Podcasts/Sacred Tension-STThreatofTheocracy

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STThreatofTheocracy SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, satanist, fucking, satanic temple, point, tst, understand, gay marriage, called, gay, act, absolutely, marginalized, salem, feel, podcast, speaking, theocratic, expressed, christian SPEAKERS Doug Misicko, Stephen Bradford Long

Stephen Bradford Long 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast this is sacred tension, the podcast about the 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 I just looked by the way at the episode count, I am just shy of 200 episodes. So I have said that opening line 200 fucking times.

Doug Misicko 00:46 So do you hold the weekly or I tried

Stephen Bradford Long 00:49 to do weekly? I tried to do weekly Yeah. Anyway, this is Steven Bradford long. And before we get started with Lucien Greaves, I have to thank my patrons as always, my patrons are my personal lords and saviors and I could not do this show without them. They maintain my debilitating content creation addiction. And believe me, it is absolutely fucking debilitating. It takes up hundreds of hours. One show can take up to four or five hours a week to produce so I need all of the help I can get or else I'll end up on the street under a bridge sucking dicks for loose change. Nothing against that. I just don't want to do that to fund my

Doug Misicko 01:34 Oh, okay. You don't want to I was saying you could still do

Stephen Bradford Long 01:39 this true. I do. I want to maybe just not under a bridge. All right. All right. So for this week, out in the rain. Rain is fine. Rain is fun. All right. So for this week, I have to thank Michael Sam IL, Nick's Ward and f v. Thank you so much. I truly could not do the show without you. And for listeners who are interested, just go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long for $1 a month, or $5 a month. You get extra content every single week including my house of heretics podcast with the former Salvation Army officer turned Christian heretic Timothy McPherson. We talk about various things news, theology, Christianity, Satanism, philosophy, meditation, whatever is on our mind that week very often from our dissonant perspectives. He is a Christian, I am a Satanist. It's always a good time. Patrons also get to listen in and join in on the conversation via the chat every Wednesday morning. It is always fun. All right. So if that interests you go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long. There is also a link in the show notes Lucien Greaves, co founder and spokesperson for the Satanic Temple. Hello, welcome back.

Doug Misicko 02:59 Well, good to be back. Thank you.

Stephen Bradford Long 03:01 Yeah. A lot has happened since we last talked on this show. And would

Doug Misicko 03:07 you like to begin?

Stephen Bradford Long 03:09 Well, I would like to talk some about the arson attack at TST headquarters. Because we did. We did a show on your Patreon. And everyone can go listen to that. And everyone can also give you money so you don't have to suck dicks under a bridge. So that is patreon.com forward slash Lucien Greaves. Is that right?

Doug Misicko 03:35 Correct. Yeah, that said, I also leave my posts publicly available to people to see and hope they'll subscribe if they liked the content. But if you can't pay, you can still can still enjoy the content. If if that's something you like,

Stephen Bradford Long 03:52 you're such a better person than I am.

Doug Misicko 03:55 Well, that's a risk. Yeah, it's worked out so far. I didn't I didn't notice when I went public like that, that it really impacted. Well, that's gonna certainly, I don't know now, because it's been a while. Maybe I would do a lot better if I didn't do that. But, but it's working.

Stephen Bradford Long 04:12 Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So everyone can go listen to that conversation that we had. And now we had that conversation. I think like a day after

Doug Misicko 04:22 it happened. Yeah, it certainly wasn't very long afterwards. Yeah,

Stephen Bradford Long 04:26 it was like a day or two afterwards and so it was still very fresh for me and for you and for everyone for our entire religious community. So for people who aren't aware of what happened go ahead and just kind of tell people the facts on the ground of of what happened that night this was back in June, early June or may Yeah.

Doug Misicko 04:47 So in in a guy I'm terrible with the passage of time and keeping measure of it but yeah, me to some guy in a T shirt that just said God on it in bold lead. Here's just came arching up to the front door of the Satanic Temple headquarters in Salem. One night he was wearing a baby blue backward baseball cap and he threw what I still believe is butane on the front door and on the front deck area which is all made of wood and lit it on fire. I saw it on the security cameras not long after it happened with the fire was already blazing through response time was very quick from the police and the fire department and the entire neighborhood honestly, in we got to put the fire out before it made it inside. And we sustained significant damage to the front of the house had to lose the original doors on that old house in probably have to replace the whole front deck area. We have reopened for business we have kind of an ad hoc front entrance in there now. Looks pretty good as far as ad hoc temporary entrances go match the paint to you know, the paint around it and things like that. Turns out there was water damage from the fire hoses, and I still don't really know what that all amounts to. But that's that's all being worked out. But it's it's it's jarring. You know, we get threats all the time. But it's still jarring when somebody comes up with that kind of Audacity. And this guy, he lit the place on fire and then he kind of did a loop around the block to come back and watch the Blaze from across the street. A lot of people are surprised about that arsonists typically do want to watch the blaze if they're really bitten by the pyromania bug, you know, it's not uncommon that they come to the scene and start watching it. But this dipshit didn't even bother to take off the baseball cap or, you know, put a sweater on over the t shirt or anything. And by the time he had moved to the neighborhood, we had already given still images to the police from the security camera. And they arrested him immediately. He referred to he referred to it himself as a hate crime and expressed his disregard for any human life that might be inside the building, saying that he didn't quite care whether they were injured or killed because he believed that they were Satan worshippers and worthy of being killed. As far as we can tell, he wasn't attached to any larger organization or to a church that was compelling him to do any of these things. He had a lot of different priors, about half a dozen, and some of those including little arson attacks. So there's clearly a deranged guy doesn't seem to be part of a larger movement. But of course, there's a lot of hysteria now and polarization and extreme rhetoric floating around so still puts us in a very insecure environment overall.

