My wife and I are experienced some kind of pest/parasite invasion that started in our home over two months ago. These pests are not visible but bite us leaving red raised marks and other lesions. We feel like something is crawling on us and pricking our skin and cannot stop these sensations.
When this first happened, we called a pest control company and had them spray 3 different times with no luck. Finally, I hired another pest company to come in and spray with Delta Dust and got some brief relief. Out of fear of bring this to our new apartment we threw out all of our possession! Our neighbors thought we were crazy to do this, but we were very worried about taking them with us when we moved. Unfortunately, after moving with only air mattresses and toiletries we found the problem had followed…
Tonight at 8:00pm (Eastern Time), Sam Shamoun and David Wood will discuss the slow and agonizing death of Muhammad after he was poisoned by a woman whose family he had slaughtered. Everyone is welcome to join the discussion!
I haven’t seen Penny Lane’s new documentary, “Hail Satan?” It’ll be at least two weeks before it reaches any theater within a hundred miles of here. I’ve only seen the trailer. There’s plenty there, though — enough to know that I’ve seen enough. That’s in spite of — or because of — the film’s overwhelmingly glowing reviews since its premiere at Sundance earlier this year.
Its subject is the Salem, Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple group, famous for erecting a statue of Baphomet in front of the Oklahoma capitol. They don’t believe in Satan, they say, but they sure do hate Christianity. And they’re hardly alone in that, judging from the reviews.
“Basic Human Rights” or “A Poke in the Eye”?
Blake Edwards, writing for The Humanist, says the group’s efforts “are responses to Christian indoctrination and monopoly over public spaces.” He stands firmly in agreement with them: “Shoulder to shoulder against traditionally religious conservatives in America, the Satanist and the humanist are not just reluctant allies but enthusiastic comrades in rebellion against the Christian notion of a deity.”
Humanists and Satanists, enthusiastic comrades? I could stop right there. Except it gets worse. The Satanists have plenty more allies.
The Hollywood Reportergushes over both the film and the Satanists: “Wickedly funny, fascinating and niftily made, this crowd-pleaser will reign at festivals.” It will “prove, yet again, that the devil always has the best tunes.” The group itself, says the review, is “a religious organization dedicated to protecting basic human rights in modern America.”
NPRinforms us the Satanic Temple is “a fully sincere spiritual movement itself, one advocating principles of nonviolence, religious pluralism, scientific inquiry, individual liberty and Dungeons & Dragons garb.” Gush, gush.
But which rights are we talking about? They call it religious freedom. In reality, they’ve aimed their horns straight at one group: believing Christians. NPR calls it “a poke in the eye of religious conservatism.” I just love getting poked in the eye, don’t you? Sure, it’s a metaphor. I can roll with it. But there’s more.
Entertainment Weeklyminces no words, speaking of the group’s opposition to “the increased presence of Christian theocracy in America’s public spaces,” which “they see as contra to the foundational ideals of a country that offers not just freedom of religion, but freedom from it.”
Still, Come On, They’re Really Nice!
That’s the Satanic Temple’s view. Here’s EntertainmentWeekly’s own opinion: “The group has a lot on its side; the Constitution, for one.” The Temple’s leader, Lucian Greaves, is driven only by the purest motivations, they say: “Justice — along with science, reason, and the right to reject the adjudicating of public life in the name of Jesus Christ.” It makes me wonder if that writer is heading off to join the Satanic Temple this weekend.
The Washington Post loves them, too. They are “A brave, idealistic band of misfits and rebels dedicated to such values as reason, personal liberty, bodily autonomy and secularism in the public square.” And if that’s not good enough, they’re also “a collection of thoughtful, creative, passionate people.” Possibly the nicest people in the world, even: Their “core tenets,” says The Post, “include compassion, empathy, rectification of harm and respect for scientific understanding.” And to cap that off, a masterpiece of misunderstanding: Those tenets “coexist happily with the most humanistic impulses of traditional religions.”
The NY Times’ take on the group’s tenets is that they’re “well, pretty nice.”
Did I say they were nice, though? I’ll have to admit I borrowed the word. From The NY Times, whose take on the group’s tenets is that they’re “well, pretty nice.”
So it seems if you’re writing for any of the country’s major media, you think it’s a great film. And it’s about a really nice group of people. They must be: a lot of them are animal lovers! Even if they’re not so happy working together with other humans (5:12 here).
Maybe human cooperation doesn’t matter that much, though, for “trolling the culture wars” (per Reason.com). They don’t need it, apparently, in order to be “more than just a middle finger to the evangelical right,” as Greaves put it.
