When religion intersects with disability, most religions fall short, so we’re examining how Modern Satanists can make our religious spaces more welcoming for everyone.
- The Conjuring Trailer (dog help us)
- Altered Photo Shows Kerry With Church of Satan Founder
- Facts About Disability (WHO)
- The Meaning of Ableism (Forbes)
- Rhetoric of Ableism
- Disability In Art History
- The Problem With Exorcism
- Ableism In the Church
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Welcome to Black Mass Appeal, a podcast that brings modern Satanism to the masses. Today on Black Mass Appeal: when religion intersects with disability, most religions fall short, so we’re examining how modern Satanists can make our religious spaces more welcoming for everyone. Also, Satanic Bay Area is ‘Conjuring’ our latest field trip. And in the news, hoaxsters are “Kerry-ing” on with some suspicious photos. Joining me today, I’ve got Daniel.
Hey, my name is Daniel. I’m an organizer for Satanic Bay Area and I’m a member of the Satanic Temple, and tonight’s show is going to be so PC, it could actually be fatal to members of the alt-right. It’ll be like the ending of Mars Attacks; it’s actually going to be a wild out there.
Heads exploding since we’re actually loving and including everybody. Love to see it. Also joining me is Tabitha.
Hey, this is Tabitha. I’m an administrator for Satanic Bay Area, and I am really looking forward to this episode and kind of deep diving into it. I think it’s gonna be really important.
And joining us later on in the show is going to be Lily, TST and SBA member. And until then, you’ve got me. My name is Simone. I’m an administrator for Satanic Bay Area, and I too have been looking forward to this one. This one has been too long in coming, so I’m glad we’re, we’re doing it now. All right, well, Black Mass Appeal is a product of Satanic Bay Area, and it is not associated with any other Satanic groups. This is a podcast for Satanists to discuss modern Satanism, its history, left-leaning political activism, and how Satanism relates to current events and pop culture. Or, for people who want to learn more about modern Satanism, whether you’re a newbie or already involved in Satanic groups. And speaking of Satanic groups, what has Satanic Bay Area been up to?
Uh, quick show of hands, anybody out there seen The Conjuring?
I saw the first one, yes.
I- Oh! You didn’t catch The Conjuring 2, so you’re going to be deprived of critical plot points.
I’m just I’m gonna have to read the Wikipedia. Well, I mean- let’s tell the people what we’re doing before we get into how I’m behind in my movie series.
Well, you know, of course, movie theaters have actually been open in the Bay Area for some time now, but, for obvious reasons, not a lot of people have been going to the movies. One way that they have been trying to entice folks back and also create slightly more COVID-safe environments is by offering new private screenings at a fairly competitive rate, actually. And so, with the news in mind that there is yet another Conjuring movie coming out with a, perhaps unfortunate Satanic Panic theme running through this one, we have set up a private- I- it’s not a Satanists-only screening, because I know a couple of the people who are coming along or not Satanists, but it is a Satanist-centric private screening that we have arranged.
Well, I mean. It’s SBA and friends.
Yes, exactly. Satan and friends. In just a couple of days now, down at- we’re actually seeing this at a theater in San Bruno, simply because only so many theaters offered private screenings of this movie and that was the closest one. San Bruno is- what would you call that? Is that a suburb of San Francisco? Or is that?
Yeah, it’s a, you know, city on the peninsula. Halfway between-
I think it’s a- I think it’s a suburb of San Mateo. *chuckles*
In any case, so we have got a limited number of seats. I think they’re all full at this point. We are going to troupe down there. We’re going to enjoy the movie, and since it is just us in the theater, we’re going to tell the movie exactly what we think of it. And, having seen the trailer- actually Tabitha and I saw the trailer over on Count Jackula’s stream for the very first time when we were chatting with him. This-
May I say- wait. May I say? Oof. *laughter*
Yeah, this one looks like a doozy, folks, so- I haven’t seen it yet. I actually know one or two of our guests here have seen it already, so maybe they’re taking a hit for the team by showing up for a second go-round. But, I don’t know, how’s everybody else? Everybody else seems like this is- looking forward to the outing.
Yeah, you know, I was not interested in seeing this movie. This is, this is a James Wan joint, right?
I know he produces all of these movies. I don’t know if he directed this one himself.
Okay. Well, I actually- I don’t care for any of his films. Sorry. I mean, the first Saw was fine; Sinister was okay. But typically, I don’t really like them all that much. And I was totally going to pass this one up until Daniel had this idea of doing it as a group, and then I’m like, ‘Oh, this is going to be so much fun because we are going to totally MST3k/Rifftrax the shit out of this and just go full-‘ I can’t imagine what the projection and the theater ushers are going to imagine when a group of 20 people looking how we pretty much look, screaming ‘Hail Satan’ back at the movie screen. I’m sure there’s gonna be some Facebook posts of like, ‘you’ll never believe what happened tonight!,’ coming from those people.
Do they do- do we have in-human projectionists these days? I would assume that’s an automated process, but I don’t know. I haven’t worked in a theater since I- seen the inner workings of a theater since high school.
I kind of assume someone’s got to be there to push start, but then they probably wander off to another, you know, window to start another movie, but if I’m hearing ‘Hail Satan,’ trickling up from the window into a movie theater, I might poke my head in to see what’s going on.
Well, I’m extremely excited about this, by the way. I’m also wondering, can we do, like, a quickie pre-movie ritual? Like, do you think that- like, can I get up front and, like, say a few words and lift up the Sigil and shit? Like, can we? Can we? Can we? Can we? Can we?
I was thinking about that-
I was gonna say no one’s stopping ya. *Daniel chuckles while Tabitha squees* Least of all us, so.
Ughhhh, I’m so excited. That’s gonna be so cool.
For the record. I liked the first Conjuring movie, although I thought it was weaker than some of the other James Wan-produced haunted house movies that have come out in the previous years. Simone, you probably don’t have to see Conjuring 2, because it’s the same story as Ghostwatch, which I know very well you’ve seen.
*sing-song voice* I love Ghostwatch! I showed it to my boyfriend for the first time just, like, a month ago and it’s, it’s so much fun, and, of course, the story around it is even better. Still pretty hard to find; we had to have somebody acquire it for us.
What did he think? Was- so, so is it still- I know, that movie, that’s a TV special, technically, is what it is, has a reputation as one that, kind of did a number on a lot of people, especially kids, when they saw that first aired on what? The BBC, I think, in the ’90s? I’ve- I’ve seen it, but it’s been some years. Is it actually- is that- does it live up to its reputation in terms of the atmosphere?
Well, for folks who don’t know, it’s a sort of a mockumentary BBC production, that is supposed to be a news crew going to the house of someone who is possessed and creepy things happen. And there’s a very strong’ War of the Worlds’ radio play influence to it, and that also was, sort of, the reaction, if you know what I’m referencing. So, you know, if this was coming out brand new, and you were seeing it in a movie theater, I think it would probably lose a lot of the atmosphere, I think, because it’s meant to be watched on TV. It used real BBC presenters, It was like, not- they didn’t give the game away ahead of time that it was not real, so, I think, maybe standing on its own outside of that whole backstory, it’s, it’s, you know, pretty- it’s fine, but knowing the effect it had, and the kind of place in horror history that it has, I think you can really see that value.
Tabitha, you ever see Ghostwatch? I don’t think we’ve ever watched it.
I don’t think so? By the description, it doesn’t sound, like, familiar enough to be like, ‘oh, yes, I’ve seen it,’ so I must not have.
Well, in any case, I don’t think this new Conjuring movie is going to quite rise to those levels no matter what, but I still strongly suspect we will have a good time, one way or the other.
Real quick. I want to correct something I said a minute ago, because I attributed Sinister to James Wan, and I think it’s actually Insidious that I was thinking of, which I *hated,* unfortunately. Sinister I liked fine.
Sinister, I thought, was good. I think that is another Wan-produced movie, but Scott Derrickson did Sinister. Same-
Same director who did The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a movie that will come up during the main topic, perhaps unexpectedly.
In any case, like I said, Satanist-centric screening, couple days, going to be a good time. Hopefully, it’s a hit and we get to do this again, but we will see.
Yayy! I love talking about movies!
I just like- I’m really excited to just have, like, Satanists, and their friends, in a theater, like, and that just be it. Like, ahahah- can we buy a movie theater and do this all the time?! *laughs*
Actually, I don’t see why not.
I also think us not being able to have- us only very recently having been able to gather once again for any kind of group festivities, this seems like a good cathartic experience. Feels like a good experience to get a few things off our chest. I also know a few people will be joining us for the first time; this seems like an easy introduction to the Satan-ing, if you have never partaken before, so that’ll be nice to see some new faces as well.
Yeah, and something I like to, you know, sort of stress when people are asking about what kind of events can I have with my Satanic group, my local Satanic community? I really advocate for having a variety of events. Not everything has to be a ritual; not everything has to be serious. Have a casual get-together. You know, something sort of in between a coffee hour and something like a field trip or other, sort of, get-together. Make them low barrier to entry, make them, you know, not too much of a time or money commitment. Just, you know- a movie is, is perfect. So if you’re looking for ideas for stuff to do, make sure that you’re having a variety of things, from casual to more formal, you know, fun or serious. Just have a little bit of something for everyone.
Speaking of variety, I will say, I sometimes feel a little bit for those Satanists who don’t like horror movies because there are those people, but this is something that’s just sort of, like, part of Satanist culture, it seems like, which makes sense because most movies that deal with these themes are horror films, for obvious reasons. I’ve said ‘for obvious reasons,’ I think three times so far in the last 20 minutes that we’ve been recording. I’m going to run through my whole quota before the show is over. Nevertheless, I do know that there are some folks that that’s not quite their forte, and so, we’re gonna have to try to brainstorm a wider variety of films for some future events, I think.
Alright, well, after we watch the movie, we can come back and give you a review. Until then, we have a different kind of review; our listener reviews. So, we’ve got a couple new reviews to read. And this one comes from Kingston who says, “Am I a Satanist? This podcast is a mix of everything I love about discovering new things. Bingeable, educational, and funny as hell. I feel like if I knew Daniel, Tabitha, and Simone in real life, I would do everything I could to weasel my way into being their IRL friends. I can’t count how many times I needed people like them in my life, not only because they’re like me, but because they’re great at being themselves and that makes for a kick-ass podcast. Thank you guys for all that you do and all that you’ll continue to do, as always, Ave Satanas.” *Tabitha d’awwws* Thank you, Kingston! And I have to say, we are just as fucking dorky as we appear on this show. *Tabitha laughs* There’s no persona to put on.
