In addition to attempts to shroud its crypto-fascist rape culture with a condescending (pseudo-)“feminist” veneer, another major touchstone of The Satanic Temple’s claims to represent a “progressive” or “left-leaning” tendency within modern Satanism is constituted by the group’s efforts to attach itself to LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.) causes. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that in recent years, contingents of TST members have made appearances in Pride marches (TST AZ, Satanic Temple Seattle). TST’s supporters often cite their support for “LGBTQ+ rights” as a way of derailing conscientization of their underlying ties to white supremacism and neo-fascism.
We see an example of this in Satanic Temple co-founder Douglas Misicko’s essay “Down the Spiral of Purity,” written in response to the secession of the Los Angeles chapter of TST in an act of protest against his decision to associate TST with Marc Randazza, a lawyer who habitually defends right wing extremists in court and has been involved in the case Sines et al v. Kessler et al, whose defendants include members of the neo-Nazi terrorist groups that orchestrated the violent attacks on anti-racists during the infamous August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the essay, Misicko dismisses the assertion of “Jex Blackmore,” a former leading member of TST turned critic who cited a lack of diversity within TST as a reason for leaving the group, by countering with the claim that “it’s certainly likely that over half of leadership and membership [of TST] are in the LGBTQ+ community[.]”
This is the same line of reasoning employed by retired US military intelligence officer and “Setian” Satanist Michael Aquino to defend his Satanic cult, the Temple of Set, from allegations of neo-Nazism extending from his fawning over Mein Kampf and pilgrimage to Wewelsburg Castle (a site strongly associated with Nazi occultism) by “pointing out that several members of the Temple of Set were of Jewish origin” (Introvigne, Satanism 351). As we saw in 6.1.1 and 6.3.3, this duplicitous claim, from the Satanist point of view, only strengthens the neo-Nazi character of the Temple of Set, since the “orthodox” Satanic opinion is that Adolf Hitler and other leaders of Nazi Germany were of Jewish origin (LaVey, Satan Speaks! 22–23). Therefore, according to the logic of Satanism, neo-Nazism in its truest form would, correspondingly, also have to be led by persons of Jewish origin.
We must anticipate that a similar line of reasoning would be applicable in the LGBTQ+ domain, but this time with a slight basis in reality. That is to say, since it is known that homosexuality was tolerated for a time within the Nazi Party, with a section of the Nazi movement’s leadership having been all but openly gay, it would be logical to posit that neo-Nazi movements would similarly include members of “the LGBTQ+ community.” In particular, Ernst Röhm (1887–1934), who led the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party (i.e., the Sturmabteilung [SA] or “Storm Attachment,” also known as the “Brownshirts”) from 1931 to 1934, is noted as having been “the highest-ranking gay Nazi” (Wills). Another high-ranking Nazi known to have been gay was Edmund Heines (1897–1934), who Hitler appointed “to deal with ‘all matters relating to the youth movement’” (i.e., the Hitler Youth) in 1925 (Simkin, “Edmund Heines”). And in Berlin, the local “supreme leader” of the Brownshirts, Karl Ernst (1904–1934), had formerly worked at a nightclub “advertised [during the] interwar [period as a] destination for transvestites and transsexuals” (Simkin, “Karl Ernst”; Hopper). Although the aforementioned individuals were purged from the Nazi Party during the “Night of the Long Knives” in 1934, crossdressing nevertheless remained a popular pastime among members of Nazi Germany’s Wehrmacht (which existed from 1935 to 1945). (Note that while—in my opinion—crossdressing does not necessarily imply being gay, not all sincere LGBTQ+ rights advocates agree, and the two have often been perceived as closely correlating; for example, according to the renowned transgender rights activist Sylvia Rivera [1951–2002], “Transvestites are homosexual men and women who dress in clothes of the opposite sex” [Sandeed]). And although crossdressing was not unheard of among members of other nations’ militaries, it is said to have “happen[ed] way more in [Nazi] ranks” (Hopper). Similarly, the historian Lothar Machtan argues in The Hidden Hitler (2001) that the leader of Nazi Germany was a closeted homosexual. Though subject to dispute, this thesis is certainly more plausible than LaVey’s (which says that Hitler was a closeted Jew).