Taking Direct and Hateful Aim at Christianity
They’re freedom fighters, says The Washington Post, “waging front-line battles on behalf of free expression and the separation of church and state.” Their method is clear: “to present Satanism as a religion that deserves equal time with Christianity, in order to call attention to the un-Constitutionality of Christianity in public spaces” (The Wrap).
They do wrap their story in constitutional language. But there’s more to it than that, and it gets a lot uglier than you’d gather from the reviews. You do get a hint of it in their warnings (in the trailer) of “Christian theocracy creeping its way into our government … it is our duty to stand up to this.”
The subtext is clear enough: the media love this.
What that word means in the wider conversation is that the Christian right is a Handmaid’s Tale world, an “American Taliban” currently led by at least one “ anti-science, anti-women, anti-LGBT, radical religious extremist, a cold, cruel, Christian extremist.”
Nice? This sounds a lot more like their admitted inability to play well together with others, if you ask me.
Far more so, however, does their including the Hallelujah Chorus, in their movie trailer. Worse yet, it’s playing while men and women on screen are intoning “Hail, Satan!” Honestly, it’s one of the most hateful things anyone could do to a fellow human who believes in Jesus Christ. Short of physical violence, I have trouble thinking of anything to match it.
But there is tragedy here. It applies to more than the Satanists; for the subtext is clear enough: the media love this.
Jesus —Not Satan! — Is the One Who Cares
But I refuse to take offense without grieving for them at the same time. For one of the key voices in the trailer says, “Satanism is looking out for the other, because we are the other.” I’m sorry, but no. That’s just prettifying a sentiment that’s actually quite self-centered: “Satanism is looking out for people like us — people who don’t like Christianity.” Not so other-oriented after all, is it?
Meanwhile there is one person who stands out among all the rest for His care and concern for others. He is the one Person in all history — and even all of literature! — whose entire recorded life is focused entirely on giving to others. Bonhoeffer rightly called him the “man for others.”
They’ve chosen Jesus’ enemy as their symbol, not knowing he’s their enemy, too.
Granted, we Christians have come nowhere near to living up to the standard He set. Still, if looking out for others were this group’s true goal, they would never set up Jesus’ chief adversary as their symbol. They’d be looking to Jesus instead as their guide and model. He came to give His life for them, too. He died for them, just as He did for us all. Even though they’ve made themselves as “other” from Him as they know how to be.
They’ve chosen Jesus’ enemy as their symbol, not knowing he’s their enemy, too. May they come to know the true Jesus for who He is.
A 37-year-old Muslim migrant in Rome was recently arrested for homicide after he stabbed a Christian man in the throat for wearing a crucifix around his neck. “Religious hate” is cited as an “aggravating factor” in the crime.
This is hardly the first “religious hate” crime to occur in the context of the cross in Italy. Among others,
The fact is, Islamic hostility to the cross is an unwavering phenomenon—one that crosses continents and centuries; one that is very much indicative of Islam’s innate hostility to Christianity.
For starters, not only is the cross the quintessential symbol of Christianity—for all denominations, including most forms of otherwise iconoclastic Protestantism—but it symbolizes the fundamental disagreement between Christians and Muslims. As Professor Sidney Griffith explains, “The cross and the icons publicly declared those very points of Christian faith which the Koran, in the Muslim view, explicitly denied: that Christ was the Son of God and that he died on the cross.” Accordingly, “the Christian practice of venerating the cross … often aroused the disdain of Muslims,” so that from the start of the Muslim conquests of Christian lands there was an ongoing “campaign to erase the public symbols of Christianity, especially the previously ubiquitous sign of the cross.”
This “campaign” traces back to the Muslim prophet Muhammad. He reportedly “had such a repugnance to the form of the cross that he broke everything brought into his house with its figure upon it,” wrote one historian (Sword and Scimitar, p. 10). Muhammad also claimed that at the end times Jesus (the Muslim ‘Isa) himself would make it a point to “break the cross.”
Modern day Muslim clerics confirm this. When asked about Islam’s ruling on whether any person—in this case, Christians—is permitted to wear or pray before the cross, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Tarifi, a Saudi expert on Islamic law, said, “Under no circumstances is a human permitted to wear the cross” nor “is anyone permitted to pray to the cross.” Why? “Because the prophet—peace and blessings on him—commanded the breaking of it [the cross].”
Islamic history is a reflection of these sentiments. For instance, the aforementioned Sheikh al-Tarifi also explained that if it is too difficult to break the cross—for instance, a large concrete statue—Muslims should at least try to disfigure one of its four arms “so that it no longer resembles a cross.” Historic and numismatic evidence confirms that, after the Umayyad caliphate seized the Byzantine treasury in the late seventh century, it ordered that one or two arms of the cross on the coins be effaced so that the image no longer resembled a crucifix (Sword and Scimitar, p. 54).
