Podcasts/Sacred Tension-Qanon Satanic Panic New Religious Movements 5yebn
Qanon_Satanic_Panic_New_Religious_Movements_5yebn SUMMARY KEYWORDS religion, abuse, people, religious, rock candy, anon, satanic temple, satanists, minority religions, lives, cult, witches, new religious movement, women, satanic panic, question, children, satanic ritual abuse, atheist, thinking SPEAKERS Joseph Laycock, Stephen Bradford Long
00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast. Hi sacred tension fans. My name is Matt Langston and I play in a band called eleventy seven. I'm an artist or producer and I also host my own podcast right here on rock candy called eleventy. Life. We talk with the people behind your favorite songs and albums from the writers to the producers and everyone in between. And we're not asking your favorite artists the same old boring questions like Where did your band name come from? And who's your favorite friend's character? We're asking questions like, Why did your marriage fail? Where does love come from? Is God real? It is a show about the importance of creativity and pursuing your passions and we don't let guests leave until it gets a little bit uncomfortable. So check it out right here on rock candy and your favorite podcast app.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:11 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the spiritual discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one. Go to rock candy recordings.com. All right. Well, welcome back to the Coronavirus series of sacred tension. This particular episode, it might be edited or it might not. It depends how much existential dread I have this week. And whether I have the margin to put in the extra time and work to be, you know, to edit my shows, I'm also an essential worker. I am also an essential worker for listeners who don't know I have talked about that some on the show I manage a grocery store at a small locally owned grocery store here in Appalachia, in western North Carolina. And so I am constantly working with the public with employees and it's exhausting and existentially horrifying work. And also important work. Please think your grocery store cashiers they're literally keeping you alive right now. Please thank all of the essential workers in your life because they are terrified and not getting paid enough. So with that said, I don't know yet if this will be edited. I might do a little bit or not at all. So if you hear my partner in the next room, if you hear my cat snoring in the corner, if Megan confesses to being a serial killer on the air, I'm sorry, that is not being edited out. Or maybe it will be I don't know. We'll see.
Joseph Laycock 02:56 That's good radio I. You do what you want.
Stephen Bradford Long 03:01 Very good. All right. So first things first, my work is sponsored by the Satanic Temple TV. This is a new sponsorship. And if you are not aware of the Satanic Temple TV, you do not have to be a member of the Satanic Temple. Nor do you have to be a Satanist to be a member. It is a streaming platform for satanic or Satan adjacent content. So they have lots of live streams, rituals, documentaries, feature films, all kinds of content in this huge growing library of video content and community going on over there. My viewers get one month free. If you use my code, sacred tension, all caps, no space at checkout, you will get one month three, one month free. And I hope you take advantage of that. And finally, I have to thank my patrons. They are the lifeblood of this show. I can't do what I'm doing without them. Because, you know, I've taken a financial hit. I'm working fewer hours with the public. I'm not teaching yoga anymore. And so I'm relying more on my patrons than I ever have before. So that's the Caroline, Isaac, Christa Isabel and Krakow. Thank you so much. I so appreciate it. For those of you who are unable to financially support creators right now, I totally understand it's really hard for all of us right now. And I need you to take care of yourself and your family first and foremost. And if there are creators in your life, who are small, independent and need your help, do please send them some of your money. Because independent creators are really struggling right now as well helped me reach 100 patrons I'm currently at 75 76 patrons helped me get to 100 That would be really, really awesome. That is my next goal. All right, and then finally, I was listening to my intro Schpeel while working on a show this morning, I'm like Jesus Christ. This is long so I'm going to try to wrap this up. And finally we are continuing to grow the rock candy Podcast Network. So if you have a show, or you are thinking about starting one and you think you would fit with the rock candy vibe, you know, weird unicorn glitter, degenerate monsters that we are kind of, you know, weird social justice circus freaks who are really into weird sex stuff and and horror and glitter and clowns and religion, you know, all of that weirdness. Please send me a message. Go to Steven Bradford long forward slash contact. Tell me about your show. I would love to hear your pitch and maybe you can join the network. Okay, with all of that finally out of the way. I am delighted to welcome Megwin Megwin. Meghan Goodwin, Professor Megan Goodwin to the show. So Meghan Hello.
Joseph Laycock 06:13 i Well, thanks. I mean, all things considered I am and let that be enough for right now. Also, I do want to get out of the way I am not to the best of my knowledge is serial killer. Who can save you?
Stephen Bradford Long 06:24 I don't do that. To the best of your knowledge. Very good. All right. So tell us some about your work and what you do.
Joseph Laycock 06:34 Yeah. Lots of things as has my ADHD brother and sister and and gender neutral Lin can probably be associated with so oh before
Stephen Bradford Long 06:47 beforehand I so I totally forgot to ask and I normally ask this before we start recording. So this is very poor etiquette on my part. Your your pronouns your your pronouns are she her? Hers? Thank you. Okay, got it. Yes, of course. Okay, moving on it
Joseph Laycock 07:04 Okay, so we're a couple of hats. I'm only some of them are pointy. So which joke so I am so many clients when these days want to point out that it's it's a witchy pointing us and not like a white supremacy on purpose, pointing us. Anyway, I am more
Stephen Bradford Long 07:19 Tim clarification eight.