Stephen Bradford Long 08:10 Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, it's, it's scary during our conversation on your Patreon about it. I was I was so furious about it, because the Salem headquarters, it is just a building, but it's also kind of a significant religious space for our community. You know, it's, it's, for lack of a better term sacred in that way, and it you know, it there, there's the gorgeous art there. There's the Baphomet statue there, there are people who work there. So you know, it's it's an important space. And there is just this, this kind of deep feeling of rage at a significant religious space being violated in that way. And I was super mad about that, because I feel like it's pretty core to TSGs tenets to never infringe upon the rights and space of others. But we live in a culture where others could do that to us. And so I came into that conversation really mad. And you kind of talked me down from that you you kind of talked me down from that rage, because I went into that conversation, basically saying and I said this at the beginning of that conversation, you know, this is about pluralists against theocrats. And you you said no, this is more complicated. It. This guy is not representative of Christians. This guy is, you know, we don't really know much about him. tells it to talk some more about out there are your thoughts about what is a, what is what is a healthy way to respond to this. And I'm not saying that anger isn't healthy. I mean, anger is completely understandable and reasonable and human and acceptable. And there's it's a feeling there's nothing wrong with it. It's it's a feeling feelings are neutral. But in terms of how, how we collectively respond to something like this, what are your thoughts on on how to respond well, and healthily, especially in a culture that's already so polarized?

Doug Misicko 10:29 Yeah, I think the knee jerk reaction is to try to categorize this guy in especially, you know, when he comes up wearing a god t shirt, it doesn't seem irrational to say that this is what you get from extreme Christians or whatever. But when you look at the background and see that this guy had priors, including, you know, throwing a burning flag on a cop car, and, you know, at that point, when he did that, like two years ago, you could see commentary from people saying, Yeah, fuck the police or whatever. And in I don't in obviously, this guy isn't the the liberal hero that those crowd that that crowd took him for either, you know, so I don't think we should give him the credit of putting deep thought into the justifications he's using to enact whatever anti social behavior he's exhibiting. Right? I mean, there's deeper problems there. And a lot of people use whatever they can to justify these types of things that they want to do. And and I think it's, it's, it's always a mistake to give them the credit of a larger philosophical position that they might not be representative of it all. I think sometimes when we see warring factions out on the streets to, like, when you see poor Portland protests, you know, and you sometimes see an Tifa versus proud boy, militant Nazis or whatever I'm not, I'm not entirely convinced that on either end there, you would have people easily changing sides of the divide, just to be somewhere where they can punch somebody and break windows and cause havoc, you know, and I think it's just a real mistake to give them the protection of a higher moral standing that they probably just don't have, you know, and, and we shouldn't be, I just don't feel like whichever side of the divide we're on, we should be that accommodating to, to our vandals and our criminals and other people who are, you know, maybe just happy to cause destruction and harm and other people's lives.

Stephen Bradford Long 12:43 Right. And if there is an ideology there, maybe it's just a cover for kind of a deeper antisocial impulse or what have you,

Doug Misicko 12:51 right. I mean, I'm not going to pretend we're never going to see that on the satanists side, either. You know, I see dumb comments on social media from people saying, like, well, well, you got to burn down a church and things like that. And it's like, no, that's, it's not the way absolutely not

Stephen Bradford Long 13:08 the way. Well, you know, I was just thinking about this listening to you talk how I have to take annoyingly it's always so annoying to take the higher road, but you know, I don't like it when some lunatic some some lunatic who calls himself a Satanist is suddenly held up as representative of Satanists. Like, that happens. That happens all the time. That happens all the time. I mean, here in North Carolina, there was this guy named kazoo who he was out in Winston Salem, I think, in the Winston Salem area, and he, I mean, he was awful. He was he was absolutely fucking monstrous and did horrible, horrible things, and he called himself a Satanist. And, and every every religion has people like that every religion will will have dangerous, deranged people like that, and I don't like it when Richard fucking Ramirez the Night Stalker is held up as a representative of Satanists, because he called himself as a Satanist or someone like kazoo. And that therefore means that when this happens, when a when someone comes wearing a god t shirt and tries to commit an act of arson, I need to equally I need to I need to adhere to that same principle and, and practice some charity and say maybe maybe this guy has other stuff going on. I don't know what his ideology is just because he's wearing a god t shirt. I don't know where he's coming from. I don't know a thing about him.

Doug Misicko 14:46 Right and his ideology might change day by day, depending on what he feels gives him that kind of carte blanche to act in such a thoughtless way to act upon his Pyro maniacal impulses or whatever are, you know, I was just really touched that the Salem community came together really quickly in our defense and unambiguously, you know, stood by our side and the mayor released a statement, you know, almost immediately condemning the attack. And, you know, that was really gratifying in the real world was very, was very nice about the whole thing. It's, you got to give it a few days and be on social media before you see people denigrating us for, for crying about it. As I was seeing, you know, we haven't really said anything except, you know, to respond to press outreach, and things like that. But all of a sudden, a narrative cohered that showed, once again, how, how some people will just never take us seriously as a religious minority, and just don't really understand what it means to be under threat of death and have people coming to burn your house down to the point where they still think we're getting a laugh out of all of this.

Stephen Bradford Long 16:01 Yeah, no, I mean, the the idea that there's anything ironic about my Satanism, I mean, it's, I mean, I've ranted about that for years now. So I won't rant about it. Now talk some more about the response that you got from the Salem community? Did other religions in Salem react and how did they react? Were like did any Christians and whatnot, how did they react?

Doug Misicko 16:26 I'm like Boston, where if we have an event, you know, Catholics will come out in, in full regalia to protest, you know, Salem Witch is not terribly far off, has a larger Unitarian population, and they never really have a beef with us. I don't know if they reached out. But to be honest, there was a lot of outreach. So I'm sure I missed, you know, certain things. So I don't want to say that other religious groups did not. But you know, no, nobody, nobody in Salem said a bad word. And neighbors came out to express their support, even city council members expressed their support. And, you know, the police are, are actually rather protective of us at this point. You know, we reported to them that I have $100,000 bounty on me, from that group of sovereign citizens, and they've been very vigilant around our property. And, you know, it's just, it's nice when you get that kind of serious response. And like I said, you know, it was within minutes, so that the there was full mobilization to the headquarters after this disaster will drop the match.

Stephen Bradford Long 17:38 How did you find out like, Did you did you, I think you said, during our Patreon conversation, that you just looked at the camera, there's just engulfed in flames.