I- maybe I should try and be, like, cooler? And more. I don’t know, Satan-ier than thou?’ But, I just- I don’t have the energy to do any kind of artifice, so this is, this is what you got.
Also, it’s probably a little late. 99 episodes is *laughter* not the time to suddenly adopt a cool persona.
What if I did an accent? Except I’m really bad at those.
Yeah, why, why don’t we not do that? *laughs*
Okay. Alright, alright…
Yeah, I feel like I’m too much of a goofball to be anyone but myself. Like, I could try, but I’d probably- like, you’d see right through it. *laughs* Oh! I want- because I keep forgetting because I’m a silly, silly woman. I want to shout out to GoatKitty, who came out to San Francisco, and we met up with her in Japantown, Daniel and I did, and we had a very, very good time. This was, like, last month, I think? Daniel?
I think ti was about three weeks ago now, yeah.
Yeah, and I kept meaning to mention it on the show, ‘cuz we had such a good time, and she’s so cool, so- Hi, GoatKitty! It was good to see you.!
Yeah, it turns out, I had met GoatKitty when she was in town once before a couple of years ago, but this is the first time Tabitha got to say hello to her, and, I guess we should be careful about saying this sort of thing, because ooooh, scary parasocial relationships. But, anytime fans are in town, and we have had the opportunity to say hello and hang out, they’ve been really great interactions, so- of course, I cannot promise that if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, that we will be able to drop by and see you, but always feel free to drop us a line because like I said, we’ve made a lot of great friends that way and we would like to continue that, that grand Satanic tradition in the future, if possible. If possible.
All right. And our second review comes from Patron Heretic, who says, “Hail from the Lone Pentagram State! Black Mass Appeal is simply what the demon doctor ordered. They have an amazing group of knowledgeable individuals who make learning about Satan fun and easy. They help to keep the Hellfires light, big and bright-” *clapping* doot, doot, doot, deep in the heart of Texas. I know that that’s a song, but we’re Californians that I’m really sorry that I-
Ooh, I know it! I know it!
Oh, Tab! Tab can do it!
Okay. They keep the Hellfires light, big and bright-
*also actually clapping* Clap, clap, clap, clap!
Deep in the heart of Texas! Yes!
Yay! “666 out of five upside-down stars. P.S., I have two drawings I made on Procreate. One is a logo for Satan Club because I didn’t know if y’all had one yet.” We don’t, actually!
We don’t! Oh my gosh, send it.
It’s kind of a big oversight. “-And the other is another logo I made for your consideration. I just wanted to share the love and artistic inspiration y’all give me every show. Sincerely, Brett.” So yes, Satan club, our little cover band. We do have an Instagram account; it is @SatanClubBand. And you might notice that our little, little avatar is completely blank because I just have not had the bandwidth to do anything with it, so-
Excuse me. I’m sorry, *band*-width.
*groans* Walked right into that one.
*groaning* How could you? *chuckles*
How could I not? So for those keeping score at home- by the way, what’s going on in your life? So these were long, lost Apple Podcast reviews, meaning that these came in from- one of these came in from overseas and the other one, our Lone Star Satanist here, was just someone who was unable to leave a review on Apple Podcast because apples made that as difficult as possible, so these ones were rescued from the dustbin by some extra effort on the part of these unfaithful listeners, which we appreciate. There have been some new Apple Podcast reviews coming in, because again, they have not yet made it technically impossible to do that, so we will be continuing to keep track of those. If you are somebody who was able to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, please feel free. If you are not, I think we’re pointing people over to Simone. What’s the other site?
It’s Pod Chaser. So go to podchaser.com. You can create an account; it’s free. They bill themselves as the IMDb of podcasts, which is an interesting concept, so you can follow shows, you can follow creators, you could follow guests, and you could leave reviews. So go to podchaser.com, type in Black Mass Appeal, and you’ll find us.
And, as I said, if you’re looking for a place to drop a review and Apple Podcasts is not playing nice with you, that is your go-to. We’ll, we’ll be citing those as well.
Alright, well, as far as we know, Patreon plays nice with everyone, and so we have some new Patreon contributors this episode. Now Patreon, of course, is the financial means by which we support the show and some of the works by Satanic Bay Area. So we have some new people to thank. First, we have Louise and Chance, so thank you both super much. And then we’ve got for our Mark of the Beast Club, which are the folks who are contributing $6.66 per month, Dread1457, or one, four, five, seven? Not sure how you’d like to break that down. 1,457. Either way, thank you all for supporting the show!
Is that Chance that we know or is it a different Chance?
I think that’s another chance.
Oh. Well, thank you to both of those chances. *laughs* And all of our Patreon supporters! Yay!
You, uh, you like your chances?
Get out of here. *Daniel cackles* Leave. Leave! Start a new podcast! *laughter*
I, as usual, want to thank all of our Patreon backers, and especially the fact that, you know, we are now getting to the point where, at least in California, we’re coming out of the pandemic and learning to be hopeful about the future again, and it has been particularly heartening during the hard times to know that so many of our backers have stuck with us even through this long and difficult period and also to know from the comments that a lot of people have left that this show has been, in at least a small way, something that has helped people as well, so that is a nice, feel-good sentiment to carry into the coming season and hopefully a much better and brighter year than the one we’re putting behind us. I guess a year and a half at this point, yeesh.
Yeah, we’re coming up on that. And also, though, you know, we know that times have been crazy hard for a lot of people all over the place, and so, you know, if you’re one of our listeners and contributors who had to drop off, that’s- we completely understand. we want you to take care of you first. And so if you’re able to contribute, that’s awesome, and if you’re not, we’re just happy that you listen.
And I did notice the other day, I was just looking at the Patreon and I noticed a longtime listener, who had backed in the past, who is backing us again. That’s always very heartening to see; if you’re one of those people who had to stop for whatever reason, feel free to pop back in any time because we are always happy to see you again. Or if you can’t, that’s fine too. You got to look out for yourself. Thanks very much for supporting the show in all the other ways you do. Speaking of which, of course, you just get our thanks when you back the show, you also get some special benefits. For example, we can- not yet but soon, we will have another Patreon backer poll where our unfaithful listeners themselves get to decide what some future Black Mass Appeal episodes are going to be about. In fact, some of our favorite episodes in the past have been those ones that listeners selected for themselves, including most recently the, the, far and away, the most popular option on the most recent show was back Episode 92, the Highgate Cemetery Vampire, which everybody seemed to have a really good time with that one, so the listeners have good taste apparently. Also, when you’re a Patreon backer, you get access to our special bonus show, Conspiracy Weary, where I continue to introduce listeners to some of the strangest corners of the internet and the, let’s call them, very colorful things that they believe, and I always want to preview upcoming ones here, but the problem is, I changed my mind so frequently about what I’m going to talk about, that it never really pans out. But I think this one, I think this one I can nail down. Say Tabitha, have you ever wondered if there’s any conspiracy theory that I actually take seriously myself?
Mmm, no. Should I?
Well, we were-
Oh, now I am!
*laughing* Well, we were just talking about one five days ago, so I assumed-
You would, you expect me to remember five days ago? Who are you? *laughter*
In this economy?! *Tabitha cackles*
You’re actually quite generous to put up with and pay attention to even half of the things I say, so that’s fair. Nevertheless, if anybody is curious, I will tell you, it’s none of the ones you’re thinking of and it is a really weird one, but I do have a good reason- Or at least I think it’s a good reason. So if you are not yet a backer, and you’ve been looking for an opportunity to be one, consider heading on over to Patreon and checking out upcoming Conspiracy Weary for that very, very personal reveal.
Now, Daniel, I’ve been wondering, where do you get these? Just these, these conspiracy theories? Like, I lurk on some weird parts of the internet, but you go deeper.
Well, you know what it is, as we talked about on the conspiracy shows that we did- it’s been a while since we did one of those, which is one of the reasons why I thought Conspiracy Weary was a cute idea for the backers, but it’s- a lot of the time, I would listen to this because I sincerely find a lot of these channels and these people entertaining. Now, unfortunately, conspiracy YouTube is less funny than it used to be because, it’s taken- grim times have come to, *laughs* have come to Cloud Kookooland, unfortunately, for various political timings[?]. Not that these people weren’t always, didn’t always have horrifying personal politics, but they would often manifest in ways that were just stranger and livelier, for lack of a better word. Now, unfortunately, ever since QAnon, kind of, sucked all the oxygen out of every other conspiracy sphere, that’s pretty much all it’s going on there, and that one is just not entertaining. That one is just scary in very distracting ways. So, mostly for material for this show, I have been going back to ‘greatest hits of conspiracy YouTube past’ and looking up just the weirdest shit that came up. Sometimes, it’s topical, for example, which just did a UFO-themed one because that’s in the legitimate news because of the Congressional report that I think just came out a couple of days ago, and I guess couldn’t have had anything terribly interesting in it because I did not pick up the news and see blaring headlines about aliens, as I would imagine one would.
You know, that’s, that’s part of our service to you. Daniel goes into these weird rabbit holes on the internet, so you don’t have to.
You’re welcome. *Simone chuckles*
All right, well, we’re about to go down another weird rabbit hole with the news, so let’s go ahead we’ll take a break and we’ll be back with that news.
Black Mass Appeal 23:21
*old-timey breaking news doots*
And those doots mean- wait, what do they mean?
Is it, is it the news?
It’s, it’s the news! It’s the news. Okay!
Okay. All right. Good.
Whoo! I almost forgot.
*fake sighs* You scared me.