Joseph Laycock 07:21 I am the program director of sacred rights that's WRI t e. S, which is a program funded by the Luce Foundation hosted at Northeastern University that promotes public scholarship on religion. I am a visiting lecturer or something to that effect. They changed my title at Northeastern in the Philosophy and Religion Department. My most recent classes. I love my job. My most recent classes are about cults and witches. So living the dream and stuff I really well it's funny because I went to grad school and my PhD advisor changed my my dissertation project a number of times because he kept telling me that there are no jobs for people who work on witches. And hilariously, my whole job right now is talking about witches in cults. She eautiful she also you know, Randall so I do the public scholarship piece, I do the teaching piece. My research is on gender, sexuality, race, politics, pop culture and American minority religions, particularly since 1980. But I sometimes will go as far back as like the 60s.
Stephen Bradford Long 08:25 So that's awesome. That's fantastic. Yeah, so this is stuff that I absolutely love. And of course, I am myself a member of a minority religion. I am a member of the Satanic Temple. I consider myself a Satanist. So this is kind of right up my alley i because I'm fascinated by the experience of minority religions and kind of occult imagery and a cold occultism and pop culture and and the Satanic Panic and all of that stuff. What's that?
Joseph Laycock 09:06 I have a book you should read. I feel like
Stephen Bradford Long 09:08 yes application. So speaking so speaking of which, your book is called abusing religion. It is coming out. I believe you said it is coming out the 17th of July
Joseph Laycock 09:19 is officially out the 17th of July although folks who pre ordered already have their copies so
Stephen Bradford Long 09:24 great. Okay, so normally, I read my guests books before they come on. I did not get to do that this time, because it hasn't come out yet. But it's called abusing religion. And so what is the what's the idea behind this book?
Joseph Laycock 09:42 Well, so the really short version is that religion doesn't cause abuse. When we're looking at sex abuse in minority religious communities. The move in popular culture is usually to say, well, look at these weirdos they've doing religion wrong. They are using religion as an excuse to do sex wrong. So cool. Really they are taking advantage of our ie United States religious freedom to do their weird sex stuff. And we are right to try to control religious difference because look, look what happens when we don't. So
Stephen Bradford Long 10:12 okay. Yeah, interesting. So So give me a specific example of this of this dynamic that you were describing.
Joseph Laycock 10:20 Well, hey, you mentioned the Satanic Panic. So let's think about that one. Let's just
Stephen Bradford Long 10:24 go with the Satanic Panic 100%.
Joseph Laycock 10:27 So the book looks at three different case studies that come out of these pop nonfiction, really pulp nonfiction books that like your mom probably loved stuff, like under the banner of heaven, or Not Without My Daughter, or in the case of the Satanic Panic, we're looking at a book called Michel remembers, which really kicked off the Satanic Panic in meaningful ways, not just because the book itself, imagined and popularized the idea of a global satanic conspiracy coming to take and abuse your children, but also because the authors themselves promoted the book as data. They took these memories that psychiatrist helped manufacture in a traumatized woman who he later married. Yeah, yeah. And went on the road with them. So they did book promotion. But they also did seminars for law enforcement, they also did a ton of work with the American Psychiatric, or psychological association. So much so that there is a diagnosis briefly, in the DSM three Rs, I think it's 1987. That specifically ties multiple personality disorder, what we now call dissociative identity disorder, with satanic ritual abuse MPD. SRA is a diagnosable ailment for a hot minute in the 80s.
Stephen Bradford Long 11:50 Yeah, it's crazy. So so this villainizing and this, you know, turning a minority religion like a, I don't know, fake minority religion, I mean, because delusion. Yeah,
Joseph Laycock 12:06 yeah, that's the satanists that they're concerned about, aren't actual Satanists. It's not that
Stephen Bradford Long 12:09 don't exist, right. It's it's not the
Joseph Laycock 12:13 sex. It's not the Temple of set. It's certainly not that Satanic Temple, which is much more recent, as you know, yes, it has a really Catholic imagining of evil that gets expressed in satanic terms. So I have a whole big argument about the way that the Satanic Panic teaches the United States to think about sex in Catholic terms in terms of Catholic sexual morality. But the really short version is you get this narrative about us versus them. Religion versus evil. And the evil here are Satanists that don't exist, but are imagined to be globally conspiring to pervert and pollute America's children. And this is happening when an unprecedented number of white women are entering the workforce. Thanks, Reagan. So white women who would previously have been able to care for their own children are outsourcing that labor to poor folks to largely women of color. And there's a there is a religious anxiety happening with the rise of the new Christian Right? There's an economic anxiety rising with Reagan, there is an increasingly Catholic way of thinking about sexual morality with Regan being in bed, metaphorically, at least, with John Paul the Second, it's just a perfect storm,
Stephen Bradford Long 13:26 literally would be so much more interesting, though. I know, we can always literally in bed with John Paul the second,
Joseph Laycock 13:32 maybe they would both relax a little bit. It's too late now. But so we have this, this imaginating of a religious outsider who is using the pretense of religion to abuse children. And the authors of Michel remembers then involve themselves in truly hundreds of cases alleging satanic ritual abuse of children in preschools, sports teams, stuff like that. And then later in the 1980s, and into the 1990s, we start seeing psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, who are taking Michelle remembers as as a legitimate script, and saying, adult women are adult survivors of satanic ritual abuse and again, encouraging them to sort of manufacture these memories of having been abused in specifically ritual ways. Lots to be said there.
