Remember the days of Satanic Panic? It was a time when America talk shows and Christian zealots attempted to sell the masses a certain paranoia. The idea that cloven-hoofed demons cloaked in human skin were coming. And they were going to rape and butcher their children in the name of the Dark Lord. The Church of Satan was perhaps the most feared enemy of the weak. This was a time before the nation began to shudder at the thought of brown terrorists strapped with explosives and Boeing 767’s coming to threaten our way of life in the United States. Back then, it was all about the “threat” of Satanism.
In the late 80s, television-fried zombies lapped up all of the satanic swill coming from the lips of public figures like Geraldo Rivera and Sally Jesse Raphael. America had seen the ghoulish acts of the Manson Family. It was easy for the media to convince large audiences that millions of Satanists were out there. And that they were scouring the land of the free, using heavy metal music to recruit America teens.
It was the consensus of these primetime socialites that the fiend-followers of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey were coming for them. And that they were going to hook the nation’s youth on drugs and inspire them to praise Satan. One cup of animal blood at a time. Families locked their doors at night for fear that one of these devil-worshipping cults just might happen to make a pit stop in suburbia.
But the Devil Never Came
More than twenty years later, the Church of Satan still has not taken over the world. What’s more is the children of the post-666 generation did not end up becoming depraved junkies on a quest for the sacrificial lamb. Nothing like that. In fact, it seems now that had the frightened legions of the middle taken it upon themselves to learn more about Satanism from the very beginning, they would have perhaps found clarity. And maybe even some peace knowing that Satanists were not going to carve them up upon the altar of sacrifice.
They would have learned also that the Church of Satan was never going to turn their children into drug-addicted heathens. Because, believe it or not, illicit substances have been against church rules ever since LaVey established it in the mid-1960s. Even marijuana.
The Church of Satan Does Not Embrace Marijuana
At the core of the Church of Satan’s anti-drug policy is the illegal status of certain substances. But when digging a little deeper, we find that even in its newly legal climate, the Church does not embrace marijuana.
“If a substance is legal, a Satanist may or may not choose to indulge in it. “Indulgence, NOT compulsion” is your guide. Since survival is the highest law, the Satanist will not ruin or poison his or her body, even if it is legal to do so,” reads the Church of Satan’s drug policy. “This is an important distinction. Self-destructive, suicidal hedonism—via whatever means—is ultimately un-Satanic as it threatens the very thing a Satanist holds most dear: his own life. There is no mystical “Scoreboard in the Sky” dictating whether such an act is Wrong or Right; it simply IS, and dead brain cells, blackened lungs and non-functional livers are not a matter of opinion.”
This position of prohibition has sparked some controversy. Some folks believe that the church’s opposing stance on drug use is something new. That Anton LaVey would have never subscribed to such sober lunacy. But that simply isn’t true. From the inception of the Church of Satan, LaVey has not held back his disdain for all drugs.
In a 1966 interview with the Alameda County Weekender, LaVey said the use of narcotic substances had no place in the production of the love potions he used for the Magic Circle.
“The use of the peyote ritual in certain Indian churches—and which has been recently adjudged legal—is an example. But for our purposes the use of drugs would be definitely harmful,” he said. “Like opium, marijuana, heroin and so forth, it ought to be shunned like the plague.”
In his syndicated column “Letters From the Devil,” which was published in 1971 in the National Insider, LaVey amplified his response to the question of Satanism and the use of inebriants, writing, “drugs are great for slaves, but no good for the masters. The glories attained through a drug experience are no more valid than the meaningless baubles with which the status-seeking drone surrounds himself… Those who eulogize on unfoldment gained through drugs have obviously been insensitive to such awareness-provoking stimuli as complete sexual fulfillment, beautiful music, inspirational literature, etc. The excuse that certain drugs are a necessary adjunct to the practice of magic is quite lame…”
Not All Satanists Subscribe to Strict Drug Policies
Not all satanic ethos support prohibition. Many think of The Church of Satan as right wing with a libertarian slant. But the more active 100,000-plus-member Satanic Temple of Salem, Massachusetts is liberal across the board.
The group supports same-sex marriage and is a vocal advocate for the women’s rights movement. It believes that “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone” … and that “the freedoms of others should be respected,” according to its website.
Like the Church of Satan, the Satanic Temple does not support illegal acts. The difference is the Temple does not consider it unlawful to engage in responsible drug use.
“The Satanic Temple believes in individual sovereignty, which includes the right to ingest whatever chemicals a person chooses,” Malcolm Jarry, a spokesperson for the organization told High Times. “This should be done in accordance with reason and where others are not placed at risk.
“That said, while we object to laws that irrationally prohibit liberties and freedoms, we do not promote illegal activity,” he added. “If laws are unjust, as many are that prohibit drug use, people should work to change those laws. We certainly applaud the efforts of many reformers.”
Final Hit: Satanism and Weed: Is The Devil Down With Dope?
People credit LaVey’s concept of Satanism for spawning the movement. And, by all accounts, for bringing it into the realm of infamy. But many still believe the philosophies of the Satanic Temple to be more palatable to prospective members. Especially considering today’s political climate. Although the Church of Satan still exists today, people mostly view it as a brand with historical relevance. But the views of the church are just a little too much “Donald Trump” for the blood of younger generations interested in becoming vital, active extensions of the satanic nation.