Doug Misicko 17:48 Well, on my phone, I get alerts, and like, the cameras will detect, like, if a person comes on the property, it distinguishes the shapes, you know, and I'll even tell you that there's a person or activity, it's its activity, it's usually, you know, maybe an animal runs by or light goes on, or something that triggers it. But, you know, the, the, the alert went off on my phone, and there was like, 32nd, to a minute delay to the point where I actually opened it, and then, you know, the camera was fully engulfed in flames at that point. So,

Stephen Bradford Long 18:22 yeah, yeah, that that would that would be super scary. I don't know what I would do in that situation. I mean, other than called the cops, which I guess, is what you did.

Doug Misicko 18:33 And they had already been called, you know, the delay was, was very minimal. And still, at the other end of 911, they were saying we've already got response team on the way.

Stephen Bradford Long 18:45 Yeah, you know, it sounds like the response that that you're practicing to this is a bit of a bit of stoicism and being choosing to not jump to simple narratives, even even in the face of a potentially really dangerous situation. And to not jump to to polarization. And I think that some some people who are new to my podcast and to TST might find that surprising, because I think a lot of people on the outside look at TST as a as a very extreme group that is just pushing and trolling and so on and so forth. And I don't think that's correct. And it sounds like what you are advocating is a more compassionate response to the situation.

Doug Misicko 19:45 To be fair, I was on a different podcast recently that I don't think aired and I expressed my desire to to be Alex Jones till he shuts himself so hey, you know, I have to speak to so I'm

Stephen Bradford Long 20:00 where I am right there with you. I mean, especially right now in in this I especially right now in this climate where it feels like just everything is falling apart, it feels like so much is up in the air and we can move on from the the arson attack, but it Do you know of the cost for repairs? Do you know like how much damage was actually done?

Doug Misicko 20:24 No, I actually need to check in on that and see what insurance is covering and what, you know, a lot of people reached out offering support, and it was hard to tell them what to do, because I had no idea how these things resolve themselves. And we did have an insurance assessor come out. And last I knew, you know, of course, you know, there was the issue of the water damage and things like that. But I think it's I think it's resolved that I'll let you know if if there's more to be developed there, whatever. But I still don't think we've we've talked to contractors about replacing the front wooden deck area, which it's my understanding that we'll have to replace the whole thing because the support beams under it run parallel to the House and across the length of the entire thing. And they were significantly eaten through by the fire and in perhaps damaged by the water or whatever. But we haven't really gotten to that point yet. But we're it's nice that we're open for business, you know, Salem's, rather a tourist town, especially October is the peak season but and when it's not summertime, when it's not the warmer weather, which is a limited period of time. And in Massachusetts, it's it's dead, you know, so to be shut down, you know, if we were shut down through the rest of the summer, that would be catastrophic, but that's not the case.

Stephen Bradford Long 21:56 Good, good. I'm glad to hear that. And I'm just so glad that no one was hurt. And that response came as soon as they did. So about a week after the arson attack, Roe v. Wade was struck down. Right, a week or two after I don't remember if it was a week or two after it was something like you said, Time Time is warping, right. I can't keep track of when anything happened. And you know, I I'm cautious to talk about this because we're we're to says dudes, we don't have uteruses, we don't have any childbearing potential unless something truly, you know, unexpected and miraculous happens.

Doug Misicko 22:42 And I'm what book that I'm really sick of people bitching about that, it's like, you don't understand the dire situation you're in, if you're going to shit on allies like that. And I'm fucking sick of that. At this point. I'm sick of people saying, You're the wrong person to jump in on defensiveness. And we're hearing a lot of that now. And it just really does say to me that there are a lot of people who don't understand clearly the situation we're in. And I felt that at the point where we started getting a lot of criticism for having a First Amendment lawyer who had also who had also represented all right clients and people saying that this was somehow a reflection of us, and somehow this lawyers, clients were, you know, indicative of the nature of TST in some way, rather than indicative of what the job entails when you're a lawyer. And sometimes if you're a criminal lawyer, you defend criminals. And if you're a first amendment lawyer, you know, you are also going to defend, you know, odious speech, and it's about due process. It's about seeing what precedent is set and knowing exactly where the boundaries are. You know, it's these are basic civics lessons that that seemed to have eluded a lot of people. But when people were complaining that we accepted pro bono support from a First Amendment lawyer who had defended outright clients, it just said to me, that they do not take seriously the position that we're in, they do not take us seriously as a minority religious group, and they do not take seriously the diminishment of their own rights, which they can see being taken away in the fact that we're not taken seriously in the courts so that we're treated differently than the majority religion or Christian nationalist claims. If you're starving and somebody offers you food, you don't ask them how they voted before you accept it. And I feel like we were in that situation of the starving client in a pro bono lawyer came forward in I did not ask him how he voted. It was completely new to me when people reached out and said that they felt that it was a bad look or they were bad. optics to that or whatever, but it just when people still go on with these types of things, even seeing Roe versus Wade overturned, it shows me that they just do not appreciate the dire situation we're in and that we are in the midst of a Christian nationalist coup in we have to fight back by any fucking means necessary. And we don't have time to submit, you know, functionaries, which is what a lawyer is to these kinds of purity tests. You know? Like, I don't know, if I would trust a First Amendment lawyer who said they had standards that demanded that, you know, the clients they take also reflect their values in all ways. Like, I think that is that is absolutely the position of the entitled and the, and the comfortable and coddled, they do not. They do not understand this as a war. This is a real battle, you know, and, you know, we're losing, and we're losing, because I think a lot of people have become very comfortable in the position that they can take online, you know, for the most part, this whole idea of of canceling people and everything else, the preponderance of that, you know, leans heavily towards public shaming coming from Left, left wingers, you know, people on more progressive side of politics, and I think their their majority appeal has been mistaken for political capital, when it's just not there. And they don't really understand why somebody isn't coming to their defense when they just go out on the street and wave signs that say, somebody needs to take care of this for us. Whereas the Christian nationalists, they are a minority, you know, the majority of people within the United States agree that abortion should be legal. The majority of people agree that gay marriage is the law, and it should be. And yet, we have Clarence Thomas, looking to overturn that as well, now that we have this radicalized Christian nationalist Supreme Court in place, they are the minority, but they actually work at this, you know, they get up early, they vote, they go to the city council meetings, they run Bill Mills, they put together model legislation, and all we fucking do is cry online. And we don't only cry online against the enemy. When we see that that has no effect on the enemy, we begin to turn on each other and cannibalize one another and kill ourselves and shoot ourselves in the foot and subject everybody to purity tests. And in that way, we fucking lose again and again, and we let this minority totalitarian uprising, get away with what it does when we do that.