Stephen Bradford Long 14:27 Absolutely. So. And just a quick note, for my listeners who might be interested in this subject. It's important to remember that this is not ancient history. There are still people in prison. Yep. From act false accusations of satanic ritual abuse, the 80s and 90s or not a long time ago, and it's still going on you know it, it's no so this is no longer mainstream. You know, you don't you no longer really hear about Get on CNN you know you wouldn't you don't turn on the news too late to like a major news program and hear about it
Joseph Laycock 15:07 unless you're watching some of the proceedings of like the White House these days where
Stephen Bradford Long 15:11 hey there Yes, very good point. Human discourse
Joseph Laycock 15:15 like it's mainstream here then we want to think as
Stephen Bradford Long 15:18 that's it. Yeah, actually, that's a really good point. I mean, cute. Yeah. So Q anon as part of this, but but the the satanic ritual abuse thing specifically, that whole conspiracy theory is still around, and I still hear about it like I am, I am still hearing this bullshit. I have some, some old friends from my old Christian circle that I grew up in, who are still believers in this. People are still doing what they call inner prayer, inner inner healing ministry, which is a form of Christian, quote, unquote, healing for satanic ritual abuse. So this still exists. I've also done several shows on this with Joseph Laycock. And yeah, he's great. I love like, I love Joseph Laycock. And with the gray faction, from the Satanic Temple. Well, yeah. So yeah, this So is there an element here? So you talked about how the main lie quote unquote, mainline religions, were demonizing this deviant satanic sexual abuse of Colt as the other, you know, and, and kind of CO opting religious identity to abuse children? And that was kind of the narrative? Was there a degree of misdirection in that because now we know that there is a gigantic sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church and then and the Protestant. The abuse within the Protestant church is also coming to light. A lot of these more established religions, as I understand it have been hotbeds for religious abuse and covering up religious abuse. And ironically, the a lot of these were the exact same groups who were accusing, you know, non existent Satanists of abusing children in horrific ways. Is there a kind of a psychological element of misdirection? And all of this?
Joseph Laycock 17:27 i Yes, is the short answer. Okay. So as I said, the basic argument, the book is that religion doesn't cause abuse. So religion no more causes abuse in the Roman Catholic Church than it does in, you know, your small Wiccan community down the street. The problem is, is that abuse happens everywhere, okay, and that United States constitutionally and culturally, treats religion like it's special. It doesn't mean that abuse doesn't happen in religious organizations, because obviously, we know that it does, because abuse happens everywhere. What it does mean is that religious institutions like and unlike sports institutions, or medical institutions, or a number of other powerful organizations that we value culturally, religious institutions very often are given special latitude to operate independently and out of the public eye. So religion, or I'm sorry, so sex abuse doesn't happen in the Roman Catholic Church, because Catholicism has something about it that makes abuse more likely. The Roman Catholic Church, however, holds a special if not unique position in relationship to the US government. They're not held to account, they are allowed to operate without supervision, both like and unlike, say, the Michigan gymnastics team, but also you have this rhetoric of the value of the lives of children happening at exactly the same time. And this is this is my first chapter and then I do some of this work in the conclusion as well. The real irony makes it sound trivial. It's a hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of formally Bishop then Cardinal Bernard law, being the mouthpiece of the sanctity of unborn children's lives at the very same time that we know that he is covering up massive decades of institutionalized sex abuse is just astounding, there, there is no proper response except disgust and all. So this is this is the big question of the book is like what's religious about religious sex abuse, and on the one hand, nothing, abuse happens everywhere, but on the other. You have both the specialness of religion in the United States where you're given this latitude to operate outside governmental supervision and accountability, and also the setting up of a special kind of authority so that priests, deacons, even parents, In a parish are imbued with special religious significance. It can make it harder to recognize as abuse, because this person has a special relationship with God so good. They asked me to do something that wasn't okay. Right? Right. So it makes it harder to recognize it makes it harder to prosecute, it makes it harder to hold people accountable. Particularly if you're looking at an organization that operates internationally, right. We know so many priests who abused children were first shipped out to the southwest so that they were targeting not white children, or shipped internationally so that they were beyond accountability within US law.
Stephen Bradford Long 20:34 So is this Sorry, go on?
Joseph Laycock 20:36 No, no, it's, there's a ton to be said here. But the short version is, there's a sleight of hand that happens with American abuse regardless, where we always want to find something to blame. That isn't us. We don't want abuse to be an American problem. We want it to be a religious problem, or a sports problem, or any number of other things where we want to blame it on gender transition, if you've been following the Lavery Ortberg case out of memo church, we want to blame it on people doing sex wrong, we want to blame it on something that other than strong people take advantage of weak people and institutions value their own persistence over the lives, the dignity, the bodily integrity of children, women and other vulnerable groups.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:20 So so this is why your book is called abusing religion than right. So the idea being that abusers are in fact, using that, okay, let me let me try to articulate this. It is abusers using religion as a mean, and the power that it is afforded in this country, the power, the privacy, all have that stuff, that special status that it has in our country, to abuse the vulnerable.
Joseph Laycock 21:56 Yes. And America uses abuses religion so that it doesn't have to take accountability and responsibility for the persistence of abuse. Right. And that's a problem. That's not us. They're not really American. And you can tell because look how they do religion, they do it wrong.