It’s been a, it’s been a long day. *Tabitha chuckles* Alright, so today we are reading from Reuters Fact Check. “Fact Check- Old altered photo showing John Kerry with Church of Satan founder Resurfaces.” Hmm, can you tell already whether or not this is going to be real? Let’s get into it. “A newspaper clipping with a photograph of US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey has been fabricated. No such article was published by the San Francisco Chronicle and the photograph has been altered to show the pair together. The caption beneath the photo of the pair reads: PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: Anton LaVey, high priest of the Church of Satan, meets with the noted attorney John Kerry.” *sighs* They always got to go to that Rolling Stones reference, man. “Comments on the posts include ‘Doesn’t surprise me…birds of a feather all batting for the same team…team Satan. Thanks for sharing!!'” That’s a lot of mixed metaphors there. Anyway. “‘Not surprised,’ and, ‘He should be tried for treason and appropriately sentenced.'” I wasn’t, I wasn’t aware that Anton LaVey was an envoy from a foreign country, but there you are. *Tabitha chuckles* “The newspaper article shown in the post appears to be from the San Francisco Chronicle and published on ‘Sunday, July 17.’ Although the year is obscured, a closer look reveals that it was in the ’80s. Kerry is referred to as a ‘congressman’ in the article. No such article about Kerry and LaVey exists in the San Francisco Chronicle’s archives…The photograph in the claim is a [flipped] version of the original, which shows Anton LaVey with *snarky tone* Marilyn Manson, visible in a Rolling Stone article.” No matter how you feel about John Kerry, Manson fucking sucks.
“A fact check done by Snopes in 2003 determined that the image of Kerry was taken from a photo of him meeting with clown Rami Salami in 1998. The photo was also shared by Salami on his Facebook page in 2011.” *Tabitha giggles*
*giggles* Say that name again for me.
Rami Salami. *Tabitha still giggling*
Wouldn’t it be great if his name was actually, like, Ramie Salamie. *giggles*
You know, there is a, a television producer- I believe he’s the producer- on The West Wing and his name is, I am not kidding, Thomas Schlamme [pronounced ‘Shlammie’]. He goes by Tommy.
No, he doesn’t. *giggling*
His name is Tommy [Shlammie]. *Tabitha is about to pee herself giggling* That’s a real person, as apparently is Rami Salami, so…
What, what I want to know is, does this mean there’s a mirror universe version of this fake photo that is Rami Salami meeting Marilyn Manson? Because if anybody is sitting on that, please fire it our way.
Way more appropriate; they’re both fucking clowns. So.
I teed that one out just for you.
*in a fake sweet voice* Thank you. *quietly* He sucks. *louder* Anyway. You know, it just it, I would love to- and I’ve actually kind of kicked this idea around- I know other people are doing this work, but I feel like maybe more people need to be doing the work of trying to teach media literacy to people to- how to read the internet. Especially, maybe, some of our Boomer ‘relations.’ How to look at things critically; how to do a Google reverse image search; how to, you know, just question where something is coming from. Check the date. Check who wrote it. Check who posted it. Just- I see all this crazy stuff on the internet and the comments below is just people just swallowing it wholesale, and I’m not gonna go, you know, so far the other direction that I question every single thing and don’t believe it when reputable sources have provable facts and, you know, start going in the total other direction, like, you know, some of the people that Daniel covers on Conspiracy Weary. There’s, kind of, kind of, got to be a healthy balance thereof, like, recognizing reputable sources and then recognizing a ridiculously photoshopped image that’s being passed around on Facebook.
I was gonna say, you don’t have to be *that* media savvy to figure out that this photo was not legit. Just, just look at it. It’s, it’s, it might as well have like a big red Photoshop stamp right in the middle of it.
Yeah, yeah. I can tell by the pixels. *chuckling*
Yeah. Like, like, they’re, they’re not looking in the same direction is probably a big giveaway. Like, as people often do when they pose for photos, they’re usually both looking at the camera, so this is set up as if it’s, one of them looks as if he’s in a candid photo, and the other one looks as if he’s posing. Now, of course, we know Anton LaVey was posing for most of his life, but nevertheless-
Whomp, whomp! *Tabitha chuckles*
I had trouble, like, yeah. There’s, there’s no excuse, no excuse for you to be taken in by this.
I think- yeah, especially since if you really look at the picture- Kerry is kind of blurry?
And it, like, even if, it- but it’s not in-motion blur. Like, there’s no way to account for the fact that he is *obviously* in another photo of him moving slightly.
And then, of course, the text below it. You can see a tiny piece of the article that talks about, ‘oh, Kerry’s meeting with LaVey,’ or whatever. I mean, that’s- *signs* It looks- like, the text looks pretty good, I have to say, but, I mean, just, just an ounce of credulity, people! The paper- the photograph of this supposed newspaper, the full- the corner of the top right, the edge of the paper has been very neatly folded down into, kind of, a little dog ear triangle that very *conveniently* obscures the year on this supposed article, and I just- at least, you know, Facebook sucks, but if you click on to this post, it actually obscures the photo with kind of a dark cast over it with a button in the middle that says, “this photo has been altered.” So, *sighs* they’re trying, I guess.
I also have, I have so many other questions about this. For example, if you’re faking a photo from Rolling Stone, why don’t you make it look like a fake Rolling Stone photo? Now, [unitelligible] think Rolling Stone would not be writing about John Kerry, which, first of all, is not true. Second of all, Rolling Stone also just covered LaVey at various times in his life, including a great Lawrence Wright profile from 1991 that LaVey himself hated, and was complaining about in other magazines years later. So, that would have been a perfectly plausible image to appear in Rolling Stone, if it had ever happened, depending on what the context of the story is. Also, I find the selection of Kerry kind of odd. I guess, maybe if it was somebody more ‘red meat-y,’ like Pelosi or- Pelosi would make sense because she is from San Francisc- or Joe Biden or something, maybe they would’ve felt that was too obvious, but look at the audience you’re playing to. Nothing is too obvious. *chuckles*
Kerry, on the other hand, while prominent in US politics for a long time, is not anybody who’s quite as centrally located anymore. I mean, what’s the title that, that they gave for him here? What’s his- special ambassador on climate change?
How many, how many people in the world, including John Kerry, could have told you that was John Kerry’s job right now? *laughter* Very, very strange, creative choices in this hoax. I, I, I want to talk to the manager. *laughs*
Yeah, it just reminds me of one of the QAnon photos that was passed around with- Oh, gosh, I think it was Hillary Clinton and Huma, her, her former assistant adviser, and several other folks, and then they’re supposedly in front of a body that they are about to eat, with another body hanging behind them. Now, I took one look at the picture, and I’m like, ‘oh, the body hanging behind them is from Silence of the Lambs.’ That’s the body of the guard that Hannibal Lecter kills while he’s escaping, and then, I did have to look up who the body in the front was and that’s a still from The Cook, the Thief, [His] Wife & [Her] Lover with Helen Mirren, which I have now added to my list. Thank you, conspiracy theories.
Also, I think what’s really funny is I’m, kind of, deep-diving into this image. There’s this weird shadow behind Kerry and the reason why it’s there is because Marilyn Manson has black hair that is streaming over that side, so- and instead of just pushing him closer in so we could just not get that weird shadow, they just kind of went with this terrible shadow. Like, come on y’all!
Well, on the topic of incredulity[?], old Anton LaVey did write in his Satanic Bible, that ‘doubt will set you free,’ so maybe we should have that, sort of, media training episode of Black Mass Appeal down the line. Teach people a little bit about how you too can have fun debunking crazy right-wing propaganda from the safety of your own home.
You know, that’s actually not a bad idea. Through my work, I’ve gone through a couple of rounds of training about how to critically look at news articles and these more advanced research techniques to figure them out, including, like, looking up addresses on Google Maps and checking to see if, you know, the, the vehicle in the driveway of this house matches the vehicle that’s being mentioned. It’s, it was just super cool, so I’m actually down for that.
Maybe we can build on the Patreon poll, see what people think.
Here we go. All right, well. *laughs* That was a long discussion of a very, very, very obviously fake, edited[?] photo. So, let’s go ahead. We’ll take a break, and we’re going to come back with a discussion about our fellow Satanists who are living with disabilities.
Black Mass Appeal 33:42
Modern Satanism is for all people who want to affirm our worth, even in the face of arbitrary and uncaring prejudices, or at least that’s how it should be. In practice, even the well-intentioned may overlook the needs of our fellow Satanists when they’re a little bit different from our own. Today, we’re joined by our friend, Lily Cassiopeia, for a discussion on how to ‘exorcise’ ableism from our religious spaces and practices. Lily, thanks for joining us on Black Mass Appeal.
Thank you so much for having me here.
So, Lily, you are a member of TST, you’re a member of SBA, and a disabled veteran, so we are super excited to have you here and to hear more about your lived experience. So could you, for our listeners, Introduce yourself and help us get to know you.
Hi, my name’s Lily. My pronouns are they/them, and as you mentioned, I’m a disabled veteran, with both mental health and mobility disabilities. I am in the Sacramento area, and I like to travel around for all of my Satan-ing.
And we love to see you when you do Satan-ing thing with us.
So how did you actually come to Satanism?
It actually started as a journey when I was 18 years old and found myself unhoused after my conservative Christian family decided they didn’t want someone like me living in their home, and Satanism, for me, became a way to reclaim my own power. Then when I joined the military, I got sucked into the- go to church, or you’re stuck doing all this other stuff, and get in on all the propaganda and the brainwashing. So atheism led me to Satanism, the second time around, and that was the Satanic Temple. It was someone put in writing all the things that I was already living my life like.
So by the way, as long as we’re introducing Lily, there’s a couple of things that I would like to add. One, folks who have seen the movie Hail Satan- Lily, I don’t think you have any dialogue in that, but you do- there is a shot of you on the beach that I think get, get- I really enjoy because you’re having such a sincere and happy and wonderful moment there and it’s very nice to see that in the film when we watch it. And the other thing I want to mention, I think I’ve told this anecdote on the show before, but listeners might not realize it was you we’re talking about. I met Lily at a Satanist event in San Jose about three and a half years ago now, and we met because you recognized my voice from the podcast, which, at the time, we’d only been doing for a couple of months, so that was my first experience of meeting somebody who listened to the show and that was a big treat for me, and so, I still really value and appreciate that interaction. That meant a lot to me at the time, and still does.
Aww, thank you.
I also thought it was very endearing that, I think, the very first thing you asked me about the show was, so you and Tabitha a couple? I thought that was- *laughter* It was, evidently, a very pressing issue.
*laughing* Are we that obvious?
Yes. Yes. *Daniel and Lily laugh*
So there we have it.
And I’m silly, so I’m like, wait a minute. Am I picking up on- or is it my brain?
No, you’re picking up what they’re putting down.
And I think I actually was in my wheelchair the first time we met, Daniel, or was I using my cane that time?
I think you were using the cane, and I remember that because of a different anecdote that we’ll probably get to in a little bit. *chuckling* But there was a specific reason why I know.
Not to make you nervous.
