John Boehner made headlines the other day when he referred to Senator Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh.” One group was not too pleased with that characterization, however. No, we don’t mean Cruz’ followers. We are referring, of course, to Satanists.
Who could blame them, really? By all rights, Cruz appears to be the type of person that few people want to associate with. He apparently has the personality of a badger, and the only reason he even still has any following is because the alternative is a cartoonish buffoon with racist tendencies and whose only accomplishment in life was his dad dying and giving him his money and name.
Cruz’ political stances aren’t the greatest either, and he appears to favor a theocratic government. His social issues stances are straight out of the 1950s, and he has lost the support of one of the highest profile transgender women in America, Caitlyn Jenner thanks to his bigotry and fear mongering over bathroom usage. His economics policies, while better than those of his foes across the aisle, are still somewhat suspect at best. His foreign policy seems to be nothing more than a “kill ‘em all and let God sort them out” approach. And his fellow Republicans don’t like his tendency to throw them under the bus for his own gain, hence Boehner’s comments.
So it isn’t terribly surprising that Cruz has few people who wish to be associated with him, even by proxy. For Christians (and many other religious zealots) invoking the name of Lucifer is considered an insult. But for Satanists, it is the opposite. They pride themselves on being inclusive and compassionate, welcoming any and all who wish to join. Contrast that with the modern Christian movement, which includes many people who want to build walls to keep people out (literally and figuratively), bar people from bathrooms over nonexistent abuse, and kill many foreign people indiscriminately. Obviously not all Christians share these beliefs, but a sizable enough portion of them do to give rise to the likes of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
So when these groups seek to demonize (literally) somebody who holds beliefs diametrically opposed to those he is being compared to, it can raise a few hackles. Hemant Mehta of Patheos decided to ask the Satanic Temple directly what they thought of Boehner’s comparison, and they were nonplussed, to say the least.
“Boehner’s comment is illustrative of how well past time it is to adjust our mythologies to reflect our realities,” Spokesperson Lucien Greaves told Mehta. “Cruz’ failures of reason, compassion, decency, and humanity are products of his Christian pandering, if not an actual Christian faith, It grows tedious when pedophile priests and loathsome politicians are conveniently dismissed as Satanic, even as they spew biblical verse and prostrate themselves before the cross, recruiting the Christian faithful. Satanists will have nothing to do with any of them.”
While the statement may be a bit over the top, it does strike at the problem many have with the rise in fundamentalism in the United States. The movement has used the Bible and their religion as a means of trying to justify discrimination, even by the government, of those who disagree with their millennia old rules. Most notably, the LGBTQ has been a favorite target of those who wish to excuse their bigotry by coushing it in the Freedom of Religion clause of the First Amendment. However, they don’t seem to believe that the First Amendment could apply to those who don’t believe their extreme religious views should be the supreme law of the land, and that people of all religions and beliefs have rights in America.
It isn’t just Satanists who tire of this hateful behavior either. People of all religions, including Christians who follow the doctrine of love and acceptance preached by their messiah, are tired of being roped in and categorized with the extremists. The problem is that the fundamentalists seem to have a stranglehold on one of the major political parties in the nation right now.
So while Satanists may take umbrage at the comparison of Cruz to Lucifer, many other Christians tire of him being used as an example of a true Christian. But even if they want to pitch Cruz overboard, the satanists sure as heck don’t want him either. Maybe he can start his own cult.