Stephen Bradford Long 22:12 Right. So this is where the, like the Satanic Panic, so it is condemning this, this minority religion or say witchcraft, it is this condemning and abusing of a minority religion, heaping all of our, you know, sexual crimes on this other so that we don't have to take responsibility as a country is as a culture. Okay, that's really, really interesting. And what about? Yeah, yeah, that's, that's fascinating to me. So there's something that I one thing that I struggle with is, on the one hand, I think that, you know, on the one hand, I 100% agree with you that there is nothing inherent about a religion that makes it abusive, because abuse is everywhere, you know, power dynamics are everywhere. And it doesn't matter if it's in a business, or in a Quaker friends gathering, like it doesn't matter. I do. Do you think that there are some specific? So there are two parts to this question one. Are there any specific theologies that lend themselves to enabling more abuse? And the second part of this question is, is that actually a chicken and egg question? And what I mean by that is, when I think of potential theologies that could enable a culture of abuse, I immediately think of purity culture. But the problem here, the question that I have is, is that theology actually enabling the abuse? Or did that theology emerge from a culture of abuse? You know what I'm saying? Does that make sense? Does that does that question make any sense
Joseph Laycock 24:05 it that's so several things if we're going to talk about purity culture, I have to shout out my girl Sarah mas Linares virgin nations very smart book on American purity culture.
Stephen Bradford Long 24:14 Oh, nice. Say that say that title one more time. It's called Virgin nation. Okay. And before we move on, could you quickly define purity culture for the heathens who might not know what that is?
Joseph Laycock 24:28 Nor seasons or small achievements anyway? paganism joke there for you. They would hate that I call them being in any way. So if we're thinking about purity culture, we're thinking about a culture largely within conservative Christianity largely within white conservative Christianity, that values the sexual wealth purity, sexual inviolable ability of mostly young white Christian women so young white Christian, women and girls are encouraged to To stay intact until marriage, this leads to some really interesting ritualization like pledging your purity to your father. And you exchange like you get a ring that kind of looks like a wedding ring. Like there's a whole thing you're
Stephen Bradford Long 25:18 already balls.
Joseph Laycock 25:21 This is really this is Sarah's area and you should 100% read her book. But the bigger question about whether there are theologies that lend themselves to abuse is both a really common question and a really Protestant question, because it assumes that beliefs inform actions. And I think your point about chicken and egg or religion and culture informing each other is really where it's at. People make religion religion is what people do, as we say on my podcast, keeping it one on one and killjoys introduction to religion. Religion is what people do people make religion. So we have folks everywhere throughout all time, stronger folks taking advantage of weaker folks. And then also creating these systems of meaning making that explain why things are the way they are what happens to us after we die, why certain things matter why certain spaces or certain times or certain people are important, and they reflect those cultural values. So we see this kind of recursive effect of culture, making religion, making culture making religion, so it's authorized. My big concern is the move to go, Oh, you're this religion. That's why abuse happens. And I'm specifically thinking here of the backlash that Elizabeth smart saw when she spoke to public health officials about what happened to her. So for folks who don't know, Elizabeth smart, was raised in a church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the mainstream Mormon church, she was abducted by a Mormon fundamentalist couple and sexually abused for almost a year. And the mainstream media narrative when she started talking about her experiences, always wanted to point to Mormon theology as why she didn't run away. She said, I have this purity, the sex ed the well, you know, abstinence only education as part of my Mormon upbringing. And it made me feel once I had been sexually assaulted, that I wasn't worth anything. It made me question my worth. And her message for public health officials was we need to chill, teach children that they have inherent worth, no matter what happens to them. And NPR and ABC and a number of other I think CNN did one of these headlines to a number of them looked at that speech and said LDS abstinence only training meant Elizabeth Bart didn't run away from her captor. So that's why even though in that speech, she said, you don't have the right to ask anybody why they don't run away, I was afraid for my family. But also That's none of your business. It's not my fault that I was raped, the message should be a don't rape and be children have worth no matter what happens to them. So the move to say, religion is what happens? Religions what went wrong, they're not we teach men, we teach people that women are sexual objects, they are to be desired they are to be pursued, and that women should resist that the sexually viable, should resist that. Assault. That is rape culture. And that is the problem. Religion is not the problem, but at the same time, religion can absolutely feed into and perpetuate rape culture.
Stephen Bradford Long 28:39 And sure you so yeah, this is just something that I find so fascinating. And, and I like to call the you know, you said just a minute ago, it's very Protestant to, to say, you know, how did you put it beliefs are? Actions. Yeah, yes. Beliefs create actions. And, and, of course, I think that we can all say, Well, there's a degree to which that's true. But I, but I think that there's, there's this element of Oh, but what about material conditions?
Joseph Laycock 29:21 Yes, absolutely. About material conditions.
Stephen Bradford Long 29:24 Yes. What about? Yeah,
Joseph Laycock 29:26 that's the constructive response to abuse is what are the material conditions that make abuse possible? secrecy, patriarchy, poverty, isolation? Those are the things that make abuse possible. Those are the common factors across so much of use, regardless of whether or not a family or community is religious. Janet Bennett, who works on Mormon fundamentalists has some really great writing on this. The I think Her most recent book is polygamy on primetime, but her suggestion is, hey, we need to decriminalize polygamy, but also we really need to look at what causes abuse and in It's not religion, it's poverty and isolation. And women not having access to resources. So if you're I don't know, the government of the state of Texas, and you're really concerned about preventing child abuse. What if you made it possible for women in like a minority religious community to feel safe in reaching out to the state for help, rather than showing up with tanks in their front yard and taking 400 Plus children in the largest custodial seizure of children and American history?