Well, let’s just talk a minute about why we are doing this show. You know, we talk about how Satanism is inclusive, and is, is, kind of, counter to all these other mainstream religions that, you know, make a habit of excluding people, especially excluding people for things that they’re born with, or that are outside of their control, and when we talk about making Satanism available for everyone, we do need to truly mean everyone, and so we want to, you know, learn more about people’s lived experiences as they’re living with disability, and learn more about how we can be better allies and more inclusive, and things, like, you know, having, having our Satanic rituals, for example.
And on a personal note, SBA was really great when I did reach out, that I could not go to rituals due to access issues, and making necessary accommodations that may have not been thought about before, but really jumping to make those accommodations to make sure that everyone could be present, and participate in the way that they choose.
Well, that brings me to what I was referencing a second ago is, I remember, right after we met, I invited you- we were having Anti-christ-mass in Oakland that year, and I- it was just, like, the following week, and so I invited you over there, but what we came to realize, at almost the last minute, was that you wouldn’t be able to attend because [it’s] in an apartment on the second floor and there was no elevator, and, in hindsight, I think to myself, ‘jeez, that was really inconsiderate of me. Why did I not realize that they wouldn’t be able to make it up those steps? And it was because, at the time, you had not, I had not seen you using the wheelchair. I had seen using the cane, but I just did not realize that it, you would have that much trouble with an obstacle like that, and I didn’t think to ask, which was actually extremely inconsiderate of me as well, and so, that was a very important lesson and I apologized at the time, and you were really, really nice and considerate about it, too, and since then, we have always tried to be more careful to at least take these things into consideration, so that was a really, really important lesson, and, again, one I appreciate and I am sorry,
Well, and that’s the thing, that it’s not just you, it’s not just this organization. It’s not just this one time. Being a disabled person, it’s living in a world that’s not built for you. I mean, we’ve heard that from other oppressed groups as well, but this is an able-bodied world and it’s not made for the vast number of disabilities that there are, not just mobility disabilities.
Absolutely. All right, well, Daniel’s put together some really amazing research here, so let’s get into it. First up, we have facts about disability from the World Health Organization. Tab, you want to take this one?
I sure will. “Disability is a human rights issue; people are disabled by society, not just by their bodies. These barriers can be overcome if governments, nongovernmental organizations, professionals and people with disabilities and their families work together. Over 1 billion people live with some form of disability, about 15% of the world’s population. Between 110 and 190 million adults have significant difficulties functioning. Rates of disability are increasing due to population aging, and a global increase in chronic health conditions. Half of disabled people cannot afford health care, compared to a third of non-disabled people. Disabled people are more than four times more likely to be treated badly and three times more likely to be denied care. In Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, the employment rate for people with disabilities was slightly over half that for people without disabilities. Disabling barriers can be overcome. Governments can promote access to mainstream services, invest in programs for people with disabilities, adopt a national strategy and plan for action, improve staff education and training, provide adequate funding, increase public awareness, strengthen research and data collection, and ensure the involvement of people with disabilities in policies and programs.”
And so, what struck me here in this passage is the numbers. There are so many people who live with disabilities, and they are folks who, perhaps they are visible, perhaps they are invisible, but there may be people that you know, who are living with a disability, and you may not know it, and so that’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to think inclusively because you never know, you never know what, being exclusive, who that might effect, you know, and it could be somebody that you care about.
Well, it doesn’t even have to just be people that you care about. Like-
Oh, for sure.
Yeah, I’m just, you know-
But my point is, is that, you know, it effects so many people and you may not realize the ramifications of your actions, which is why we have to, kind of, retrain our brains to think in this inclusive way.
Another point that seems really important, especially at the nonce, and Lily, I think I have heard you bring this up before in the past, please correct me if I’m wrong, is the fact that disability is a potentially floating variable. People who are able-bodied right now may not be for their entire lives. In fact, the older we all get, the more likely it is that we are going to join this particular population, and so if we take a blase attitude or are dismissive of these issues now because we feel like they are not relevant to us personally, we’re going to find out that we’re wrong sooner or later. Very likely, I think, so that is something- Not that, that what effects us is the only thing that we should be worrying about, but nevertheless, it does seem like it is, at least, pressing to consider that fact, that these are not fixed and eternal values.
Absolutely. And then, another thing that really hit me is that half of disabled people cannot afford health care, and this really strikes me with my privilege as a 100% disabled veteran, all of my medical care is taken care of by the VA. I’m, you know, years ago, when I got out and first got enrolled in the VA, I may have had to yell and scream at them to first get into their system, and now that I’m there, I get good care, and that is my privilege as a disabled person, with the veteran mystique that we have in this country and the way we view disabled veterans versus otherwise disabled folks.
There was also, I think, and again, you can certainly correct me if I’m wrong, because this is your lived experience. You’re right, of course, to point out that being a veteran affords you certain privileges. There are also other contexts in which being a veteran is something that is exploited or dismissed or overlooked, and so, there are a lot of nuances when we use words like that. Sometimes, privilege- the same thing that makes you privileged in one set of circumstances can itself be a disqualifier in others and, you know, am I right about that?
I agree, yes.
Okay, so our next piece that we want to get to here is the meaning of ableism from Forbes. Lily, would you like to take this one?
In The Meaning of Ableism by Andrew Pullrang: “Ableism is any statement or behavior directed at a disabled person that denigrates or assumes of lesser status for the person because of their disability, or social habits, practices, regulations, laws, and institutions that operate under the assumption that disabled people are inherently less capable overall, less valuable in society, and/or should have less personal autonomy than is ordinarily granted to people of the same age. Personal ableism manifests in hundreds of ways, and can include: being nervous, clumsy and awkward around people in wheelchairs; being disgusted by people whose bodies appear different or ‘deformed;’ avoiding talking to disabled people in order to avoid some kind of feared embarrassment; placing different disabilities in a hierarchy of ‘severity’ or relative value. A prime example of this is the widely held belief, even among disabled people, that physical disability isn’t so bad, because at least there’s ‘nothing wrong with your mind;’ resenting disabled people for advantages or privileges you think they have as a group. This is one of the main flip sides of condescension and sentimentality towards disabled people.
And so, absolutely. A lot of this is really ingrained into our society and that we’ve personally internalized and whether or not we, we realize it, and so, that’s why it’s so important to really pick at this, so that we can start to unlearn this ableism that’s within ourselves, and then, hopefully, expand out and help other people, kind of, get out of that mindset.
Yeah, it’s really something you have to fight, and it shouldn’t be like that. I mean, it’s something that society has trained into us, but, like, it is something that you really have to think about and just, like, *often* to really try and relearn how to navigate a society that actually makes sense? If that makes- if I’m making sense with my, my sense. *laughter*
Yeah, so I feel like a lot of people who are without disability, you know, everyone is kind of inherently self-centered, and you think that your lived experience is, it’s got to be the default, right? It’s got to be the default for everybody. If you don’t have to think about something, it’s not something that needs to be thought of. And that is just not true, as we’ve learned, you know, doing this show and talking to folks.
And I would say, even for myself, coming from having been very fit and very active when, even before I was in the military, to joining the military, to then having a body that is mobility-impaired now, I struggle with my own relationship with my body due to my own internalized ableism. I *should* be able to walk and not get my wheelchair out. I *should* be able to do these things, and I’m really just harming myself with all of these constraints, to try to be something that my body is not anymore, or as when I care for my body and the needs that my disabilities have, not just body but mind as well, when I care for those things, I can do and participate so much more.
And, what is- something that you said, Lily, really, kind of, caught my attention in terms of relating this topic to Satanism. The idea of *should* be able to or, you know, have to be able to, or having these expectations. You know, as Satanists, we are people who defy the expectations all the time. We need to, sort of, free ourselves from these expectations, these, these shoulds, and realize, you know, what, what is. What’s true to ourselves.
And that’s where radical acceptance, by being, like, a therapy thing, it feels like a Satanic act. Like it really does feel like a Satanic act.
Okay, and so we have one more passage from this Forbes piece. But, you know, real quick, I kind of want to put out a bit of a content warning, since the train’s already left the station, but in some of these passages, there’s going to be discussion of disabled people that’s not in a positive light; that may be derogatory. And it’s to be, you know, for the most part, to be descriptions of the ablest mindset, so, you know, this can be quite hurtful, but I hope that our discussion around it can, sort of, help us push through to, to realize how harmful this, this mindset can be. So, you know, just a, just a bit of warning. So going back to this Meaning of Ableism piece from Forbes. “It’s interesting to note that there seem to be two main schools of ablest belief. One is that disabled people are unfortunate but innocent victims of circumstance who should be loved, cared for, and shielded from harm. The other is that disabled people are naturally inferior, disagreeable, and at the same time beneficiaries of unfair and unjustified generosity and social protection. Neither belief is true. And both beliefs are limiting and poisoned relationships between disabled and non-disabled people, and sometimes between disabled people themselves. Not that many decades ago, physically separating disabled people from society, including from their families, was not seen as a sad side effect, but as an agreed upon social goal to protect disabled people from society, and protect society from disabled people. Much of this traces back to the popularity of eugenics, the idea that humanity as a whole, or a nation specifically, can and should be improved or ‘purified’ by controlling who was allowed to reproduce. The very fact that ableism is so pervasive in society means that it’s hardly surprising that many if not most of us probably harbor ableist beliefs and act in ablest ways now and then. The word ‘ableism’ itself may sound artificial to some, but what it represents is as old as human civilization, and as immediate as every awkward encounter disabled people face every day.”
This is just- uh, man. That, that is really hard to hear. Just- I like treating people like they’re humans, and it’s, I don’t know-
And I get that, like, they’re, they’re projecting, like, what, how people feel, and I get, I understand, but like, oww! I hate it!
And, you know, the word eugenics has reared its very, very ugly head here, and it’s something that not only, I mean- eugenics and these, these supremacies really do poison everything, as this author alluded to. Eugenics has its ties to white supremacy, and to, you know, all these other awful things, and, well. Daniel, you may want to jump in on this, but some of this sounds a little like a certain old Anton’s beliefs?
You know, I don’t think I can think of any particularly, specifically ablest content, except for that weird ass essay where he talks about how he envies the guy in the wheelchair for not having to walk around. That incident, in hindsight-
Oh yeah, that part.
