Apparently Satan is making a comeback these days. First came an over-the-top silly article from First Things titled, “The Fountainhead of Satanism,” in which Joe Carters claims, “[Ayn] Rand’s doctrines are satanic.” The argument goes something like this: because a crazy person liked Ayn Rand, therefore Rand’s ideas reflect the beliefs of the crazy person. (Thankfully, no crazy or homicidal person has every claimed to find motivation in or affinity with Christianity.)
Then I was shopping in Costco and saw Ann Coulter’s new book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America. Perhaps, I thought, she’s using the term “demonic” metaphorically, to mean something like “Many leftists are so bad they almost seem demonic.” Apparently not. Flipping through the book, I found lines like this one: “The mob is satanic and Satan can only destroy.” This occurs in the final chapter, titled, “Lucifer: The Ultimate Mob Boss.” So, you see, the left is mob-like, and mobs are satanic, therefore, you can complete the little syllogism.
On Twitter, I mentioned that lines like the one quoted make it hard for me to take Coulter seriously. (Incidentally, I briefly met Coulter in 2006 when she spoke in Colorado.) Immediately somebody replied that mobs have put innocent heads on pikes, eaten human hearts, and strapped bombs to babies; does that not demonstrate Coulter’s thesis?
My reply is two-fold. First, demonstrating that mobs generally are bad is not the same thing as demonstrating they are satanic. Second, I would point out that, in many cases, mobs have been motivated to expunge what their members thought were satanic forces in their victims. Take, for example, the witch hunts and the Inquisition.
Consider this 2009 headline from the Associated Press: “African Children Denounced As ‘Witches’ By Christian Pastors.” The father of one of the boys allegedly possessed by demons tried to pour acid down his throat, “burning away his face and eyes.” The boy died soon thereafter.
Invocations of alleged satanic activity among one’s enemies prove the perfect motivator for many mobs. And is that not precisely the intended effect of Coulter’s book?
I find it hard to believe that Coulter takes herself seriously when, in aninterview about her book, she excoriates leftists for “their tendency to demonize all those that disagree with them.” Because, you know, we wouldn’t want to demonize the opposition!
But sometimes you just have to laugh at such silliness, which is why this is such a great time to review Dana Carvey’s classic skit, “The Church Lady.”