The Satanists did not go through proper channels, it appears, so this event might not happen.
Given all this, I thought this story couldn’t possibly get any more interesting, but then something else happened that made me decide to write you. This afternoon, a midshipman who is very involved in one of the Protestant organizations on the Yard wrote an open letter to leaders of other Christian organizations. I’ve reproduced it here, with his name redacted:
(Disclaimer: My opinions do not represent the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, the Naval Academy, or any government institution. The opinions expressed here are solely my own and in my personal capacity as a Christian.)
Open Letter to Christians on the Yard
The Satanists have come to the Academy! As much as that tagline may elicit strong reactions in even the most casual believers, one should examine the phenomena occurring beneath the surface. The Satanic Temple (TST) as it were is calculated for shock value. It is a clever exercise in narrative building and optics manipulating. In the present culture, there is nothing the media loves to hate more than a group of angry Christians. What’s more, there’s nothing the media loves more than to prove these angry Christians wrong. TST is just such a ploy.
If one examines the literature and tenets of the group, overt worship of the devil is not one of the core beliefs. Rather, its principles would be right at home in a meeting in the Temple of Reason of revolution era France. It is a simple repackaging of old humanist ideas that have been around for centuries. The insidious trick is that the Temple has opted for symbolism designed to rile up the Church. In this fallen world, there certainly are individuals who worship the supernatural being of Satan. However, the Satanic Temple is not an organization of these individuals. In fact, TST denies the existence of the supernatural altogether.
The use of the pentagram, Baphomet, black mass, and other overtly anti-Christian themes is meant to throw Christians into a rage. After all, there is nothing more antithetical to the worship of Christ than the worship of the Deceiver. The gambit is that angry Christians will not examine TST’s beliefs and merely attack it for its symbolism. In contrast, the TST members will appear very level headed and cooly point out that they do not worship the devil. Granted, the humanist path is equally under condemnation, but dealing with humanism necessitates much different tactics. Humanists take great pride in their portrayal of religious types as superstitious troglodytes itching to burn people at the stake. It is no small coincidence that TST is headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, the site of a series of witch trials in the early colonial days. As such, when Christians are thrown into a blind rage at the sight or thought of a group calling themselves the Satanic Temple, they play right into the trap.
The question remains, how do we respond as Christians? The first thing that should come into our minds is Matthew 5:11. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount provides a wealth of examples for Christians to follow in these types of situations. Jesus also said in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Satan is the father of lies. The ploy used by TST to bait Christians into vitriolic hatred should come as no surprise given our adversary’s deceptive nature. He is the master of spiritual irregular warfare and we should by no means expect a symmetrical attack. TST is just such an asymmetrical bait and switch intended on catching us off guard.
My views on TST should not be construed to mean a condemnation of individual members. As Jesus said, the greatest commandment is love. I do not believe that the individual attendees are actively trying to deceive Christians. However, their actions as part of the organization contribute to the phenomena I described above. The response should not be to call for exorcisms, protests, or any forms of direct attack. Instead, one should engage with the individuals on a personal basis and genuinely explore their beliefs. Engagement in civil dialogue and apologia is a Christian’s greatest asset.
On another note, the TST’s presence at the Naval Academy is likely to be rather short lived anyway. Yes, the first meeting will be exceptionally well attended due to the hype generated. However, one should remember that it is an incredibly small minority of midshipmen that asked for this service. Next week, one can expect barely half of the original attendance. By the third week, the fad will likely have fizzled out. This progression will only happen if we let it. If we fall for the bait, come out with guns blazing, and use symmetric attacks against an asymmetric opponent, TST’s recruitment goes up and attendance is sustained by controversy.
Detractors may say, did not Jesus drive the money changers from the Temple? Did not Jesus instruct his disciples to carry a sword when going out to the dangerous countryside of Judea? Did not Jesus say, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)? The answer is yes. Jesus never stood by while evil took place. He actively fought, “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). The course of action I have outlined above exactly answers Jesus’ example. By engaging in civil discussion, spreading the Gospel Truth, and not falling for the deception, we are indeed struggling against the spiritual forces of evil. We should look to Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees. Whenever they endeavored to trick Him with a question or hypothetical, He would not engage on their terms. Instead, he would attack the underlying motive behind their deceptions and defeat them. The Satanic Temple is a stumbling block in the same way if one is not careful. Therefore, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).
Brother in Christ