-much more horrifying than even we made it out to be when we did that episode. Although, I think at the time, we were still pretty horrified. Other than that, I can’t think of anything, but I am willing to be surprised and horrified by new sources that have not yet come across our radar.
Okay. Well, okay. Backing up and to be fair, I guess I could say that I had more of a read on that then, actually, you know, obvious in the text, and also from interacting with people who, kind of, go in that direction, who have a lot of language about, you know, you know, ‘only the strong will survive,’ and Social Darwinism, and, you know, trying to cast away the weak, and that’s, that’s something that bothered me even upon my first reading of the Satanic Bible. So, yeah, apologies to old Anton for maybe putting words in his mouth, but that was definitely a vibe I was getting from, from his works.
Don’t Apologize to Stinky Tony, he stinks.
I have two things to say after reading this essay for the first time. First is that it occurs to me, one way that ableism creeps into society that we may not notice it, and into our language and our assumptions, is this idea that when we talk about meeting the needs of disabled people, we often frame it as this idea as if they need ‘extra’ or ‘special’ assistance or that it’s something extra or special that needs to be done, but if you think about it, these people- everybody’s needs are essentially the same. To say, I would like to be able to enter this building relatively unhindered, that is a need *all* of us have, and it is not ‘special’ for 100% of people to say and expect that. Executing that is different in some people’s cases, but fundamentally, it is the same demand, so I feel like a- perhaps, a useful exercise is to try to start reframing our assumptions about people’s needs to begin with. The other thing, I think that maybe possibly complicates this, and again, I’m not speaking from my own experience here so anybody, Lily, in particular, can tell me if I’m off base, but I think it’s that we very often work off the presumption that disabilities are the same things as disadvantages or problems, and that may be the case, but take a hypothetical- and this is not my hypothetical, this is something that I read when I was very young and stayed with me for a long time. If you were to go to every person in the world who cannot see, every blind person and ask them, would you like to be able to see? You would guess, probably, most people would say yes. Maybe almost all of them, but I don’t think we can assume that all of them would say yes. You may get some surprising answers. Until we ask the questions, we cannot presume that we know the answers, and you can take that one step further and say, you could ask all of those people, would you like it if you had always been able to see? Even more of them might surprise you by saying no because perhaps they feel that that experience has taught them something; maybe there is some experience that they would not have had if this had not been a part of their life; maybe they’ve got reasons that are none of your business, quite frankly. We will not know unless we do that exercise, and so, I think it is a good idea to interrogate those assumptions about how other people live, and how they perceive their own lives, and their own bodies, and the world, and maybe if we practice that, that can also teach the rest of us something. But, I’m finished.
Don’t interrogate disabled people, though. Please. Please don’t.
Yes. Interrogate your assumptions! *laughter* Don’t literally interrogate others.
Please don’t. That- no. Never. *Simone chuckles*
Although that is very, very normal in this society. Where people come up to you and go, ‘Oh, you’re too young to be disabled! You’re-you, you don’t look like you should be disabled!’ *laughs* Like?
‘Yeah, what happened? What-‘
It’s fucking wild. ‘Oh my goodness-‘
‘Are you sick?’ Ughhh! *chuckles*
‘Oh, I hope you get better!’
You look like you should ‘blank’ is such a- mmm. I mean, what do you think a disabled person looks like? *chuckles*
Have you tried yoga? *lip flapping sound*
Yeah, sorry. *laughter* That was-
Especially with a lot of this, too, with the idea that disabled people need to be fixed as well, and where people will approach them, like, ‘I’ll pray for you to be able to walk again.’ And it’s like, no, I don’t know your prayers.
I need you to walk over there, please. *Simone laughs*
One more thing- I know, I said I was done with that, but no sooner do I finish talking that it occurs to me- I realize it can also sound very presumptuous for me to assume, you know, what somebody else’s potentially surprising answer to a question like that might be, but my point is not- I don’t know if a person would say yes or no. I’m saying we should not assume that we will know what that answer is automatically. That’s all that I’m saying. Again, I don’t know. I don’t know how other people feel about their own experiences. None of us do until we ask. That’s all I’m getting at.
And bringing it back to just this Forbes article for just one moment. There is that infantilizing or ‘subhuman,’ and that’s something that is very recurrent, even the more I’ve personally dug into this. In the history of disabled folks, is that either we infantilize them and they just have to be sheltered and the ‘poor, sweet thing,’ or they are less than human.
Yeah, something in the Forbes article that I noticed was when the author is trying to, like, show that sort of dichotomy, between, ‘oh, you know, they’re innocent victims of circumstance’ or they are ‘naturally inferior.’ Their first sentence was that they’re innocent victims of circumstance who should be loved, cared for, and shielded from harm, and I’m like, ‘mmm, doesn’t everybody need to be loved?’ Now, as Lily was just saying, not in, in an infantilizing way, so I was just- they’re people too with emotions, and relationships, and connections, and so, yeah, I just thought that was a, kind of, *groans* an awkward way to put it.
Yeah, give them, like, a ‘you tried, sticker. Here you go. *laughter* Well done.
Well, now, we reached out to a bunch of satanic leaders around the world to try and find out how they are ensuring that their activities as a Satanic community are accessible to everybody, so we’ve got a bunch of testimonials here from all different groups, all around, so Daniel, do you want to get started with the first one?
Yeah, sure, we’ll kick this off with- this is what Penemue had to say. Penemue, as a lot of people are listening to, know is the head of the Satanic Temples Ministry Program, and, also, great name, by the way, but he talked about that one back on the satanic pseudonyms, Episode 57, I think. Go back to review that one, really good one. Anyway, excuse me. *clears throat* He said: “One thing that has helped me as an organizer has been to use the Satanic framing of ritual as ‘meaning-making.’ From my perspective, what creates power in a ritual or religious event isn’t saying or doing things in some objective ‘proper’ order, but rather create an experience that builds meaning for me.” I agree with that, by the way. “That means, for example, if I’ve created a ritual in which not everyone can participate- or, in which not everyone can participate in a way that is meaningful for them- then I’ve failed. It’s great to create rituals that engage the body, recognize the carnal nature of the human mind by including movement and body position; however, I have to recognize that not everybody’s body is the same- not everyone’s body moves or functions the same- so if my ritual doesn’t allow for that then I have planned a ritual that excludes a whole swath of people from the experience I was trying to evoke.” And yeah, that is something to consider. Again, you can take an awful lot of things for granted when you’re planning these things and not realize that you’re doing that until you get the additional perspective of somebody with an even slightly different point of view than yours. I’m reminded of a couple of years ago, we did a field trip over to the Thelemic Temple for their Gnostic Mass, which was a nice experience, but they’d- calls for- when they give you the instructions for this, they even point out, they say, it’s, like, ‘not everybody can do these. That’s okay. Do your best.’ But they call for really radically different, difficult poses that even many abled people are going to have pause with. I know I did when we did that, and so, on the one hand-
-I liked the atmosphere that that created, but my second thought, but my immediate reaction was, let’s never do something like this for any number of reasons. *laughter*
Yeah, I remember that. They asked us to kneel on the floor with our hands, like, our palms pressed together, above our heads, I think it was. Or something similar. And I was, you know, trying to keep up and I’m like, I, I don’t think I can make it. So, I really love the point that when we think about accessibility, we’re thinking, you know, some, the initial thoughts might be, like, literally is the building ADA compliant? Are, you know, the, the facilities accessible? But also, just the actual ritual! No matter where you are, is the ritual itself accessible? You know, what do you have to do to participate? What if someone cannot do the things to participate? Is there an alternate version? Is there a way to modify it so that everyone is still doing the same thing, but it’s something that everyone is capable of? So again, just not just literally, is there, say, a ramp for wheelchair access, but what are you physically doing in the ritual? I think that’s a really great point.
I think there’s also something to be said about making rituals access, accessible to, like mental disabilities, in the sense of some people might not be able to kind of, you know, if we’re all being loud or boisterous, or if there’s something you need to learn that might be difficult, you know, that, there, there are so many facets to this, that I think, realistically, when you’re writing these things, you really need to actually take your audience, not audience, your, your congregation or whatever, whatever you’d like to call it, into account and ask them: What, what will help? What will make things work?
And this is where it’s really important to have the variety of voices, specifically including a variety of disabled voices, in that planning, so those thoughts and those things come up and they’re brought to the table as ways to, maybe, have that, that quick exit a, you know, quiet space as a decompression away from all the loud areas, just different options out there.
Alright, Lily, do you want to take this next one from Cain Abaddon?
Sure. So, “in our orders, we have plenty of neurodivergent and physically impaired folks, so we try our best to accommodate their sensory and access needs and everything, whether that’s gaining access to events (or leaving them quickly if required).” All the snaps. *Lily snaps her fingers* “Or making sure our online meetings are well lit with closer cameras than normal so that hearing-impaired members are able to lip read successfully. We get to consult those members who need additional support so that we can plan with them as we work through our thought processes for new events and collaboration. So things that are always on our checklist are readability, legibility, accessibility, general safety, space for people who might need to pause due to sensory overload. Our communications 101: WHAT do we want to communicate? WHO do we want to reach? WHEN should we communicate it? WHERE (what media/channels) should we communicate it? And HOW should we communicate it?”
And of course, Cain from the Global Order of Satan in the UK. So, more great points here, you know, more great points. Safety, safety is something to certainly consider; making that quick exit, if necessary, making sure that pathways are clear that, you know, you’re not overcrowding a space, and then also, of course, the point about, you know, sensory overload that some people might be experiencing. You know, a satanic ritual can be pretty intense, and sometimes it can be too much, and you have to, kind of, account for that to do aftercare so that people can, kind of, come down and decompress after holding a ritual. Alright, for our next testimonial, we reached out to our friend, Kate Cobus, from Satanic Norfolk, which I am positive, I’m saying wrong, but Kate referred us over to Nell from Chicago, who is a disability activist, and so she had some really great things to say. “Access is not just physical access, though, that’s a hugely important issue. It’s really important to work with disabled people whenever possible, because you might be setting something up and thinking you have everything accessible, and then you discover a doorstep that a wheelchair can’t get over. Access needs to include all forms of access- auditory, visual, smells, overstimulation, etc- cultural access, digital access (making sure your digital materials are screen-reader friendly and having high contrast for all texts, etc.), contradictory access needs. In general, accessibility requires two points: flexibility and transparency. Outlining all access in any promotional items is critical so that disabled people and people with access needs can easily know what to expect and determine if they are able to participate and if they feel safe enough to reach out or identify barriers that might still prevent their participation. There’s a ton more, but that’s a good starting point.” And that’s, that’s a really, really excellent point: is to make transparent and make obvious, you know, accessibility issues. Now, Lily, thinking back to the story that Daniel told about participating in a ritual and realizing that it wasn’t accessible. If you, like, knew ahead of time if it was just perfectly laid out for you, the access that was available at an event or a venue, would that make you feel more welcomed?