Testimonies from the very earliest invasions into Christian Syria and Egypt of Muslims systematically breaking every crucifix they encountered abound. According to Anastasius of Sinai, who lived during the seventh century Arab conquests, “the demons name the Saracens [Arabs/Muslims] as their companions. And it is with reason. The latter are perhaps even worse than the demons,” for whereas “the demons are frequently much afraid of the mysteries of Christ,” among which he mentions the cross, “these demons of flesh trample all that under their feet, mock it, set fire to it, destroy it” (Sword and Scimitar, p. 27).
Reminiscent of the recent drawing of a cross in fecal matter on a French church, in 1147 in Portugal, Muslims displayed “with much derision the symbol of the cross. They spat upon it and wiped the feces from their posteriors with it.” Decades earlier in Jerusalem, Muslims “spat on them [crucifixes] and did not even refrain from urinating on them in the sight of all.” Even that supposedly “magnanimous” sultan, Saladin, commanded “whoever saw that the outside of a church was white, to cover it with black dirt,” and ordered “the removal of every cross from atop the dome of every church in the provinces of Egypt” (Sword and Scimitar, pp. 171, 145, 162).
Lest Muslim hostility to the cross still seem aberrant—limited to some obscure saying of Muhammad or “ancient history”—below is a very partial list of examples of how the crucifix continues to throw even “everyday” Muslims into paroxysms:
Egypt: A young Coptic Christian woman named Mary was mauled to death when her cross identified her as a Christian to Muslim Brotherhood rioters. Similarly, 17-year-old Ayman, a Coptic student, was strangled and beaten to death by his Muslim teacher and fellow students for refusing to obey the teacher’s orders to cover his cross.
Pakistan: When a Muslim man saw Julie Aftab, a Christian woman, wearing a cross around her neck, he attacked her, forced battery acid down her throat, and splashed it on her face—permanently damaging her esophagus, blinding her in one eye, and causing her to lose both eyelids and most of her teeth.
Maldives: Authorities had to rescue a female Christian teacher after Muslim “parents threatened to tie and drag her off of the island” for “preaching Christianity.” Her crime was to draw a compass—which was mistakenly taken for a cross—as part of a geography lesson in class.
As Islam’s presence continues to grow in Europe, it should come as no surprise that attacks on crosses are also on the rise. Aside from the aforementioned attacks in Italy, the following occurred either in France and Germany, where attacks on churches and crosses have become endemic:
A Muslim man committed major acts of vandalism at two churches, including by twisting a massive bronze cross. (Click for images.)
A Muslim man who checked himself into a hospital for treatment went into a sudden frenzy because there were “too many crosses on the wall.” He called the nurse a “bitch” and “fascist” and became physically aggressive.
After Muslims were granted their own section at a cemetery, and after being allowed to conduct distinctly Islamic ceremonies, these same Muslims began demanding that Christian symbols and crosses in the cemetery be removed or covered up during Islamic funerals.
A German language report from notes that in the Alps and in Bavaria alone, some 200 churches have been attacked and many crosses broken: “The perpetrators are often youthful rioters with a migration background.”
In light of the above, it should come as no surprise that groups such as the Islamic State also make hostile references to the cross in their communiqués to the West: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah[.] … [We will cast] fear into the hearts of the cross-worshipers[.]” The Islamic State even once disseminated a video showing its members smashing crosses in and atop several churches in territories under its sway (since taken down by YouTube); it beheaded and stabbed a man with his own crucifix; and it published pictures of its members destroying Christian crosses and tombstones in cemeteries under its jurisdiction.
Similarly, in post “Arab Spring” Libya, a video of a Muslim mob attacking a commonwealth cemetery near Benghazi appeared on the internet. As the Muslims kicked down and destroyed headstones with crosses on them, the man videotaping them urged them to “break the cross of the dogs!” while he and others cried “Allahu akbar!” Toward the end of the video, the mob congregated around the huge Cross of Sacrifice, the cemetery’s cenotaph monument, and started to hammer at it, to more cries of “Allahu akbar.” Other Christian cemeteries in Libya have suffered similarly.
In Iraq, pictures emerged from a Christian cemetery that was vandalized by the Islamic State. Broken and scattered crosses appear. In one picture, the jihadis broke into a coffin, snapped off the head of the withered corpse, and threw the crucifixes surrounding it on the ground.
Such is the history and continuity of Islamic hate for the cross—that symbol which represents the heart of the Christian faith, namely the death and resurrection of Christ, two events Islam vehemently denies.
The jihad on the cross began with Muhammad, was carried out by early caliphs, and continues to this day by the jihadis of the world, not to mention the occasional “everyday” Muslim.