Stephen Bradford Long 30:30 Yes. Yeah. And of course, you're referring to the Waco. Nope, today.
Joseph Laycock 30:35 This is definitely yes. So Waco, children died, but they weren't mostly Nazis. But right down the street from Waco Eldorado, Texas 2008. The State of Texas shows up after spending two or three years looking for an excuse to go into the yearning for Zion Ranch, which is an FL was an F LDS property, showed up with 1617 different law enforcement agents and took all of the women and all of the children because they were concerned about as it turned out, a false report of sexual abuse. Right. So not one man, by the way, who we were assuming were the perpetrators were arrested or detained that day. They took all the women and all the children rather than any of them and the whole thing sorry,
Stephen Bradford Long 31:20 okay, okay. Let's okay, I'm just I'm just processing what you just said. For a second. Okay. So they did not detain any of the men who who were abusers they took away the children. Yeah.
Joseph Laycock 31:35 Yeah. Okay. And and wait, wait for it. So this is this is the yearning for Zion case study is hard to think about because abuse did absolutely happen at yearning for Zion. Okay, full stop. At the same time, statistically, less of us happened at yearning for Zion than you would expect in a community that large period. Yes, certain men abused women and children. That is the truth. The response to that was to violate an entire community and to brand almost every single adult who was living at yearning for Zion, a sex offender, for letting them live in the community. The the practice of Mormon fundamentalism was considered sexual abuse because the community practice polygamy.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:26 Okay, got it now. Okay. Yes, I follow. Yeah, yeah. So just one of the things that I'm hearing that that is coming to mind while I'm listening to you talk about this. And it's super fascinating and just super complicated. And I, so, in the atheist world, I, which I have a foot in because I am in TST, and TST is a non theistic organization. So we are we are simultaneously kind of part of the atheist world while also pissing off a lot of atheists, because we see ourselves as, as genuinely religious, we see ourselves as truly, genuinely without reservation, religious people, yeah, with a lot of Jews and Buddhists. Exactly. And that and that, just, and there are so many atheists who just want us to be a troll and who just want to, like get on board and hey, and be like, Yay, fuck Christians, and then they, and then they, they join or they they get involved and discover that, no, we're actually Satanists. They get really mad. But so all that aside, so I do have kind of a foot in the atheist world. And, and one thing that does trouble me, I think the best example of, of this phenomenon that I'm talking about is Sam Harris, who, who just has this very simple formula of people do things because they believe certain things. So it's kind of like this,
Joseph Laycock 34:01 such a Protestant way of thinking about people. Thinking about atheists that not all atheism ashtag not only Yes, but so much particularly like white atheism is informed by these intensely Christian specifically Protestant understandings of how religion works. And all they do to start with God. They kept everything else It's so dumb.
Stephen Bradford Long 34:22 Well, I'm getting super fucking triggered right now. Because one of the things that does really annoy me about atheists about American Atheist culture, not atheism, because atheism is nothing more than a lack of belief in God and that can mean many different things to different people. So I think
Joseph Laycock 34:41 you want to be really specific, this is a white, this is a this is a white American Atheists, because atheism 100% has obviously tons of adherents from tons of different races. Going to shout out again Christopher Cameron's black free thinkers, because a lot of people assume that atheism is white because those are the loudest folks on the internet. And that is not representative of the complexity or the diversity of the movement.
Stephen Bradford Long 35:06 Also, also shout out to black nonbelievers.org. They are. They're great, too. Yeah, there is this assumption that, that atheists are just, you know, white men with ponytails and, and, you know, wearing socks with their sandals, which is fine. It's a statement. It's a look, but anyway, okay, all that aside, okay. Okay. It drives me crazy, because they think like Baptists, they, they define God as a Baptist. You know, nothing against my Baptist friends who are listening, but they define God as kind of a fundamentalist Baptist who doesn't believe in God anymore. They read scripture, as a Baptist, they interpret the Bible as Baptist, they see other religions as a Baptist, and it just drives me insane. Okay, but to get back to Sam Harris, he has this idea that it's like this very simple, like, you're you're a cell phone, you're you are, you are a smartphone, and you are running a particular operating system. And, and it's like, you're this little gizmo, you're this, you're this little computer. And you are running an operating system. And that operating system is a particular religion, particularly a particular holy book.
Joseph Laycock 36:25 And if you are weird, magical thinking, it's weird.
Stephen Bradford Long 36:29 It's weird, magical thinking. And also it's you think that someone who is so invested in critiquing religion would get this right, but, but they don't. And it's, and it's like, no, religion is a living social construct. Religion exists as a fluid social construct within the lives and minds of the people who are religious, there is no true and therefore there is no, this is my personal theory, there is no true Christianity.
Joseph Laycock 37:04 And if that's true, that's how religious studies talks about religion. Religion is what people do. So no, there is no there there. There's no this is Christian that is not Christian. If people who call themselves Christian are calling it Christianity, then that is also what Christian and Christianity are for they are Christian. And it's it's hard, right? Because it means that I will use another North Carolina example. It means the Christianity of William Barber, right? Is Christianity at the same time that the Christianity the clan Islam, exactly. And that complexity is what we have to live with. If we are thinking about religion. Now, as as a human being and as a scholar. I will say that the theology and practice of Reverend William Barber is a way that I want to see the world move in a way that I do not want to see white supremacy continue to influence public policy, or religious spaces. And those are becoming more mushed. Together, the longer our current President is in office. But we can't say William barbers Christianity, or Martin Luther King is Christianity. But those Klansmen aren't those Klansmen said Jesus would have been a Klansmen, like they are not not doing Christianity to pause. Everyone should also be reading Kelly J. Baker's gospel according to the client, you're welcome. Everybody gets homework.
