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The conservative case against satanic altars
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The conservative case against satanic altars

Neither constitutional conservatism nor Christianity requires the toleration of a satanic altar. The fact that so many leaders would entertain the idea speaks to how vulnerable the right is to legalism.

Every society organizes itself around an idea of the sacred. This may sound silly to contemporary ears, but it continues to be true even if modern people have convinced themselves they are too advanced to indulge in such primitive notions.

Statues are monuments designed to inspire reverence, and the kind of statues that a civilization erects, tolerates, or destroys tells you a lot about the character and values of the people. Leftists are perfectly aware of this, which is why they have made the destruction and replacement of statues a central part of their cultural revolution.

Activists started with statues of Confederate generals to test the waters, and it worked. Police largely stood by for the destruction, and many conservative commentators even ran rhetorical cover for the iconoclasm by claiming that Confederate statues belong in museums or private collections, not on public display.

A nation is defined by what it holds sacred, and nothing is a better indicator of what a nation holds sacred than its statues.

Progressive mobs moved predictably to statues of slaveholders, then to anyone remotely connected to slavery, then eventually dropped any pretense and simply started removing everyone from Founding Fathers to Abraham Lincoln. Progressives may mock the notion of the sacred, but they certainly understand the necessity of destroying it.

Nothing exemplifies Christmas in modern America quite like a satanic altar being displayed inside the Iowa Capitol. The enemies of tradition never miss an opportunity to desecrate public spaces, so the local Satanic Temple decided to erect a statue of Baphomet in the capital by exploiting the notion of religious expression.

Predictably, Republican politicians behaved like mewling cowards, refusing to remove the statue. Filled with disgust at the cravenness of elected leaders, former U.S. Navy aviator Michael Cassidy decided to act, beheading the blasphemous statue and leaving the display in ruins.

Religious liberty rightly understood

One would expect that support for the measures taken by Cassidy would fall along partisan lines, but instead, many conservative leaders decided to take the opportunity to lecture Cassidy and other Christians about the First Amendment and the rule of law. Iowa state Rep. Jon Dunwell (R) even made a post on X praising the pluralism and tolerance that made the satanic display possible while warning against the real danger in the United States: Christian nationalism.

It is astonishing and more than a little bit depressing how reliably conservative leaders will adopt the progressive distortion of founding principles and promote it as their own.

Any civilization must prefer its own culture and history to survive, and the United States has been a protestant Christian nation since its inception. That does not mean that some of the other great religions could not be practiced, but Christianity was always given a place of public primacy.

Satanism is not a long-standing faith tradition seeking to commune with the holy. It is a bunch of Reddit atheists being tricked into worshipping evil because they think they are too clever to be fooled by spiritual claptrap.

Religious liberty exists to protect a sincere pursuit of the divine, not the pathetic trolling of sad and lonely atheists. It most certainly does not exist to protect literal monuments to evil inside the state capitol. Neither constitutional conservatism nor Christianity requires the toleration of a satanic altar. The fact that so many leaders would entertain the idea speaks to how vulnerable the right is to legalism.

Some of this hyperbolic reaction can be attributed to how progressives have managed to turn Christian nationalism into their latest bogeyman. Many conservative and Christian leaders who crave mainstream respectability are crawling over themselves to signal their allegiance to the current thing by decrying anything labeled Christian nationalism. Playing up Cassidy’s actions as some ominous demonstration of the horrific acts that Christian nationalism will inspire is the perfect chance to counter-signal those to your right and prove that you are “one of the good ones.”

The truth is, this ultramodern conception of religious liberty is a progressive perversion of what the framers of the Constitution intended. The Christian faith has always been central to public life in the United States, and you do not need to be a “Christian nationalist” to recognize that.

One of my problems with adopting the language of Christian nationalism is that it allows the left to frame that which is normal, healthy, and within the American tradition as a radical fringe ideology. Any Americans of the founding generation would have seen it as their moral duty to smash a satanic altar erected in a government building and would have found absurd the idea that this violated the Establishment Clause.

Sacred and profane spaces

The Biden administration on Monday began the removal of a monument in Arlington National Cemetery that commemorates the reconciliation between North and South after the Civil War. Congress passed legislation mandating a purge of all monuments honoring the Confederacy in the wake of the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020.

Despite the legislation containing an exemption for grave sites, the Biden administration decided that it was critical to obliterate this piece of history from public memory. A judge issued a temporary order halting the removal of the statue but subsequently lifted it. It will be dismantled by the Pentagon.

A nation is defined by what it holds sacred, and nothing is a better indicator of what a nation holds sacred than its statues. Conservatives have stood by while American war monuments are torn down and while monuments to the founders are torn down, and now they are told by their own leaders that they must stand by while satanic altars are erected in their capitols.

The left is remaking America’s public spaces in its own image and establishing its vision of the sacred in the process. If “conservative principles” cannot conserve our history, our founders, or our faith, then they are not fit for the purpose. Conservatism must be capable of making the case for defending what it holds sacred, or it will be discarded on the trash heap of history where it belongs.

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Auron MacIntyre

Auron MacIntyre

BlazeTV Host

Auron MacIntyre is the host of “The Auron MacIntyre Show” and a columnist for Blaze News.
@AuronMacintyre →