Stephen Bradford Long 27:50 I'm so glad that you said all that and I completely agree. And I'm so I'm glad that you expressed your your frustration there. I don't know if you saw this article. If not, I'll send it to you. I've been talking about it for like the past three episodes straight, but it's called the elephant in the zoom. And it's from the intercept by Ryan Grim. And basically, what he's what he points out, is how, at this crucial point in history, this really, really important, crucial moment in history where every month counts Every Day Counts. The nonprofit progressive nonprofit space has been roiled in progressive purity spiral meltdowns to such a degree that they have been demobilized, that that these, you know, big, important nonprofits that that do really important work, they are just completely demobilized at a point when the world needs them the most. And like an example is the Sierra Club, which is one of the like flagship. And I've this is all repeated from my last episode that I just did with Jonathan Roush, about the constitution of knowledge. But, you know, flagship premier nonprofits like the Sierra Club, which has been at the forefront of climate action and does really important on the ground stuff day, we're just put out of commission because they were so busy managing internal progressive meltdowns over things like identity and purity, and who gets to say, what, and who gets to talk about what and so

Doug Misicko 29:49 I know people people talk to us about optics on these things all the time, but I feel like all we can do is press forward and hold to our principles. You know, it's it's painful when you don't yield to ridiculous demands about whatever, whatever sounds good in the moment, but they're usually just power plays. But it has been gratifying to me to see that the Satanic Temple is not unique in that regard. I wasn't really aware of these things at the time were Jack's, suddenly, you know, if people saw the hail satan film, they see that checks, Blackmore was kicked out of TST earlier on, for holding an event without telling us inviting the documentary crew that was doing a documentary about the Satanic Temple without telling us and then doing an event where she claimed that we, you know, some, some undisclosed, we, according to her, not the Satanic Temple, we're going to kidnap politicians and kill the president. And we didn't need that on us, you know, we don't need somebody speaking for us in that regard and saying that kind of thing. So she had to go, and we let her leave, you know, without making any public pronouncements that we had gotten rid of her. So she took that opportunity a couple months later to announce that she had left due to philosophical differences. And she claimed that those philosophical differences were us not respecting diversity and other such things that she had never brought up to us before and completely made up. And it was just meant to appeal, you know, it was sounded a lot better than I was kicked out for being irresponsible. And, you know, she turned it into I took the higher moral ground. But we're so polarized at this point, where people are afraid to even point out a lie like that, when the Hail Satan came out, it showed what actually happened, that she was thrown out, and she was thrown out for her own irresponsibility. And what's interesting is, you know, around her disclosure that she left, you know, sprung up this conspiracy theory of the Satanic Temple, actually being crypto fascist and things like that. And none of the people who latched on to that watched the documentary From what I saw, and said, Oh, it turns out, she lied, you know, they stick to the narrative one way or the other. And that's what happens when you become part of this polarized environment, it becomes even the lies that something that substantiate the right narrative, are not allowed to be called out as allies. And that's when you're in a really dangerous situation, you see people taking full advantage of that they take full advantage of that polarization being able to take any petty complaint they have, and conflating it into something that never was to begin with, making up claims that people aren't allowed to question, you know, because, because then you're just in denial over the, over the systemic oppression, that's at play here, whatever. To the point, like I said, like, you have to accept as valid a lie one way or the other. And, you know, again, the Satanic Temple is not at all unique to this. I've spoken to other heads of nonprofits and Oregon in different organizations. And a lot of them are not willing to go on the record. They're there. They're still terrified of the backlash, but we're talking, you know, organizations, you'd recognize the names of you know, that I've spoken to people who've left in in disappointment and despair, because the exact same things happen with them, somebody, some narcissist comes in, for a power play. And they know they don't have to do necessarily any work or be productive in any way have any vision, other than to elevate themselves. And they don't even have to belong to a marginalized identity group, you know, so long as they claim they're speaking for them, which they often do, you know, the wearer,

Stephen Bradford Long 34:03 beware the person who who speaks on behalf of entire fucking people groups, nothing annoys me more. Speaking as a gay person, nothing annoys me more than every pride month now, every year this happens, where organizations and corporations and content creators and celebrities and all of these different people will be like the LGBTQ community is x or believes X or needs x and I fucking hate that

Doug Misicko 34:44 entity where no individual has agency

Stephen Bradford Long 34:47 and we are we hardly agree with each other whenever I hear the term gay community I'm like, what gay community there are gay communities. But there is no single gives me an

Doug Misicko 34:58 excuse to me at first because When we first started, one of the first things we we got press about was the pink mass. And that was in defense of gay rights. And this was before gay marriage was affirmed by the Supreme Court. And we get those outreach, that outreach from people who said, you know, as a gay person, I really resent you trying to speak for me and I'm in my, my position was what we're not we're speaking for Satanists. Exactly. It's like, in I've lost my tolerance for it. I felt like I handled these things more delicately before, but we're not we're past that point now. So when people will say to me that I can't understand what it means because I'm a white heterosexual man. And I can't understand what it means to be part of a marginalized community. At this point, I have to say, Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? How many people do you know that get the de Lucia death threats that I get? How many people do you know that have $100,000 bounty on their fucking head? Because of his religious identity? How many people do you know have people coming to his fucking house, trying to light it on fire and kill him? You know, people talk about killing me all the fucking time for my religious identity. Who are you to tell me that I don't know what it's like to be fucking marginalized. And you can make the argument about historical marginalization. But I don't really think it's appropriate to play these games of who's more or less marginalized, there's just no place for it, we should be trying to build a world in which nobody has to deal with these types of things. You know, you can say I had a choice to identify as a Satanist. But it's like, you want to live in that world to where I'm coerced to make a choice. To not identify the way I feel. What kind of downward spiral is that? At, I feel with every essence of my being that I'm a Satanist. And it's essential that I identify as such, and for people to be that blase about it, and give me that treatment where it's like, well, you chose this life, I just have to say, Fuck you.