Absolutely. And this is very, very important in what Nell said here on if they feel safe enough to reach out or identify barriers because you may identify what accessibility issues that you’ve addressed, but there may be more that you have not addressed. And if you ignore accessibility completely, folks- or they don’t have a relationship with you, they may choose not to come forward and just not participate and say, ‘okay, this isn’t for me.’
Also, the ability to make a plan in the sense of, like, okay, here’s what the space looks like, here are your exits and all that kind of stuff. I like that a lot. I need a plan for everything.
That’s a good idea in general.
But yeah, you know, I want to know where the exits are and I want to know if there’s all these things, too.
Same, and that’s a mental health thing on my end, so-
I think it might be for me too, but I have no diagnosis and I’m not going to try and pretend like I know what I’m talking about, so. *chuckles*
Now, I feel like it’s super unfortunate to have to ask, sort of, emotional labor from disabled people in identifying accessibility issues, but you know, as Nell points out, someone who’s able-bodied may be putting together an event, and may be, you know, trying to be inclusive and trying to make sure that it’s accessible, but without having that lived experience, just not knowing what they don’t know, and so, kind of echoing what Lily said, that it’s really important to have the kind of relationships with people in your community where people feel safe saying something. You know, they don’t want to feel like they’re a bother; they don’t want to feel like they’re gonna get shut down. They, we really need to facilitate that kind of open dialogue where it’s like, ‘you know what? You’re right. I’m sorry, I completely blanked on that. Thank you so much.’
[Unintelligible] me back to Nell here, I want to point out that Lily is being very considerate, in that we are putting them on the spot with a lot of these questions. We don’t actually expect one person to answer for all disabled people in the world. That is one reason why we tried to get a diversity of perspectives from different organizers, in different places, with different experiences, and, for the record, we don’t actually know whether most of these people are able-bodied or not. That’s sort of the point. Nevertheless, Nell continues. “As for whether religious traditions exacerbate ableism: Good Lord, yes. The moral model of disability in a lot of religious spaces essentially states that disability is the cause of sin or moral failure.” I think, by that, she meant sin or moral failure is the cause of disability, but this is how it was written. “Which leads to a ton of exclusion and shame from religious communities, or isolation and sheer judgment through ‘I’ll pray for you’ types. I’ve had people walk up to me in the middle of the street and asked to pray for ‘god to heal you like he healed me’ and bullshit like that, because I was in a wheelchair, or people responding to my honest answers of ‘how are you’ with ‘I’m in pain,’ by saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ which is frankly, patronizing. I was once in the church with a disabled person who was the church leader who shared, thinking I would appreciate it, that he cannot wait to go to heaven so that he can have his ‘healed and perfect body’ and I think about that a lot and it breaks my heart honestly. The belief that an afterlife includes bodies without disability leads to a whole lifetime of wanting to be ‘fixed.’ At least Satanists are asking and not assuming.”That last one is a reference there to our specific query here, and I liked this perspective because I honestly hadn’t thought about that. Again, I think for a lot of people, this idea that, ‘oh, in heaven, everything will be perfect, including you.’ That sounds like a nice sentiment at face value, even if you don’t necessarily believe it, but that then imposes a judgment on the imperfection of your person and your body right now, and of course, the idea that people are marred and incomplete and inadequate is sort of baked into the theology of a lot of these mainstream religions in a way that is, perhaps, deceptively toxic until we stop to think about it. The phrase, ‘a world without disabled people’ is actually incredibly sinister, possibly even terrifying, once we take it out of the assumptions of this church, and put it out into the wider world like that. I’d never given that any thought, but until hearing Nell spell it out for this, like this, I realize, ‘oh, yes, that’s actually quite scary.’
Yeah, some of my perception of, you know, mainstream religion, Christianity, is, you know, you have this cold, impersonal god who is expecting perfection from you, and if you don’t do it, if you don’t follow these rules, if you don’t act this way, or be this way, then you are going to the burn-y place. Whereas, we’ve talked about this so much before on the show, where Satan is a figure who we used to represent accepting ‘flaws.’ Accepting that we are not perfect. Accepting that we are diverse, that there’s no one way to be, and so, you know, that’s something that was, you know, in the back of my mind as we read this passage.
On that note, it does occur to me that it is not necessarily uncommon for Satan himself to be depicted as disabled in some way in art, Which again, unfortunately, is, especially in classic art, sort of an ableist assumption; it’s supposed to be something that’s supposed to rile up our negative feelings about him, but I wonder if any of our listeners actually identify with Satan as a disabled figure or a disabled character. I would be very curious to hear those perspectives, but I don’t think we got any feedback like that before the show.
All right, that brings us to- Tab would take the next one?
This is Damien Maze from Reno Satanic. “In Satanism, everyone should be included if they feel that Satanism is right for them. We can’t really recall if any of our in-person get togethers, we, we’ve had issues with having to deal with anyone’s disabilities. We always choose to find spots where everyone can be inclusive whether that be a restaurant, or an outdoor event, like at a park, but as for me, I have ADHD, patience has to be one of the biggest things that I have to work on. No one’s perfect. We all have to take the time to work with one another if we truly want to step forward on this journey and with the organizer team, we have tried to be as accommodating as we can.”
I just want to jump in here and say that the language of ‘having to deal’ with anyone’s disability, it’s ableist language, and it would make me, as a disabled person, less likely to come forward about my access needs because I would feel like a burden to that organization.
Yeah, it’s funny, because it’s not one of the obvious ableist terms, but we do have to really consider how the whole of our language is constructed to be accepting, not accepting, to be inclusive or not. So, you know, just, it always is a good thing to take an extra second and really think about the meaning of the words that you’re using, and is there a better one that could be used? I wanted to draw attention to another thing that Damien mentioned is that, you know, he has ADHD, and has, has that as a consideration in his life, and, you know, we’ve talked about physical disability, but neurodivergency, mental illness is also something that needs to be considered. And I mean, for myself, I was diagnosed with major depression in 2008; I am on medication for it. If I’m not on medication for it, if I stop taking my meds, you know, things get bad. We have suicidal ideations, self-harm, apathy, lethargy, you know, and I don’t feel like myself anymore. So, with my medication, I feel like myself; I am able to live my life the way I want to live it, and, you know, but it’s something that I have ever-present in my life, and, you know, my partner [has] recognized if I’ve stopped taking my meds, because it can happen so easily- you forget one day and that makes it easier to forget the next day, until so on and so on, and you’ve been off of it for four weeks, and you’ve started having your symptoms reemerge, so, you know, if it is- a couple of things to consider here that we have to consider, you know, neurodivergency, mental illness, as you know, those ‘invisible’ disabilities. And then also, when you know someone well, you can be a help to them just, you know, by asking, ‘hey, are you okay?’ That can make a lot of difference.
I would assume that if Damien were here, or if he hears this show that, you know, hearing it pointed out that he slipped into some ableist language here, would- I think our reaction when we do that is often to back into denial to say, ‘no, no, no, that’s not what I meant,’ but unfortunately, part of having this conversation is accepting the fact that all of us harbor these prejudices because we can’t not do it. Lily has many times during this conversation pointed out, I am a, I am a disabled person, but I have latent ableism myself; you, you’ve said that several times. All of us, unfortunately, tragically, have to always keep ourselves in line with these things, and we always have to eventually confront the fact that this is, unfortunately, the social baggage that we have all inherited, and so, and, you know, words are very difficult, words are important, but they’re also very tricky. They can get away from us very easily, so, unfortunately, that kind of error is going to happen, and so, like I said, it’s, we want to imagine that we can rid ourselves of these prejudices simply by wanting to or by recognizing that it’s important, but unfortunately, life is not that easy.
It does take putting it into practice. It does take living it, you know?
It also takes someone telling you. Yeah, and you not, and you actually, like, accepting it and not immediately getting angry about it. *chuckles*
Yeah, just say, ‘you know what? You’re right.’
Yeah, I did that.
Those are- That’s *laughs* Hang on. *slowly* You. Know. What. You’re. Right. Those are very powerful five words. You know what? You’re right. *Tabitha mm-hmm’s*
On the continuing unlearning, I don’t want to belabor a point, but it’s absolutely a lifetime practice. Like, it’s still [show ups] consistently, just like all the other -isms that we have to decolonize from our own minds.
Yep, yep. All right, and our last testimonial is from Catie Chaotic, who comes from BaphoNet. They say, “as a general rule, folks should always be willing to learn from their mistakes. Ableism is so ingrained in society that often only those it’s about notice it. So LISTEN to folks with disabilities. As a community with 1000s of individuals, we find it important to be a safe and inclusive space for all and one. Our terms and conditions for our spaces state that we do not tolerate discriminatory harassment; in the inevitable situation that a bad actor slips in, moderators act quickly to remove the offending content or member. We also use our social media platforms to highlight and boost differently-abled persons’ content and issues in an effort to promote inclusivity and acceptance.” Another great point there is not only do we have to consider being inclusive and accessible in our physical spaces, in our, you know, spaces where we’re performing ritual or whatever, but our online spaces as well.
I think it’s especially important with online spaces just because so much of the internet is already extremely negative, and it’s really hard to find a place where you, where anyone can feel comfortable. So when you propagate a space online, where you know that people are comfortable and can express themselves without fear of just *chuckles* being online, it’s really an important place, and it’s, [it] always feels good.
And as a disabled person, it’s important to keep in mind that online spaces may be the only community that some disabled folks have access to. They may not have the ability to be present for in-person things, so this online community can be extremely important to disabled folks.
Yeah, the, the pandemic has really shown us that we can work from home, we can, you know, have virtual gatherings, and it was something that just wasn’t a consideration for a lot of people before and since everybody, everybody had to move to virtual this and virtual that and everyone had to stay at home, it’s really opened a lot of doors, I feel, to people who- they didn’t even consider it as a possibility before. Like, they were just sort of locked into the idea that you had to be there physically i- person, you had to do this or that in order to participate, but since you know, it’s unfortunate that it took this event to wake people up to that, but now that it’s happened and now that we have that experience, keep it going. Keep it going. Make sure that even if you do resume physical meetings or rituals, see if you can have a virtual element to it. See if you can also, you know, do- yeah, you have a meeting in person plus you have a meeting that’s, you know, virtual. There- we don’t have to give up this new kind of accessibility just because, you know, we don’t have to wear masks anymore.
