In the wake of the “Unite the Right” Nazi/Klan rally in Virginia, many Christians posted claims that such hatred could only come from Satan or “satanic people”, not from Christ or “true Christians”. In doing so, they flatly deny their own accountability for the culture that led to this tragic moment. As both TST and CoS quickly pointed out in response, the KKK and most similar racist groups have always had a fervently Christian foundation from their very beginnings.
It goes deeper than just the question of whether specific modern racists claim a specific religion, because the founders of every part of the colonized United States built this nation on slave labor and slave economy; and most of them proudly proclaimed that they did so in the name of the Christian God. Certainly you can point to some free thinkers that also owned slaves, and you can point to countless non-Christian cultures that endorsed slavery, but neither of those absolves Christians from their historic complicity in this large-scale crime against humanity.
Note that this crime continues unabated in not just outbursts like this rally, but less visibly in the prison industrial complex every day throughout the country, and in the fact that ideological racists have infiltrated and saturated police departments and law enforcement agencies at every level. Where is their accountability for the ugly state of our society?
Considering that American culture has both Christianity and racism thoroughly and ubiquitously embedded within it, from holidays to swear words to monuments, any pious person claiming that racist abuses must come from Satan instead of Christ has utterly abdicated anything approaching reality. Sure, once upon a time “Jesus” might have said some pleasant things about loving your neighbors, but the militarized empire of Christianity abandoned those niceties many centuries ago.
Modern Christians must take ownership of the actions of their parents and grandparents, and the ways those actions continue to injure people today, instead of pretending that a couple of quotes from their big story book releases them from accountability. They plead that “true followers of Christ would never teach hatred”; read here about the “no true Scotsman” fallacy, which applies thickly to this bit of hypocrisy.
Thus we come to the question of Satan. Some religionists mean to accuse a literal conscious entity outside mankind, an evil Anti-God pulling the strings of hapless human puppets who would otherwise not behave so badly. Naturally we laugh at such a sad fantasy excuse.
Others use the word satanic to mean something about our worse natures, our moral failings, our addictions and fears, which they pin on an abstract evil tendency within us. They claim those bad qualities come from turning away from Jesus, or from the most idealized parts of their religious teachings. To the extent that those ideals could lead people to treat each other more kindly, we would not actually disagree.
However in actual reality we have seen an endless parade of people cheating and tormenting others, all week long, and then showing up for church on Sunday with a pious smile and a righteous feeling in their hearts. Forever this culture brandishes the nominal ideals of their religion as a ward against taking any personal accountability for the way they fail those ideals in everyday life — rather like holding up a crucifix to fend off a vampire, when the vampire lives inside their own hearts.
They also use labels like Satan, satanic, devils, and demons to invalidate anyone who disagrees with them. Social media today absolutely drips with posts calling Democrats “demon crats” or “demonic rats”. They say “liberals” have sold their souls, or that demons have possessed them, or that Satan has literally incarnated himself as either Obama or Clinton. In every case these statements have just a single purpose: to label the opposing side as actually inhuman, subhuman, unworthy of consideration as a fellow person.
The whole “evil” aspect of the devil label is just gravy, a bonus feature, much less important than dehumanizing the other side in order to avoid accountability for harm to their lives. Military propagandists have often used the same tactic in wartime, painting the enemy as an inhuman devilish creature with features very different from our own. This really does make it easier to kill the enemy, as it blocks feelings of compassion for them. Of course it means not having to listen to their arguments for reason, empathy, or equality.
To even begin to approach actual healing we must hold ourselves, our history, and each other accountable for our words and actions. This does not mean shaming anyone, or feeling guilty. Guilt only makes us resentful and fearful, which causes us to put up walls and lash out irrationally. That is precisely why so many people hate “PC” or “SJW” scolding, and act out negatively in reaction to it. Instead, accountability means looking clearly and undefensively at how our actions impact the lives of other people, listening to those other people tell us what they need, and choosing to drop behaviors that harm them.
Accountability also means actions, not words. We can tweet and post all day long about our “woke” idealization of ourselves, but we need to convert these dreams into purposeful reality. We use the name Demonkind to specifically refer to our conscious choice to take that action. We make our lives better by owning our errors and making dramatic improvements to the way we present ourselves and relate to each other. We don’t get defensive, we get Demonic.