Of all the institutions in America normally shunned by right leaning conservatives, the ‘Church of Satan’ has stood up for and defended Milo Yiannopoulos after a night of violent protesting forced the controversial speaker to cancel a scheduled appearance at California’s U.C. Berkeley.
In a recent blog post concerning the violence, the Church of Satan writes, “Regardless of how you feel about his (Milo’s) views or the tone of his presentations, as Satanists we should be wary of this rising tide of violence against freedom of expression and speech.”
The Church of Satan was founded by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966. Lavey was in many respects a forerunner of Yiannopoulos’ own brand of provocateuring despite obvious differences in opinion.
There are a great number of misconceptions regarding the Church of Satan including its views on God, child sacrifice and animal abuse. According to the Church of Satan’s own literature, the institution frowns on illicit and illegal activity and serves more as a ‘troll organization’ which has merely adopted ‘Satanic imagery’ as a means by which to express uniqueness and individuality.
The Church of Satan posits that it is quite familiar with the sort of smear tactics currently being leveled against Milo Yiannopoulos.
“We recognize that our own views and philosophical works are not of the masses and can be easily taken out of context and used as justification for persecution. During the Satanic Panic we were called every derogatory term under the sun, from child & animal killers to neo-fascists, regardless of our actual stances on respect for children and animals and upholding individualism and evaluating peers by ‘merit not inherit’.”
The Church of Satan also says that it was ‘uncivilized’ of the protesters to shut down free speech in a manner akin to the practice of ‘book burning’ as instituted by Nazi Germany.
“Just as Satanists wouldn’t burn books—we read them and intelligently critique their content—when speakers are offered a platform, whether they are controversial or popular, there are civilized ways to offer discourse, criticism and alternative perspectives. Examining ideas is central to our philosophy, so that we can rationally select which to embrace and which to reject.”
Interestingly enough, the Church of Satan article closes with a quote by none other than libertarian commentator, Stefan Molyneux.
“Those who make conversations impossible, make escalation inevitable.”