Stephen Bradford Long 37:08 Also what you know what you were just saying, They're one of the things that does worry me about a lot of these about a lot of these progressive meltdowns, it really devalues the power of empathy, and human connection, human imagination. human progress is based on this superpower that we have all literature, all film, all poetry, all art, is based on this superpower that we have to be able to understand, even if we haven't experienced it, even if we have never, even if we have never walked in another person's shoes, even if we have never had a uterus even if we've never been trans even if we've never been white or black or gay or straight or what have you. We we have as the human species, this superpower called empathy. Because we have these mirror neurons, it's it's how nature built us. I actually

Doug Misicko 38:15 call it mind reading what's in a psychic sense, but in being able to divine what other people are thinking based upon their emotional output or physiological responses, that type of thing.

Stephen Bradford Long 38:28 And, and I mean, we, we can understand, we maybe not perfectly maybe not clearly, but we can understand otherwise, there'd be no use and reading about the Holocaust. Otherwise, there would be no use in reading about the horrors of slavery studying the horrors of slavery, we there would there would be no purpose to literature if we didn't have that capacity for empathy. And I do sometimes worry. That what that when, when people say you don't share this specific identity marker, therefore, you can't understand i i, there's

Doug Misicko 39:09 an irony in that because it assumes they understand what you have gone through and what you I mean, that's what I feel like I deal with when people say well, you don't know what it's like to be part of marginalized community and I think what really do you know what it means to be a Satanist? Especially one in my position, right? And if I can't know what it's like to be in anybody else's shoes, what makes you think you know exactly what my day to day is like, dealing with this shit? I mean, how much do you think you can handle like any listener? Like how do you think you would bear the weight of this kind of I mean, I feel like I'm I'm living the life of somebody in in witness relocation program. You know, I hold everything very close to my chest and people trying to Doc's, every every fun fact they can dig up about me 100% of the time. and fully knowing that people are very invested in killing me as well, you know, and it's certainly not just me by any stretch of the imagination, you know, we had, our Idaho congregation recently tried to get involved with Idaho pride. And they eventually pulled out due to all the threats against them, a local conservative rag, trying to Doc's, one of the one of the congregation heads to make things more dangerous. And eventually, at that same event, the after TST had pulled out but TST probably probably inspired this group to show up this group, Patriot front came armed and got nabbed and arrested before they could cause violence, but apparently, their, their plan was to, was to disrupt the event in in some violent fashion. And given all the publicity surrounding the prospective presence of the Satanic Temple, it seemed like the focus was was largely on that. So you know, it's something a lot of the active membership deal with, you know, and in some ways, I have it better because I'm in Massachusetts, because I'm in a liberal place, because I'm considered a good neighbor. And in Salem, that in business owner that that people, people respect over here, you know, but we have congregations and rural Red State areas where people are highly offended by their presence and will do anything to keep them from engaging in any type of activities, public or private, so long as it's happening anywhere in their proximity, and that hangs over everybody's head, we are a marginalized, minority religious identity. And it would be hard to argue anything different. I don't know, how we don't fit that definition.

Stephen Bradford Long 42:01 No, absolutely. And I just want to always run in the, in the direction of empathy. So whenever anyone says you can't understand, because x because I'm white, because I'm male, because I'm whatever

Doug Misicko 42:18 that you can, you can try. Exactly exact. Nobody should should on you for trying exactly back to your original point, when you were saying, you know, a couple of non uterus, people talking about pregnancy. It's like, I'm not really feeling that anymore. I used to apologize for that. I used to apologize for that when I would debate politicians on abortion rights and things like that. I would say like I happened to be the guy here you know, that said, Sure, that's taking on this this topic. But now I just find it I just honestly I just find it so inappropriate. Now I find it to be it's it's to me, it just It honestly feels complacent, entitled to feel like you can pick and choose your allies to that degree of filtering, you know that you want the perfect picture of whatever, you know, anytime something is addressed, you know, we need all hands on deck at this point. And I'm one of those people. Yeah,

Stephen Bradford Long 43:22 me too. And, you know, I'm so glad that you interjected when you did. And the sentence that I was going to finish is the sentence that I was going to finish there was you know, even though we don't have uteruses, we aren't of childbearing potential. And I hesitate to talk about it because of that. However, we this is this is bigger, and this affects everyone. The decline of Roe v Wade the reversal the death of Roe v Wade affects every single person regardless of their identity Not least because it takes two to tango Not least because men males are involved in the act of procreation you know, that there is a connection there but also because this affects privacy this affects is sexual freedom. This this, this affects autonomy, this could affect gay marriage, right? This is, this is big, there's never nothing is ever an island. You know, to quote John Donne, no man is an island and tire of himself every scene, this affects all of us. And I do want to I, you know, I'm the kind of, you know, hand wringing milk toast annoying progressive, who does care about things like you know, the language I use and people having adequate voice, you know, you know, not not speaking on behalf of others and all that kind of stuff. You know, I like I don't want to dominate a space that you that where where it is women who are primarily affected. And I don't want to, you know, be the mansplaining male like that, that matters. That's important. It but it, it does affect all of us and you brought up gay marriage in your thing. So I'm gay. And I guess one of the questions that I wanted to I don't know first respond to that if you have any thoughts about that before I go on to gay marriage,

Doug Misicko 45:25 I was just thinking you know that tired old? Whatever you would call it that that little digression where are they? They're they like to say, you know, first they came for the gays in

Stephen Bradford Long 45:37 Oh, first it wasn't a yes or no first thing.

Doug Misicko 45:42 And then they came for the Jews and I said nothing because I'm not Jewish. And then by the time they came for me, there was nobody, nobody to defend me or whatever. I think that should be altered slightly to say like, first they came from the gays but I'm not gay. So I couldn't say anything on there. You know, yes. You know, Roe v. Wade, and I don't have a uterus, so I couldn't say anything about that. And then, you know, by the time they came for me, what could I fucking say?