I just wanted to follow it with Hail Satan.
We got next here is an excerpt from a paper called ‘The Rhetoric of Ableism,’ by James L Cherney, who teaches at Wayne State University. Kinda have to drop another content warning on you because with these last couple of sources, it gets…oof.
It’s rough. It’s rough.
Um, yeah. You know, it’s a good thing I don’t believe in curses or I would say I cursed the show because I made a mention, like, three or four shows ago that, ‘oh, hey, we do the shows- we’ve done the show for so long and we don’t have to give out a lot of content warnings; that’s nice.’ And since then, I think we’ve had, like, three of these in four episodes, so I shouldn’t have said anything. *chuckles* And nevertheless, James says, “arguments relying on the logic that ‘normal is natural’ appear throughout history, and one field that relied extensively on this ablest assumption is the science of ‘teratology,’ also known as the study of ‘monsters.'” Which, here by the way, if you’re now curious, in its original context was a word that meant “children born with severe disability or deformity.” To find out more- that is where the word comes from, by the way. I was very surprised to learn that. Check out the PBS YouTube channel; they have a series there called Storied and another one called Monstrum with Emily Zarka, who, by the way, I would love to have her on the show someday, if we could ever swing that, who talked a little bit about the etymology of monster there. Anyway, Cherney continues. “Like many of his contemporaries, Aristotle viewed the world of animals as a hierarchy with the human male as the standard of physical perfection ‘in comparison with which-‘”
Oof. *Daniel chuckles*
“‘-in comparison with which-‘”
Yeah! Whatever, dude!
*still chuckling* “‘-all, all other animal life is at best deviant at worst, monstrous.'” I’m, I’m having trouble keeping a straight face there because speaking as a human male myself, I just looking at my body and thinking ‘oh, oh sweet, summer child. You have no idea.’ *chuckles* You have no idea what-
*chuckling* Peak perfection!
*chuckling* -what terrible forces are at work here. Anyway, James Cherney continues. “Because the monster violates the rules that Aristotle argues governed reproduction, it must be explained.” But, funny that. Umm. “By defining those exceptions to the rules he establishes his aberrations contrary to nature, the exception then makes the rule. Monsters were considered ‘subhuman,’ imperfect beings not deserving of the rights of other citizens. When interpreted later through the Christian worldview that dominated Europe in the Middle Ages, the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries were marked by a widespread belief and well-published theory that linked abnormal birth with conception during a woman’s menstrual period. Because such intercourse was deemed sinful and unclean, such births were deemed punishment for irresponsible sexual activity. Infants and people described as monstrous were treated as Satan’s offspring, and it was standard practice for midwives to terminate ‘monstrosities’ at birth. This practice makes very clear the ablest implications of the retech, rhetorical warrant ‘normal is natural.'” Quick tangent here, by the way. As odd as this sounds, I would love someday to do an entire episode just about the subject of menstruation because you would be amazed the bizarre things that people have believed about this physical process over the centuries and the very strange stigmas and witchcraft and Satanism-related taboos that got attached to it. Just, just wild shit. So if anybody out there wants to hear that very particular episode, *chuckles* let us know one of these days. *Simone chuckles*
And I was gonna say, accompanying ableism, we have white supremacy and patriarchy rearing their ugly heads again.
Man, they always seem to come in a pack. Misery loves company and shit-headedness loves other shitheads. *laughter*
*laughing* Nice! Well done.
The, the point is, like, you know, if you’re, if someone is, is exhibiting a kind of prejudice, it’s already told you what kind of person this is, and it should not be shocking that someone who is racist is also sexist. Someone who is transphobic is also an ableist, like, those, those go hand in hand. Well, anyway, I just, I just wanted to come back around to this connecting to disability, with being ‘Satan’s offspring.’ Again, the idea of if you’re not perfect, if you’re not the way you’re ‘supposed to be,’ that you are wrong, and that’s one of the things I like about the Satanic community: is that there is no being ‘wrong.’ There is no one way to be. We understand that, you know, if we’re going to be accepted ourselves, we need to be accepting of other people, and that means all people.
One thing I’ll add here that reading this source and then going back and looking at- fuck Aristotle, by the way. Going back and looking at Aristotle, I was surprised and disconcerted to learn, I had heard that term monster applied in this context before. Usually, that term, at least that I’d previously seen, was referred to stillbirths, to people who had a variety of- birth defects seems like such a shitty term, but I don’t know of an alternative one, I think that is still the medical terminology. I had not realized that they also applied that to people who had to live, to live births, that were disabled in, in other ways, and that really gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach, getting that terminology recontextualized that way, because, again, you start to realize the horrifying implications of it, that you previously may have not appreciate it. Which does mean that ‘monster,’ which is a pretty commonplace term, is also at its root an ableist word, and so, I think that is a word that has drifted far enough away from that original context that we maybe don’t have to worry about using it. In fact, there’s an awful lot of art and media that uses the word and image monster to be very affirming, in a way, that I am always very happy to see, but I don’t know. It is, perhaps, useful to at least know that. There are other words that are very common that are unfortunately troublesome. Like the word stupid, for example, actually has a really horrible history. That one is very, very difficult to excise from my vocabulary. I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to do it, but at least knowing is I guess, the first step.
Yeah, you know, interestingly, a lot of the words that we use to insult or degrade people have, like, actually, like certain medical definitions for what they thought were disabled people back in the day. So you know, if you’ll excuse my language, but the term idiot, the term moron used to be *medical* terms to describe people! It’s, it’s- blows my mind.
I just have to say, with this article, I am heartbroken at how they would, they would kill these children. These babies! Like- *groans* I have no other words.
Yeah, just the, the inhumanity is incredible, unfortunately.
From ‘Disability In Art History,’ Keri Watson, University of Central Florida: ‘the rise of Christianity lead to more depictions of people with disabilities, because Jesus is frequently credited with miracles to cure the disabled. The church’s interest in disability was based on Jesus’ role as a miraculous healer and as a spiritual ‘physician.’ Monks and nuns followed the seven ‘spiritual works,’ which involved feeding, clothing, and housing the poor, visiting them when in prison or sick, and providing counsel and burial services. Christianity could be used to elicit empathy and support the humane treatment of people with disabilities, but it could also be used to support the belief that people with disabilities were cursed by Satan, and that their disability was the result of sin. As such, people with disabilities were often considered unclean and forced to live in exile. When traveling through a town, people with leprosy were required to ring a bell, alerting others to their presence. At the time of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and 1517, persons with developmental disabilities were treated as subhuman. Martin Luther denounced children and adults with cognitive [disorders] as ‘filled with Satan, and advised they be drowned because they lacked souls. Similarly John Calvin argued that people with disabilities were not among those predestined for salvation.”
Great! Super loving god, yeah.
I like that it starts of, like, yeah, they were housing people, and feeding them, and all this stuff. Also, they thought that they were not people, so hmm.
I mean, this passage runs the gamut from this kind of condescending, you know, Jesus is healing the disabled, he’s making them whole, like, they weren’t people before. All the way to Martin Luther thinking that they’re filled with Satan and should be drowned. Like, yikes. Huge yikes.
I just want to add, weirdly enough, Martin Luther believed that Satan made him constipated for his entire life *laughter* and I would like to think that that is true.
*laughing* Oh. Oh, thanks Satan.
Black Mass Appeal 1:32:58
*everyone laughing* Hail Satan!
But no, I actually do think this is a great resource because we start off with the seemingly benign assumption, ‘oh, stories about Jesus healing people. Isn’t that a good thing?’ It’s like, ‘well, you might think, but let’s just follow that train of thought a couple stations down the line and see where it ends up.’
All right. Now we’ve come to the part of the show where we’re going to wind Daniel up and let him go. We’re talking about exorcisms, so we’re gonna be reading from The Problem With Exorcism, from Lady Geek Girl in 2016. “Exorcisms are a favorite trope of Hollywood horror films and TV shows, especially during the month of October. While many denominations believe in possession and exorcisms, for Catholics demonic possession comes from the belief that the devil is constantly waging war against humanity and god. Annaliese Michel-” Who- she’s German, so I’m probably saying that wrong. “Annaliese Michel it- was a young woman in Germany who had epilepsy and depression; Annaliese claimed to hear voices and disliked religious objects. Despite being on medication, her symptoms never got better. Her family was convinced she was possessed and in 1975, asked two priests to perform an exorcism. Annaliese died during the exorcism, exorcism in 1976 in the care of her parents and the priests; both were charged with negligent homicide and sentenced to three years probation, because Annaliese’s legitimate medical condition was left untreated in favor of exorcism, which left her malnourished and dehydrated. This is not the only incident where disability was taken to be evidence of demonic possession and lead to disastrous consequences. In fact, there are theologians and doctors today who look at possession in the bible and say that almost all could be explained as some sort of disability. The fact that there is anyone in the world who was so shocked and stunned feared by those with mental or physical disabilities that they would treat them as demonic is upsettingly ableist.” Whoo. That is, that is a lot. But, it kind of calls to mind the idea that if we’re replacing medical treatment with religion, you know, that, that is something that also denies people who are disabled the care that they need. If you need a certain kind of medical care, and you are being denied it, I mean, that’s, that’s just abuse in my book. You know, for religion, for, like, a religious ‘miracle cure’ is just, um, another reason why I dislike that and dislike those folks quite a lot, so…
I wanted to comment on the fact that they only got three years probation.
I know. That’s incredible, right?
Yeah, what the fuck?! Like, in that- that’ll show you, though, just how I’m going to assume just ableist this whole, that whole thing is. It’s like, ‘oh, well, you know, who cares?’
Well, it’s not just ableism. Let’s not, let’s not underestimate the value of religious privilege in that particular verdict, as well.
Could you imagine a group of Satanists performing a ritual in which somebody died and everyone just got three years probation?
*chuckling* Yeah, no biggie.
