I have written about the Republican Party’s obsession with demons and with Satan. The surest way for a Republican politician today to alarm the base is to associate something they don’t like with demons and Satan. It’s gotten almost to be a knee-jerk reaction.
Those of you who are old enough likely remember the old crusade against role playing games. In particular, Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D. This game’s demonic associations are well-documented by conservative Christians. That is to say, they hate it. So it must be of Satan.
Pat Robertson was therefore plowing no new ground when he went after D&D on the 700 Club yesterday. Asking why kids – particularly teenagers – kill themselves, Robertson blames “demonic games” like D&D, which are to be compared to bulimia and anorexia (it is unclear if these disorders are demonic as well):
Who knew that D&D destroyed peoples’ lives? I know all sorts of people who have played D&D because I was one of them. D&D was fun. It allowed people to step outside their humdrum lives and socialize and use their imaginations.
I remember mostly a lot of laughter.
But Robertson says games like D&D – and he alludes to computer games as well – “put a lot of pressure” on kids.
D&D puts a lot of pressure on kids. Not bullying. Not the normal pressures any teenager faces from peers, parents, and teachers.
We all felt those pressures as adolescents. I can assure you D&D was a release from all those pressures. I suspect my fellow players and former players would agree with me. The only pressure I felt was to find a system of rules that were more realistic yet still playable.
Yeah, the stuff of suicide, that.
Not so much.
Moving on, we find E.W. Jackson, a former minister (that fact should surprise no one) who happens to be Virginia’s Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. This is the guy who says that Democrats are slave masters and that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim.
The latter is no surprise to anyone, of course. This past spring, End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles of TruNews, said of Obama that “the man in the White House is a devil from Hell.”
Because we all know Islam is not really a religion and that if you’re not worshiping Jesus you must be worshiping Satan, and you can’t possibly be worshiping Jesus if you disagree with the Religious Right.
Jackson, by the way, is the guy who, as Right Wing Watch reported, says gays and lesbians are “perverted,” “degenerate,” “spiritually darkened” and “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
When he is not hating on gay people, Jackson is hating on meditation.
Robertson demonized D&D, and Jackson demonizes yoga.
National Review brought to our attention last week Jackson’s 2008 book, Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life: Making Your Dreams Come True.
Yoga won’t make your dreams come true, says Jackson. Rather, the opposite, reports the National Review:
When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana. . . . The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself. . . . [Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. That is why people serve Satan without ever knowing it or deciding to, but no one can be a child of God without making a decision to surrender to him. Beware of systems of spirituality which tell you to empty yourself. You will end up filled with something you probably do not want.
It is interesting, don’t you think, that if you are doing anything people like this don’t want you to do, you are inviting Satan into your soul?
And that’s not all. Don’t think Satan’s influence stops at D&D and yoga:
[M]ost people are dead spirits. As such they have the nature of Satan who does not want to have anything to do with God or anyone related to Him. Of course they are not aware that they are imbued with the nature of Satan. They would be mortified by the idea of becoming Satanists or devil worshippers. Satan benefits far more from people who do not know they serve him than from those who knowingly bow to him. Your spirit was made for attachment. It is either attached to God or to Satan, but it is not neutral, no matter how much people think themselves to be.
Uh…I think he’s talking about me.
It’s a good thing there was no such thing as Satan as a lord of evil to the Jews. In the Book of Job, poor old Satan was just YHWH’s faithful lieutenant, doing his master’s bidding by tormenting and dehumanizing Job.
I’d be really worried if Satan was real.
For that matter, demons were not always demons either. In the polytheistic world, demons, or daimonia – more powerful than humans but less powerful than gods – were not evil but could be dangerous, like a lion or a tiger might be dangerous. Or a human with an assault weapon, for that matter.
National Review didn’t mention it, but BuzzFeed reported a few days ago that “in his 2008 book Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life that birth defects were caused because of sin. He wrote the book when he was serving as a minister.”
The passage reads:
Keep in mind that the whole cosmos has been made imperfect — wounded — by sin. It is the principle of sin, rebellion against God and His truth which has brought about birth defects and other destructive natural occurrences. Leaving aside that for a moment, recent discoveries about the genetic code of each human being are a fulfillment of scripture. Your genetic code is the handwriting of God, written before you or the world existed. Our genetic blueprint is proof of the existence of the Living God and His infinite intelligence, purpose and design. Sadly, many will ignore the deeper spiritual truth which underlies the advance of this scientific knowledge.
Jackson is on record as saying he isn’t hating anybody when he hates on them: “I say the things that I say because I’m a Christian, not because I hate anybody, but because I have religious values that matter to me.”
I find it funny that when liberals say things about people like Jackson because they’re liberal, they’re accused by people like Jackson of hating. But liberals have values that matter to them as well, values which are devalued and de-legitimized by right-wing zealots like Jackson.
For a whole list of examples of Jackson’s demented ramblings, visit Right Wing Watch. But if, like me, you’re a person who has dabbled in D&D and yoga, bring a barf bag.
But don’t get the idea that much thought goes into anything they do outside of demonizing things. And this is not about demonizing Republicans in turn. It’s just being in accordance with the factual world, that fabric of shared reality that eludes our Republican neighbors.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.