Stephen Bradford Long 38:20 That's great. I mean, you're giving me so much reading to do and I and I fucking love it because I, I'm fascinated. I'm fascinated by this stuff. Okay, so I'm at the, at the very top of the show, we talked some about Q Anon, but I want to frame it in a particular way, which is minority religion. Um, everything from minority religions, to the satanic to, you know, like the Satanic Temple are having an outsized influence on pop culture right now, in my opinion, I think the Satanic Temple is having a very outsized influence, you know, in comparison to its actual membership, I think,
Joseph Laycock 39:03 I mean, there's something to be said for the amount of spectacle that goes into the the efforts, the political activism of this exotic temple.
Stephen Bradford Long 39:11 Absolutely. I have to, I have to say if there's one thing that we have down it is the optics. And but same with same with witchcraft, you know, I feel like the witches are like, high right now.
Joseph Laycock 39:26 Yep. Yep. And this version of turned is like Hell yeah, there's a witch on. I'm a witch. And I'm wanting you, Lady West, obviously, but also like, you've got Latina women who are the center of the charm story now like, that's amazing. It is more expansive, more to my mind. Thoughtful, although obviously still in progress, still work to be done. movement. It's really exciting. I mean, as somebody who like came up in the 90s. This space between like the craft, which is what we had to work with when I was a small girl and parochial school to like the college of richness and just creativity but also real, like political responsibility and thoughtfulness that I'm seeing in witches practicing right now and in the media about witches is really exciting.
Stephen Bradford Long 40:13 It's, it's fantastic. And, you know, I think that minority religions, especially religions that have been deemed more deviant, like Satanists, and witches and pagans, you know, Neo pagans and heathens and whatnot, we're kind of having a moment where we're having we're having this this moment. And it's very political as well. I mean, we're finding political witchcraft, and always political but yes, the absolute 100% Yes. important clarification, it is it is more culturally acknowledged as political, I should say. Sure, you know, like, you know, we have witches cursing Trump, and we have, you know, say,
Joseph Laycock 40:59 I teach the Hexing of Kavanaugh in my witches class, we talk about the groups that came together to do that. Yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 41:05 Okay, so So this is kind of a segue into Q anon because um, I think that Q anon might be another minority religious movement.
Joseph Laycock 41:16 I think you are wrong and let me tell you why. This is actually why this is a conversation that I've been having on Twitter a lot great Yes. Well, so I forget Was it something like a nation or box or one of those Rana like, oh, Q anon is a new religious movement and
Stephen Bradford Long 41:30 I shared that article. Yes. Yes.
Joseph Laycock 41:33 And so I am minorly internet famous as the lady who yells when any whenever anybody says I'm actually cited on the the Wikipedia page for colts which is job nonsense. I still don't know who did that. It was funny because somebody was somebody wrote it down. As you know, Professor Megan Goodwin says people say cults when they mean or the lay man says people say cults when they mean religion I don't like and I was like jokingly bitching on Twitter. That was like, I did say that part. But you know, I would never say laymen and somebody went back and changed it to a layperson. I love the internet sometimes. That's great. About pure non Q anon is disturbingly mainstream, it is weird as fuck. But I think the danger in saying this is a new religious movement, particularly in mainstream media outlets, is that it does that seem not blaming ourselves for Q anon that we'd like to do with abuse? Right? We like to say, oh, weirdo religion is causing abuse, or these freaks who spend too much time on the internet? Are this this new religious manifestation when in fact, Q Anon, honestly, is the logical, absurd conclusion of the new Christian, right? Like this is all coming out a very mainstreaming very politically motivated, religious thinking that, weirdly, in the 21st century, he doesn't think of itself as religious anymore, but is very comfortable saying, Well, you know what, Judaism is definitely disgusting. And Islam is definitely disgusting. We might not be one religion anymore. We might not say, Oh, well, we're all white Christians, like the Klan did. But we're still really sure what religion should look like. And we're really sure it shouldn't look like Judaism or Islam.
Stephen Bradford Long 43:18 So, okay, so I what I'm hearing is the danger in calling Q anon a new religious movement is a that that is just doing the method of other rising one more time that we have to, we have to separate our, you know, our big good world religions, from the tiny, weird deviant religions that that freak out the wasps,
Joseph Laycock 43:48 not just other rising but like absolving ourself of responsible absolving
Stephen Bradford Long 43:52 ourselves of responsibility. And then to it is actually an offshoot of main it is a it is the inevitable result of mainline religion of a particular mainline religion, and so it is okay, that makes a lot of sense. So it isn't a new religious movement. It is just Christian fundamentalism. Right. It's
Joseph Laycock 44:11 what happens when Christian fundamentalism gains, that kind of cultural and political momentum that we've seen again, and again, specifically white, conservative, small Sikh, Christian, because not all of the folks that are involved, maybe not even most of the folks who are involved in these kinds of movements would identify as Christian, but it is a very small c, cultural Christian understanding of how religion and politics should
Stephen Bradford Long 44:32 operate. It's really, really interesting.