Alright, going back to the problem with exorcism. “In the movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Father Richard Moore is taken to court for negligent homicide because of the death of Emily, a young girl Moore believed to be possessed by the Devil. The prosecution, however, believes that Emily was sick and Moore allowed the girl to die. However, the movie shows you in no uncertain terms that the Devil was actually possessing Emily. Moore does have a doctor present with him who claims that Emily was not sick, but he is killed by the Devil before he can testify on the priest’s behalf.”
“While the court case is set to figure out if Moore was negligent, the movie leaves us with no doubt that Emily was possessed. This becomes much more upsetting when you realize that this movie was based on Annaliese Michel. Creating a movie based on this story and then claiming ‘no, it was actually the Devil’ is insulting. While priests are supposed to make sure someone is not ill before attempting an exorcism, that still doesn’t always happen. In fact, when the Catholic Church changed the rite of exorcism in 1999, priests like Father Amorth were not pleased. As he said, ‘they say we cannot perform an exorcism unless we know for certain that the Evil One is present. That is ridiculous. It is only through exorcism that the demons reveal themselves and unnecessary exorcism never hurt anybody.'”
*fake coughing* Bullshit.
*laughing* Yeah, I know, right?
Ummm, I mean, yeah. Excuse me?! *laughs*
I mean, *sighs* if you just look at your news feeds on Google or social media, and you see articles from local news stations from across the country of people who believe that their children were possessed by the Devil, and in so, you know, ended up murdering them, it’s disturbingly common., I mean, not totally common, but not that it’s happening every single day, but I can think of more than one, and even one is more than I want to be happening.
I…have some opinions.
*fake gasp* Noo?! You?
Longtime listeners of this show know that this is actually something of a pet issue with me- I’m actually in the middle of an exor, a book about exorcism right now, as it, as it coincidentally turns out. And, if you go back to, we did a whole episode about this, Episode 56 with Professor Joseph Laycock, and there, I was actually, I like to think, fairly sedate. Mainly because I was trying to maintain my composure for the sake of, perhaps, not weirding out the guests, and then also trying to, you know, create, create something of a coherent listening experience. If you get me going on this topic off mic, I have *very* strong opinions about this. *chuckles* That, again, I think, longtime listeners are already familiar with. To those I have add, I have to add: One, I hate this movie for this *exact* reason that this writer cited right here. This exact reason. I was actually very curious to listen to the director, Scott Derrickson. When- I looked up some interviews that he gave around the time The Exorcism of Emily Rose was coming out and I come to find that he thought he was making a very even-handed movie that did not suggest one way or another whether this was a supernatural or a naturalistic event that ended this person’s life, and having seen the movie, more than once, I can say ,he did not succeed. But also I can say, that’s actually a very inappropriate approach in the first place. Don’t both sides this one, Scott. And you know, I like Scott Davidson’s other movies, he did movies like Sinister and Dr. Strange and, you know, those are-
I was just about to say, I will say in, a positive thing about the movie is that Jennifer Carpenter’s performance is really good.
Yeah, I agree. You’re not, you’re definitely not wrong there. But I think the, the whole idea of the whole exorcise is just very misbegotten and exploitative and just, just, just feels dirty. Not in a good way. The other thi-
Yes. The other thing that I will add that this blog brings up several times, and the movie brings up several times, is that these priests, at least the Catholics, the Catholics have a very specific method about this, then you get those, kind of, Protestant roadshow, Bob Larson style excorcists that are there, whole other, whole other issue. They’re supposed to follow this very strict procedure that involves sending the patient to a doctor to make sure ‘they are not ill,’ and I always wonder, how can you tell that? How many doctor’s visits does it take for you to say there’s nothing medically wrong with this person, it must be the Devil? How many checkups does it take to diagnose somebody with the Devil? What doctor do you think they’re sending them to? Do you think they’re sending this person to an atheist doctor, for example? No, of course not. You’re sending them to a Catholic doctor who’s going to agree with you that it’s the Devil because that’s the whole point. You’re an exorcist; that’s why you’re here. I find the whole thing a farcical, and I find the naive acceptance of this, kind of, presumed medical oversight just, just, just, frankly, insulting. It’s insulting that we just say, it’s like, ‘oh, well, the priest said a doctor said that it was okay. A doctor said it was the Devil, therefore, the exorcism-‘ridiculous. Ridiculous. Why are we even entertaining this conversation? And so, I could go on at length, *chuckles* but I’ll stop because we have other things to talk about on this show. Anyone else, anyone have anything to add? *laughter*
Well, while this particular rant has ended, we do have some more sources and it’s Daniel’s turn to take them on.
*chuckling* Oh, okay. Whoops. See, as I mentioned on the show before, I feel like the reason why people tolerate this exorcism nonsense is because the potential victims of it are mostly people with disabilities, or people with mental health challenges. That seems to make it acceptable in a way that it would not be for other people, and that provokes me, as you can tell from my tone, but it also plays into this next selection, which is from an essay called Ableism In the Church, from the Queen’s School of Religion blog published last year: “Kathy Black, a professor of Christian Homiletics, adds that inhospitable attitudes- such as the objectification of people with disabilities- can result from readings of healings and exorcisms during Jesus’ ministry. According to Black, literal interpretations of these passages have an emphasis on people with disabilities as a tool for elevating Jesus and the healing powers of god. In these cases, healing is equivalent to cure, redemption from sin, and a return to ‘wholeness.’ Practices of exorcism and healing have always been a prominent part of Pentecostal and Charismatic practice. The association of mental health conditions with demon possession has added a societal privilege against these conditions. In the event that the ceremonies do not elicit the desired results, the person with the illness may be even further stigmatized by the community. Those the, theologies may not result in the outright exclusion of people with disabilities from a faith community, an emphasis on them can result in an attitudinal barrier. Jesus is the main character in the gospels and so people with disabilities will never be the main characters in those stories. The danger comes when people with disabilities are seen as permanently having supporting roles in non-literary settings as well.” So it is possible that the social prejudices that we see playing out in this ‘exorcism drama,’ as we mentioned in the last source, are things that actually have roots much deeper in certain religious practices and also in certain social assumptions that we inherit from those religions even if we ourselves are not a part of those traditions.
I was struck by the last line here. You know, I don’t know a whole lot about it but I’ve heard the term main character syndrome, where someone thinks that they’re just the main character of this movie of their life and everyone else is a supporting character, and, you know, we see so many movies, TV shows where they’re trying to be inclusive, they’re trying to have diversity, and so they’ll have you know, perhaps a disabled person but they’re a supporting character. I am trying to think of a, you know, regular currently on-air television show where a person with disabilities is the main character and I’m not pulling one, and that is, you know, just another form of ableism where, that, that we see in our entertainment but that also kind of filters down to our actual lives where can the disabled person be the main character? And it can sometimes be hard to, you know, truly empathize, sympathize, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and realize that they are the main character of the movie of their life and they have thoughts and feelings and, and are also experiencing a life with a disability, and so just, you know, keeping in mind, keeping that in mind that they’re not *side characters,* you know? They are, they are- everyone is their own main character, including folks with disabilities.
A quick thing here. There actually is a show, that I know of, that’s on Netflix called Special-
-in which the main character is gay and also living with disabilities and-
Oh, that’s awesome.
-they just came out with season two, so check that out. And then, on this article, the, we come back to this idea of wholeness, as if disabled people are not whole, in and of ourselves, as we are, and that’s just a toxic thing.
It’s actually very funny we’re having this conversation now because just a couple of days ago, they had a virtual temple service over at the Satanic Temple website and I dropped in to listen to that, and it was a conversation about the uses of the word ‘holy’ and ‘unholy’ and whether they have significant meanings for us and whether we as Satanists should be trying to reclaim words like ‘holiness,’ or whether we should just opt for other words or our own words. And, I did not initially have strong feelings about this, but somebody in the course of that conversation mentioned that the etymology of the word ‘holy’ goes back to the word ‘whole,’ or ‘complete,’ and related words like that, and that actually made me feel *very* strongly that that is not a word that I actually need in my life. I am perfectly fine with feeling like I am incomplete, and not whole, and imperfect, and I actually think that part of my religious experiences as a Satanist has been learning that those words are good, and apt, and suitable descriptors for me. Perhaps ironically, those words are enough, and so I am perfectly fine being unholy, incomplete, not whole, not perfect, and I think that any time we can embrace the values of those words, for however we interpret them, that hopefully that can be an empowering and affirming thing for a lot of different people from a lot of different perspectives.
Here’s to being unholy.
Unholy, but wholesome! *Simone laughs*
Yeah, my only thing is that I’m unholy yet I am whole because church told me that I was un- you know, that I, I needed to be filled with the lord, and I don’t. I just need myself, and my community, and those loved ones around me.
Yeah. You’re already whole, and you were whole the whole time. Ooh! *laughter*
Well, I can’t think of a better sentiment to end on than that. So, thank you, Lily, so much for joining us, and for talking about this issue with us, and sharing your experiences. It was super valuable, and we’re honored to have had you and I hope that our listeners are able to take something away that they can use to change their lives to better their communities. if folks want to get in touch with us, they can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our website is blacakmassappeal.com, and you can find us as Black Mass Appeal on lots of social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
To find out more about Satanic Bay Area, check us out at satanicbayarea.com. You can find us on Facebook and on Instagram as Satanic Bay Area. Follow us on Twitter; the handle there is @satanicSF. You can also look us up on Tik Tok; the handle there is @dailybaphirmations. Ordinarily, you come down to Wicked Grounds Coffee Shop on the third Thursday of every month for Satanic coffee hour. They are actually just announced their reopening date this week, and so, hopefully, we’ll be able to return there soon. In the meantime, keep an eye on our social media and on our Google calendar to find out when we are next meeting virtually, and Tabitha when we do what, are we having?
I think this time we’ll be sort of mysterious and maybe have some blue cheese dressing.
See, I don’t care what-
Ahh, now what in the world could that mean?
If only there were-
-literally anybody. I like blue cheese dressing.
Do you want a Hail Satan to go out on?
*fake annoyed voice* Yeahh.
Someone else should probably count us down this time.
*chuckles* Oh, right.
Oh, that’s right. Listeners do not know this, but we’ve had some technical difficulties, so- Daniel might be on a bit of a delay, so you know what? Lily, do you want to give us a countdown of three, two, one, Hail Satan?
Sure. Three, two, one…
Black Mass Appeal 1:49:48
Black Mass Appeal 1:49:48
*Aretha Franklin’s Think plays*