Distractions of the devil

15 Feb

Scott Poole, a historian at the  College of Charleston, is having a devil of a time, so to speak:

Satan has had an awfully good 2014.

He might get a statue on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Actually, he probably won’t, but the New York-based Satanic Temple has proposed to have the goat-headed image of Baphomet built so that it can be seen by all visitors to the state’s seat of government. And they also want people to be able to sit in his lap for meditation, and presumably to give him the list of toys they want for the next high unholy day.

In an op-ed piece at Christian Century, Poole discusses recent trends in imaging the devil. The imaging, he suggests, masks more serious things:

Satan’s no joke. But our culture turns to him for language of evil because he’s much more fun than real-world social problems. Who wouldn’t want to talk about the Great Big Bad, cape swirling behind him, instead of about growing income inequality? America’s complex class system, which seems to become more rigid all the time, seems awfully taxing to the mind and moral capacities when we can read about Lucifer in all his lurid majesty instead.

You can read Poole’s entire piece at Distractions of the devil: Satan in Western history and today | The Christian Century.

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