Stephen Bradford Long 46:09 Right? Well, and here's the thing about that I'm, I am, to my core, and enlightenment, liberal. And I don't mean liberal in the political sense. I mean, liberal in the annoying philosophical, classical sense, in that, I believe that the two most fundamental identities, the two most important identities, is the individual, and our universal shared humanity. Those are the two most fundamental and important identities. And then there's that whole spectrum in the middle of nationality, religion, male, female, trans, gay, straight, person of color, add all of that stuff, all of that, all of this stuff in the middle. But at the end of the day, our rights and our ability to cohere as a community and as a society, and as a culture and as a civilization rely on acknowledging those two polarities, as the most fundamental and most important features of what it means to be human. We are an individual, first and foremost, who are afforded individual rights. And we are, we have a shared human experience, which means that no matter how we look, or how we talk, or whatever, there's something fundamentally same, there's something fundamentally similar that allows for empathy across the board. Right. And one thing that does worry me about the emphasis on those interstitial identities, is what you just talked about is what you just said, is it it silences us in a way that that keeps people from from being able to vouch for one another. And yes, you know, people always need to be careful about how they say things and people need to be careful to not speak over others. All of that still holds. But I really like how you reframed that, you know, they came for Roe v Wade, but I didn't say anything because I didn't have a uterus. i They came for the gays but I didn't say anything because I wasn't gay. I fucking love

Doug Misicko 48:27 that it doesn't stop there. And I think I'm also fed up with people still acting like the things that we have done, have been pranks, like we tolerated the narrative for a long time that it all started as a prank and then stuff got serious and they act like still to this day, the Baphomet monument campaign was some kind of prank. And it's not at this point, you should see these are all intertwined. You know, we have a lot of people who still hold up. And God We Trust being on the currency as giving exclusive license to the Christian viewpoint when it comes to legislating people's morals, lifestyle, censoring material or whatever else. And you know, that a 10 commandments monument standing exclusively unopposed without any pluralistic exercise of equal access, is also going to be utilized as evidence that we are a Christian nation. This is our heritage and history. And I think that's what they were really trying to express with those 10 commandments bills, is that justification that this is our heritage in history, and this is who we are. And that emboldened them further to make their arguments to overturn Roe v. Wade, which they have done now. Clarence Thomas was very clear in his concurrence in Dobbs, overturning Roe v. Wade, that he wants to revisit questions of gay marriage and gender identity and other types of things that the theocrats see is rolling back from Some a deal of time where things were so much better somehow, you know, back to the authoritarian rule of. Well, I mean, it's not even going back. You know, they're they're talking about a fictitious past that that never was before but trying to roll us back to a new dark age. And it's not, it's not going to stop. And with inflation, we really stand a solid chance of having a Republican sweep and the next rounds of election, and then you're going to see the theocratic coup made manifest very real. You're going to see, I think, I think we're potentially right now within four to five years of anti blasphemy laws that are going to be framed as, you know, anti anti religious hate speech laws. And, you know, there's a population on the left that is trying desperately to enable that is well, I was very confused during the Trump administration, when we saw so much anti free speech rhetoric from the left, because it showed to me a kind of delusional sense of process. And who were you appealing to at that point? You know, the Trump administration was in office, who do you want regulating speech right now? How do you think that's going to turn out there, this just seems to be just very little sense of how these things can turn around and bite you in the ass. And I am not going to be happy to say I told you so when we're dealing with those anti blasphemy laws, I'm not going to like it one bit.

Stephen Bradford Long 51:39 You know, I was just talking about this with Jonathan Roush on last week's show. He's this legendary gay activist and journalist and author of the constitution of knowledge, honestly, it's one of it hasn't come out yet as of this recording, but it will by the time this this recording drops. And it's one of my, I think, favorite interviews that I've ever done in all the five years of this show. But he said in that conversation, that the thing that breaks his heart the most is the minority left turn against the principle of free speech. Because without free speech, the left is nothing and minorities are nothing, we have nothing. And I have a very vested interest as a gay satanist to protect free speech, and it is like you I mean, I was just absolutely fucking, you know, mind blown, you know, just just blown away by this skepticism of free speech as somehow right wing and authoritarian and capitalist and that it only enables the powerful and so on and so forth.

Doug Misicko 52:57 Frederick Douglass explicitly disagreed with that position. Yeah, so you're saying I feel like he had a bit worse than, than any of us. And so

Stephen Bradford Long 53:05 did John Lewis and the early civil rights movement, like those

Doug Misicko 53:09 are king Dr. Martin Luther King was was also very explicitly a free speech advocate. So it was Gandhi. Like, I think it shows a complete ignorance of history to act like I mean, up into, you know, the 1960s the rights revolution, the free speech movement in Berkeley was very much a hippie left wing thing you know, this development of free speech is being seen as a right wing value is not only entirely incorrect because we see the hypocrisy on the right whenever they see material they don't like it, but it's it's also yes is heartbreaking to see the left kind of fall for it. And I honestly think it's going to bite them in the ass and we're going to see a manifestation of anti blasphemy laws if the Republican sweep again, you know, Trump's numbers are are going down, but DeSantis is are going up and you know, he might, you might be smarter than Trump, which is terrible, but he's He's very much a theocratic and I could see things going really sour, really fast. And we need to we need to calibrate and figure out what what our values are.

Stephen Bradford Long 54:21 Well, and you know, that's, that's what I've always been so afraid of the Most Merciful thing about Trump was that he was so fucking stupid. Right? Right. The The best thing about Trump is that he he, he was basically a toddler where you know, toddlers are grandiose, despotic sociopaths, but they're so fucking stupid and tiny that they can't actually do any damage. So, so Trump was like a toddler who was I actually, I don't actually I think that isn't giving him enough credit. I think he's, he is smarter than I'm painting here. But he wasn't smart enough and he wasn't An effective at at actually succeeding in, in creating a theocratic rule. Well, no, that's not true either because he put in place the Supreme Court. But all that said, the really scary thing about Trump is that he laid the groundwork for someone smarter than him to come along. He, he, it's like he has culturally laid the groundwork for for a theocratic, who has the brains to actually get something done?

