On Fox “news” Tucker Carlson told Lucien Greaves that he believed Lucien’s Satanism was due to an “unhappy childhood”. It was a troll comment meant to elicit a defense of the legitimacy of Satanism that would deflect from any meaningful conversation about the actual topic at hand. Also, it was hilariously ill-conceived. Yes some of us, maybe even many of us, have had bad experiences with certain other LGBTQ and diversity hating religions that also often harbor and collude with child abusers… and we may have then been inclined to reject those religions in favor of ones that support us as we are, damages, eccentricities and all… That doesn’t really make a case to question the legitimacy of Satanism as much as it raises a few dozen other questions and observations about what a religion is and should be and why Satanists exist…
When I was a teenager one of my best friends collected Nazi memorabilia. He also blew up his hand playing around with fire and black gunpowder. My other best friend (both boys lived near me) ended up getting expelled from school for bringing a pipe bomb to school. Back then these facts didn’t carry the gravity they do now, this was pre-Columbine. in 1993-94 they were facts without perceptively being portents. One of those friends ended up in the military, the other one in jail for rape and other things. We were all weird, poor, working class marginalized kids with dysfunctional and violent home and school lives.
My stepfather was physically abusive. My mother suffered from severe depression and anxiety (that I inherited) and was compulsively religious and evangelical during her darkest times. At home I lived in a Christian environment of blackest depression and dysfunction. But most of my fear came from outside my home.
Have you ever been regularly hunted for sport? I have. Older boys in the neighborhood would chase me (in their truck) when they would see me out walking. I rarely walked on main streets in my neighborhood during the day. I always cut through yards and wooded areas to avoid being visible on the main road as much as possible. I had to scope out the convenience store from afar before approaching to avoid them if they happened to be there buying smokes and hanging out in the lot. They would drive by my house and yell “QUEER” and “FAGGOT” in the middle of the night. They drove by and knocked our mailbox over with a baseball bat they carried in their truck. I would have to answer questions from my mother and step father about why they thought I was a faggot and why they hated me so much (“Did you ever do anything to them?..”)
At school I was also bullied relentlessly. My nose has been fractured multiple times in fights. I was once cut with a scalpel blade in the hallway of the science floor between classes. When I got angry and scared or cornered enough to fight back I generally held my own, I made sure of that. There were none of the safe spaces Tucker and his friends like to deride for me or my other two friends. No religion or community for us except each other. We were three males who were in constant conflict everywhere we went and that felt like fighting for our very survival.
I don’t know why I’m not the one who ended up in the military, or jail. I also don’t know what deeper psycholigical complexity made us different from the boys at Columbine. I can’t tell you that it wasn’t sheer chance or circumstance either, and that should bother all of us. Because I’ve always felt a little “There but for the grace of God go I…” about Columbine. I was a high risk white male because of the daily trauma I experienced.
I spent time in the library at school reading. My study hall teacher, Mrs. Livingston, who sometimes apologized to me for how people treated me, would let me take a pass and hang out in the library. I adopted reading articles on the internet early, back when most computers anyone had access to were black screens with green or orange text. It was there in my highschool library that I learned that Satanism was atheistic and that it was for those of us who were othered, those of us who were non-believers, queers, neuro-diverse, all of us who were more than banal and common. Satanism provided the context of my own self empowerment. I could be my own Lucifer. My senior year of highschool had an entirely different tone for me. I was still in constant conflict at school because of my liberal queer perspective and my newfound confidence to challenge any narrative I didn’t agree with, regardless of whether an “authority” was presenting it. My teachers feared pissing me off in class lest I start debating or arguing with them on a topic for the rest of the period, students started steering clear of me and I found more freedom to do what I wanted because everything I did was expected to be “weird” and adversarial. My body and mind was my own, the system was corrupt, and I had all of the motivation to address it.
I am not speaking for every Satanist. However, there are those of us who did have extremely unhappy childhoods, and it is not shocking that we’d gravitate to Satanism. It is empowering and in its simplest terms it was about being yourself unapologetically. Religion, specifically the empowerment and community one can find through religion, is transformative and in this case may have saved me if not also many other kids at my school by proxy. So while Tucker is chuckling about the unhappy childhood Satanists must have had he could also consider the implications of what those unhappy childhoods can do to people and be thankful that I am merely a Satanist and not a terrorist. Tucker is not inaccurate to suspect an unhappy childhood when Satanists are concerned (though I can’t speak to Luciens childhood and neither can Tucker), but he is a fucking dick. Perhaps he should ponder why he still resorts to middle school ad hominems when faced with Satanists having intelligent adult discourse if we are the ones with the moral maturity deficiency in our past.