Joseph Laycock 44:35 Thank you. I mean, it's tricky, right? Because no new religious movements springs from nowhere, all of them build from someplace, right, right. At the same time, the move to look at something like qanon and call it a new religious movement, or we see the language of cult specifically again, this is where I yell on the internet. That language does specific, again, very political things and it's not just look at the weirdos. It's a They're dangerous, which to be fair. Q anon adherence did shoot up a pizza place in DC, specifically because he was convinced that Satanists were trafficking children through the basement called Satanic Panic. This is actually where the chapter ends. But also, using the language of cult makes it sound as though people have been brainwashed, right, that people are not responsible for the choices that they're making. We shouldn't have to hold people accountable for the choices that they're making or the media that they're consuming. And perpetuating this language of like some religions are okay, and some religions are not, some religions are real religions and other religions are cults, that cold language gets deployed against the folks at Waco against the folks at yearning for Zion. It justifies, it makes them legitimate targets of state violence and surveillance. And that doesn't just get limited to new religious movements, because we see a lot of the same rhetoric and a lot of same tactics being deployed against different branches of Islam in the United States.
Stephen Bradford Long 45:59 Yeah, what do you and by the way, just to clarify, I didn't I don't couch, you know, the Q anon question in regards to, you know, in having any kind of solidarity with Satanists and witches at all. Just Just to clarify. Yes, yes, I should say that, like, it was just this observation that there seems to be this trend that the previously weird and deviant is now mainstream and one, for sure. Weird and deviant thing that is actually destructive and unhealthy is Q anon. That's, that's what I was saying. Yeah, very much. So. So, um, oh, goodness, what, what was I just going to say, where did it go? It I, and it was such a great question to
Joseph Laycock 46:50 ask question.
Stephen Bradford Long 46:54 Okay, so basically what I'm hearing you say, Oh, here's the here's the question. I have started just cutting the word Colt from my vocabulary.
Joseph Laycock 47:04 Thank you. Thank you so much.
Stephen Bradford Long 47:06 You're what I was going to ask. I was going to ask, What do you think of the word cult? Because I don't like it. I feel like it's just a weaponized to term.
Joseph Laycock 47:14 It is a weaponized term. It's a politically charged term. It is a term, we just actually did an episode on the term cult. So if people are really interested in what I think I yelled for a solid 45 minutes. I'm keeping it one on one on our smart girl summer cults podcast. But the short version is that the light, the short version is that words do things, right. Words, make the worlds that we live in the word cult, even if what you mean is a very specific, very academic, tiny little thing. It doesn't matter because the word does more than you mean it to. And what the word cult does out in the world is do things like justify state violence, justify state surveillance, justify the thinking that some religions are too dangerous to be allowed, that folks who do religion differently are stupid, or are being forced to do it, which is why we have to rescue them with tanks, right? It does more than it says and the work that it does, whether we mean it to or not, is mostly bad, and has a long history of being weaponized against women, against people of color, particularly black people in the United States, against poor people. We, in a, again, usually unrealized very kind of mainstream Protestant way, are deeply suspicious of things like enthusiasm and excitement and bodies, and just ecstasy, right, all of those things that like those of us who get into minority religions are looking for. Yeah, and the criticisms of those minority religions are things like you're out of control, you're too much, you're too loud. You are in my door all the time, Jehovah's Witnesses who who really have done some important work in front of Supreme Court in terms of the space that minority religions can take up. All of it is criticisms of your too much calm down. Why can't you be civil? Why can't you be nice? Why can't you be more like your nice white, quiet, private, Christian neighbors? Right. And the thing is, is the folks that tend to be religious in the United States, and particularly folks who tend to be involved in minority religions tend to be women, the people of color, queer people, queer people, absolutely. Folks that are looking for different ways of making meaning in the world. And an idea about religion that says some religions are okay, and some are ridiculous and dangerous. just reinforces this idea that like, someone who is not in a minority religion gets to decide how you do religion, how you get to make meaning in the world, how you find community, how you value time and space. And we, frankly, we shouldn't give any culture that power. So
Stephen Bradford Long 49:54 does the drive also. Yeah, it totally is and doesn't impact I see this as being connected to that concept that we were discussing earlier, the, you know, the Sam Harris model of religion as there is this immutable program that people are running and and what concerns me about that is and and also what we were just discussing in regards to colts is it, it prevents growth it, it prevents evolution and you know, sometimes there are specific pockets of specific religions that might be more toxic than others
Joseph Laycock 50:32 people. Other people are shitty to each other everywhere, everywhere, in places where they are not being seen by other folks who think differently,
Stephen Bradford Long 50:41 right? So what really
Joseph Laycock 50:43 happens in isolation, but black women are taken advantage of in a number of social systems that don't also think that Jim Jones might or might not be gone. Right.
Stephen Bradford Long 50:54 Right. Right, exactly. And, and what really worries me is when say, atheists come along and say, Well, this is just the way Islam is period, full stop, we just need to demolish it, I'm like, or towards Christianity, like, Oh, this is or even worse, this is just the way all religion period is you just need to burn it all down. The My issue with that is that there are going to be deeply, deeply religious people like myself, who will then feel trapped, who will be unable to, to grow, who will be unable to, to progress in any way.
Joseph Laycock 51:37 Well, it's also a massively narcissistic. And again, I'm gonna say it white supremacist understanding of religion, I did call White said, Sam Harris, a white supremacist, and I will stand by that.
Stephen Bradford Long 51:47 I mean, I think about it, but he had, he had fucking Charles Murray on his show to defend the bell curve, the man, the man is a defender of white nationalism, not 100%.