Doug Misicko 55:29 Yeah, that's what I've been saying. I keep thinking that as this plays out, everybody thinks we've seen the worst of it. And I still have that fear that people don't understand that Dobbs is not the end, it's just the beginning of things, potentially a whole lot worse. And like I said, you know, inflation being what it is traditionally, does not favor an incumbent at all. And if the Democrats are stupid enough to run Biden, again, I think it's all that much worse, because I think really, the only way the Democrats can do well, in this kind of environment of inflation, in with an aged out president, like the one we have, is to run somebody else, you know, in what would be Biden second term, but the Democrat Party is really pretty shitty overall, I think. I mean, in a rational world, I think they would be our worst option. Right. But they're orders of magnitude better than the Republican Party. I don't, I don't buy that bullshit for a minute that, you know, they're on equal, equal standing at all, you know, we're we're fighting for our lives against the Republicans, you know, we're we're fighting for some kind of some kind of action and competence from the, from the Democrats, you know, which is, which is far better than dealing with the insults to our democracy that we've had from the Republican Party. But I would very much like to see, you know, a third party or fourth party, that complete dissolution of the Republican Party, but I think the two party system has been entirely debunked in the circumstances, when you have all the deliberation falling along party lines, you know, I think the introduction of more parties is absolutely necessary to completely necessitate, negotiation. And in crosstalk, you know, in with the two party system as it is now, we're not, we're not going to see that I don't think ever again.

Stephen Bradford Long 57:29 Yeah, everyone go read the Constitution of knowledge, where Jonathan Roush talks about systems of compromise that enable genuine progressive forward movement, and that don't just enable compromise, but require hard disagreement. And somehow finding in the middle, meeting in the middle and creating a system that enables that that's what we need is a system that actually enables, you know, that kind of forward movement and, and away from theocracy, I'm going to be grifting for Jonathan Roush his book, by the way, for the rest of time on this podcast. So all of you can just get used to it. It's so you might as well just get it over with and go ahead and read it. I wanted to bring up gay marriage. I don't know enough about law. I meant to ask, you know, I because of tst. I have, you know, lawyer friends,

Doug Misicko 58:27 is Stephen. Yes, yes. 1000 times. Yes.

Stephen Bradford Long 58:30 How, how concerned should we be about the decline of gay marriage, or the reversal of gay marriage? How? Because they're there again, they're already people saying no, we shouldn't be worried. This is fine. And I'm looking, I'm looking at like, the thing that Clarence Thomas wrote the, the opinion that he wrote, and I'm like, I'm not understanding why we shouldn't be concerned.

Doug Misicko 58:53 I don't understand why somebody wouldn't be concerned either. I am very concerned and that they are emboldened and you know, Clarence Thomas knew that there was going to be outrage over over Dobbs over the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and took that as an opportunity to signal what's coming next and there's absolutely no reason to not take him seriously on that. If somebody thinks that after overturning Roe v Wade, that route questioning or overturning the right to gay marriage is still somehow off the table. You're insane. You're delusional you you're not accepting the world that we're in right now. You're not You're you're blind to what's happening around you. So what's the point? I feel like I'm in this Twilight Zone world where you know, I'm surrounded by people who just don't get it just don't get that this is happening. And I feel like we saw it coming a long ways away. I think other people feel like we just happen to be here when shit got serious and we've laughed our way to this point the whole time. But I feel like we saw it 10 years ago, when we started doing what we were doing. And it was that serious and vital for us back then, we saw the writing on the wall. And now this is where it's turned out. And I used to I used to talk about this, you know, earlier on with the Satanic Temple, and people kind of brushed it off is kind of a bit a bit hysterical and a bit radical, you know, and now here we are,

Stephen Bradford Long 1:00:25 ya know, I've been talking about it forever on the podcast, as well. And yeah, so what do we do? What's the what's the path forward? Because we're in this for the long haul? So what are strategies moving forward to as individuals and collectively?

Doug Misicko 1:00:45 Well, we have to stop with that bullshit, where, you know, we keep saying, you can't fix the system from within the system, or you can't change the system from within the system. And, you know, I keep telling people at this point, like, that's what we just fucking saw. We saw Yes, theocratic coup from the wing, within within the system and completely undermine entrenched constitutional democratic norms to their liking. And we need to play the long game like they do. You know, if you're not putting, if you're not mobilizing the armed insurrection against the right right now, and you're just hashtagging it or you're going out and waving a sign, you're essentially not doing anything, you're using the politics of shame against the shameless, you know, and that's what causes, I think, the left to turn against itself, they see that the strongest weapon they have that type of shame doesn't actually work against their opposition, you know, so they have to, they have to attack people who, who are ashamed by by being being, you know, labeled in some some way that calls them all right, or whatever else. But we really need to start focusing on on what the opposition is actually doing, rather than niggling about, you know, what we're doing with each other, or, you know, whether somebody made a made a careless Twitter post, you know, 10 years ago or something like that. There just isn't the time for that right now, there just isn't the room for that kind of thing right now, you know, there just is no place for those purity politics. And we need to be willing to give people the room to change their point of view to come around to our way of thinking, get on the right side and work with us. You know, it doesn't matter if they tick all the boxes of fulfilling all the requirements for, you know, being in some part of some perfect picture of, you know, a variety of marginalized identities or whatever. We need everybody we can get in, we need to start doing those tedious things like going to the city council meetings, going to the school board meetings, and opposing those theocrats, these theocrats had been doing that at the local level for generations. Now, you know, well, more and more people on the left, if just disregarded these kinds of politics and felt comfortable in the majority position they're in. And like I said earlier, you know, we've seen that being in the majority doesn't really help us anymore. You know, they've been installing people in politics, they've been putting judges in place. And it's going to take a long time, if we can fix this at all, you know, if we can get back to a point where there's, like deliberation and democracy is, is respected enough that we can count on somebody within the system to use the system to help save the system, you know, we need to be there to do that. And I think a democratic system is still the best system to do that. It's like science, you know, it's supposed to be a self correcting system, it's supposed to be open to deliberation, it's supposed to be amenable to conflict, so that we can resolve those conflicts. And it might not be a perfect system, but it seems to work a whole lot better than any of the alternatives that have been presented so far. And we need to fight to defend that we need to fight to defend that now, you know, and it needs to start happening immediately. And people really need to get engaged. And people just really don't seem to have tolerance for the long game like that. It but if they don't, we're going to lose and we're going to keep losing and it's going to get a whole lot worse. And it's still going to get worse before it gets better. You know, but if it's ever going to get better at all, we need to take this shit seriously now. Yeah,

Stephen Bradford Long 1:04:53 and you know, the right falls into fucking line with their goals. And so we just can't afford it. too,