Joseph Laycock 52:02 But over and above that, it also ignores the amazing creativity and life giving constructive work that can happen in religious spaces, not only in their religious spaces, but absolutely within your religious spaces. And I'm thinking here specifically are the work that unifies and Phil does in new world that come in, where she looks at the way that black religious innovation helps black Americans reimagine the past outside slavery reimagine a future outside racism and oppression. And that becomes possible through religion, religion as a tool, it doesn't do anything. You we do things with,
Stephen Bradford Long 52:40 you know, I and I think that, you know, there because there's a little ad, you know, atheist in my head with a ponytail and Birkenstocks, always living in my head. I know that the atheist response, the you know, the, the white atheist response to that is, quote, you, but you can have all of that without religion. And I'm at the point now, where I'm not actually sure.
Joseph Laycock 53:03 I mean, maybe you can't, maybe you can't, but maybe people know how to do their lives. Exactly. They'll tell queer people how to do their lives, when they're resisting homophobia don't tell women how to do their lives when they're resisting sexism and black queer women how to be in the world full stop.
Stephen Bradford Long 53:21 Yes, precisely.
Joseph Laycock 53:24 To talk about a goddess, nobody gets to tell Audrey Lord that she doesn't talk about the goddess fuck entirely off.
Stephen Bradford Long 53:29 And, and I'm but also isn't there? I mean, religion is contextual, it is informed by by history and material conditions. And, and it is a space in which new worlds are made possible. Absolutely. And sometimes, depending on context, you really can't do it without religion.
Joseph Laycock 53:57 I, I don't, I genuinely don't know. Okay, I'm not interested in doing that with religion. I think it's really interesting and important that so many folks have wanted to call that kind of world rebuilt. Excuse me. That world reimagining or rebuilding religion. I'm like in a very Octavia Butler space right now and got us change. It is, you know, it was our fate to leave this planet. I don't personally believe that, but I do think God has changed. And I just I don't the idea that you have to get rid of religion in order to fix people is just another way that we let people off the hook. Religion is not the problem. People are the problem. People nice people.
Stephen Bradford Long 54:42 I love that. And you know my answer now, to a lot of, you know, some people say some people tell me, isn't your religion a crutch? And I'm at the point where I'm like, who cares?
Joseph Laycock 54:57 Just wear glasses.
Stephen Bradford Long 54:59 Exactly. A
Joseph Laycock 55:01 people need help always have limits.
Stephen Bradford Long 55:03 Exactly. And it's like, Could I be happy without religion? Probably, but I don't want to. Why is that in and of itself not enough? You know,
Joseph Laycock 55:14 Satanic Temple has a really fun take on religion like if you're going to do religion, like they're respectable, but also like a deep insistence on the disestablishment of religion in the United States that claims to value the Constitution, like, go hand for that man. Like that's worth fighting for.
Stephen Bradford Long 55:34 100% for it worth putting on?
Joseph Laycock 55:38 No polish and maybe making a bit of a show about it. get people's attention. It matters.
Stephen Bradford Long 55:43 Yes, absolutely. All right. Well, this has been a really, really fun conversation, and maybe you can come back sometime. Anywhere. Yeah, we're all still in quarantine. Because people I need I feel the need to remind everyone. We're still in a fucking apocalypse. It's still, it's still a pandemic out there. And you still need to wear your goddamn masks You disgusting monsters put on your face condom. So you don't give me the death dots. Because I'm actually having to serve you. I'm actually having to give you your food. Do you want to go hunt that shit on your own in the prairie? No, you don't. So treat your cashier with some respect and put on a fucking mask. I'm sorry, did that all come out?
Joseph Laycock 56:30 I think that's good. I just want to offer a gentle intervention. People are using the language of like condoms and safe sex to talk about masks. And as a child of the 80s and 90s. This resonates with me a lot. But at the same time, there are about spreading disease in like a real way. It's not condoms, their pants, you wear pants to go outside, you can put a fucking mask on your face to go outside.
Stephen Bradford Long 56:52 That's how you go. So if you if you don't wear a mask, then you should also not wear pants.
Joseph Laycock 57:01 That's got away from us. I feel
Stephen Bradford Long 57:04 away from us. Okay. Well, this has been a lot of fun. And maybe we can do this again. Sometime your book is abusing religion, it will be coming out on the 17th. And for people who want to find you Where can they check out your work?
Joseph Laycock 57:20 Well, I am currently relaunching my website. So that'll be up it is I think Megan p goodwin.net. But the real answer, sadly, always is Twitter. I'm an MP G PhD on Twitter. And honestly, any time from like 10am to 2am You can find me there.
Stephen Bradford Long 57:40 Great. Yeah, I've been following you on Twitter for a while now. You have really really cool stuff. Yeah, so hopefully we can do this again some time. I'm going to read your book and maybe we can have you back on to talk about it. All right. Well, that is it. For this show. The music is by 11 D seven and the jelly rocks from the album's bang in whimper and rad science. You can find them on iTunes Spotify or wherever you listen to music don't forget to check out our other shows on the rock candy Podcast Network Bible bash, bubble and squeak common creatives. eleventy life we have more coming. And as always, this show is written. What am I saying again? Oh, this show is written, edited and produced by me Steven Bradford long and is a production of rock candy media. Also, don't forget to go to the satanic temple.tv and check out their huge library of content, as always hail satan. We'll see you next week.