Doug Misicko 1:05:00 they get up early, they vote the Christian nationalists don't care if you're Mormon, or if you're African, they're Protestant and things like they they set that shit aside for now. And they're making the most horrific gains that we could possibly imagine because of it.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:05:18 Yeah. And I think it's worth dwelling. By the way, on that point, you just made Catholics and Protestants being able to put aside their differences for political cause. These that is like a conflict. 600 years, it that goes back, literally centuries, and has been violent and bloody, and there's still a lot of animosity between Catholics and Protestants, they're able to put that shit aside. And if they're able to do it, then Fucking hell, you know, socialists and Social Democrats and liberals are able to do it. Right, I have

Doug Misicko 1:05:57 zero excuse. Things are so bad right now I have a friend who was attending a class at at Harvard, where Bernie Sanders was a guest speaker. And people were decrying him as a fascist, because he didn't support defund the police. And honestly, you're not going to get anywhere with that kind of attitude when, when you can't even even express skepticism towards a tactic as being the best way to reach a common goal. Yeah, then it then you there's there's no hope. So people really need to get get past that shit.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:06:33 I mean, it also reminds me, that reminds me when people were when Twitter just lit up with controversy because Bernie Sanders and I was a Bernie guy. I fucking love Bernie. But when the internet just lit up with controversy, because Bernie Sanders had the gall to appear on Joe Rogan's podcast. And it's like, how dare he? How dare he associate with someone like Joe Rogan? And I'm just sitting here like, do you want to win or not? If you want to win, you have to get votes, the way you get votes, is by appealing to a broad audience. No one has a broader audience on the internet in podcast land than Joe Rogan, like, get with the fucking program? Do you want to win? Or do you want to to be good? Or do you want to, to, you know, be better than Joe Rogan?

Doug Misicko 1:07:28 Or your yield, man or your primary candidate and take your ball and go home and allow it to be the theocrats? If you don't get that? You know, like, right? I mean, we're just in too desperate, as I understand the frustration of having to pick the lesser of two evils, but the lesser evil is much less of an evil. And of course, when I speak about political candidates and stuff like that, I'm not speaking on behalf of the organization, the organization, you know, as a member, you can vote however way you want, just because I don't understand how it might fit in with this, this philosophy in any way whatsoever and find it completely out of line. You know, the fact of the matter is, we are IRS recognized and I can't, as a spokesperson for the organization endorse, yeah, to actually because I've used in one way or the other. So I do need to specify in that regard, like, you know, yeah, we want to vote for it. My personal opinions on this are, are completely personal.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:08:30 Yeah, I'm glad you bring that up, because I have to specify that too, because I'm a minister. So I am not in any way telling people how to vote. I am I am. This is my individual. My individual thoughts. Did everything Lucien just said, so for? I think a lot of Satanists are feeling a bit frightened for their safety, you know, after the arson attempt, and now with this very aggressive assault on bodily autonomy. So what advice do you have for Satanists to to go about their lives and maybe a safe way so that they can feel secure?

Doug Misicko 1:09:15 Yeah, I mean, to be clear, I would advise safety and you're not going to hear me trying to downplay it. I'm not going to offer any words of comfort here, take it seriously. There are people who want to hurt us, and there are people who are going to start acting on these things. And people are feeling more and more emboldened. And, you know, the Supreme Court is doing everything it can to widen the rift between the polarized opposites on the culture war while arming everybody at the same time. And I do think things are going to get ugly, and I can't really tell people how to respond to their own personal circumstances, but I wouldn't take any risks. With that said, the more of us there are openly identifying, the better off we are in general. But if there's any fear you have, you know, you keep it out of your workplace, keep it out of your local community to the best you can use the pseudonyms I know people always shit on us and act like there's something nefarious about the use of pseudonyms, fuck them, use a pseudonym, it's very obvious why we do. You know, and if you're not me, you know, you probably do have the liberty of not engaging in real time and putting your face on news broadcasts and things like that I never really did understand are narcissists, who were very desperate to get in front of the cameras, I did, they usually don't have good outcomes in the organization anyways. But they clearly don't understand the situation as it stands. So you know, maintain your anonymity the best you can. But, you know, now's not the time to be inactive, either, you know, and there are a lot of things you can do to ensure your security of your data, and your Safety Online from being doxed and other such things. And I believe, you know, I was going to work on a project with somebody in ministry to put together some guidelines for the rest of ministry to maybe convey to other people as to how they can conduct their online affairs in such a way that reveals the least about you and makes you less trackable by the public at large. And that's important.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:11:37 Absolutely, yeah, use a VPN. Let's just start there, you know, start using a VPN. And, yeah, I think that's good advice. And I do want to have more conversations about how to be safe, and how to protect your privacy and how to protect your data and all of that. So you can look forward to more conversations like that, where I will have some experts on to talk about that. So that that will be forthcoming. This is a great conversation. Is there anything else that that you think is important to add? Before we wrap up?

Doug Misicko 1:12:12 Now, you know, I don't think much about stuff. So just kind of just kind of taking things as they come. Very good in responding to them in real time, as we as we chat here, that it's you know, you can always reach out for follow up or, or whatever. I'm always available.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:12:31 Yeah, absolutely. So, dear listeners, if you have any follow up questions. If you have any thoughts that you would like to share, please let me know in the discord server or in the comments for this post on my website, Steven Bradford long.com. And yeah, and Lucien will be back. He he's on every couple of months or so.

Doug Misicko 1:12:53 All right, and it's my pleasure to come on.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:12:56 I'm so glad. I'm so glad that you enjoy these appearances and that it isn't a chore.

Doug Misicko 1:13:01 No, I'm, I'm all for it. It's about as social as I get anymore.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:13:06 Oh, no, I'm so sorry. That Okay, well, on that very,

Doug Misicko 1:13:12 one thing I should mention is we are having an in person movie night on August 3 in Salem, so be on the lookout for tickets going on sale for that.

Stephen Bradford Long 1:13:25 Absolutely. That sounds great. All right. Well, I think that is it for this show. The music is called Wild by eleventy seven. You can find it on Apple Music Spotify, or wherever you listen to music This show is written, produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and it is a production of rock candy recordings. As always Hail Satan. And thanks for listening