Even if it were possible to falsify Machtan’s thesis by proving with absolute certainty that Adolf Hitler was definitely 100% heterosexual, we should not forget that occultism is defined precisely by the embrace of “rejected knowledge,” irrationalism, and notions of “subjectivity” and “acausality” (Webb). The mythos of the “Pink Swastika,” though bordering on homophobia itself when used to say or imply that “gays caused the Holocaust” or “male homosexuality inevitably leads to atrocities and mass murder,” can be (and has been) picked up and championed by gay reactionaries and neo-Nazis looking to “innovate” their image. This is just another form of “pinkwashing,” a term referring “to the promotion of LGBT rights […] in order to mask other human rights oppressions” (Browne).
A striking example of this kind of neo-Nazi pinkwashing can be seen in the logo and “merch” of the band Death in June, which (as shown in sub-section 3.1) exists in the social orbit of The Satanic Temple, since Boyd Rice (a member of Death in June “for nearly two decades” who described the band as “very racialist-oriented”) collaborated with TST frontman Douglas Misicko to produce Satan Superstar, a book published in 2018 (Merlan, “Trolling Hell”; “Boyd Rice on Racist TV Show”).
Figure 7.10. These patches produced by the Satanic Temple-linked band Death in June, whose frontman Douglas Pearce is gay, feature Nazi symbols including the death’s head (or totenkopf) and the “black sun,” combined with the rainbow gay pride flag (DEATH IN JUNE Official Site). The band’s name (Death in June) refers to the Night of the Long Knives (which took place in late June 1934), when Ernst Röhm and other members of the Nazi Party’s “Brownshirt” paramilitary organization who were attracted to members of the same sex were executed. Pearce has explicitly acknowledged leading members of the Nazi Party “like Gregor Strasser and Ernst Röhm” as inspiring Death in June’s “political view for the future,” (Hatewatch Staff).
The pinkwashing of neo-fascism under the guise of Satanism is intimately tied up with the kind of eroticization of Nazism which was put on display at the “Black Mass” held by The Satanic Temple in Los Angeles in 2017, “billed as the largest Satanic gathering in history” (Wikipedia editors, “The Satanic Temple”; 6.3.3). Susan Sontag, a culture critic who was herself bisexual, observed in 1974 that “it is among male homosexuals that the eroticizing of Nazism [and the attachment of sadomasochism to Nazi symbolism] is most visible” and asked, “How could a regime which persecuted homosexuals become a gay turn-on?” The answer to this question would appear to lie in what film critics Joan Picart and David A. Frank discuss as “the triumph of fantasy in the face of increasing commercialization of the Holocaust” in relation to Apt Pupil, a horror film from 1998 dealing with themes of homophobia and homoeroticism in which a teenage American boy develops a bizarre and inappropriate relationship with his elderly neighbor after discovering that the latter is a fugitive Nazi war criminal. It would seem that as the erotic desire to fulfill the fantasy of the ultimate sexual experience of the sadomasochistic type came to be translated into a market demand that could be met with “sexy” commodities evocative of the Nazi regime, a process of alienation took place vis-à-vis historical memory.
It certainly seems “weird” that “a regime which persecuted homosexuals [could] become a gay turn-on.” But was this “destined” to be? Although they differ in etymology, the words “weird” and “queer” phonetically resemble each other closely and can have the same meaning. This is interesting because the concept of “Wyrd,” an Old English word meaning destiny or fate and the source of the modern English word “weird,” is a regular trope in the discourse of both the Temple of Set and the Order of Nine Angles, ideological cousins of The Satanic Temple. Etymologically, wyrd is believed to come from the Proto-Indo-European root *wer-, meaning “to bend” (i.e., to make not straight). Although we can say in retrospect that the weird appearance of the idea of “queer” or “gay Nazism,” both as fantasy and as reality, was determined (and therefore “destined” in a way) by certain definite causes, we might also predict that the “Pink Swastika” is likely to be destined to disappear with critical conscientization of how the Nazi linking of homophobia and homoeroticism comes fundamentally from a place of alienation, which most will subsequently desire to overcome. The Nazi homophobia-homoeroticism complex evinces alienation in at least two senses. If evidence of a link between “homophobia [and] individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex” (alienation from oneself) is not sufficient to form a unique “explanation for [all] homophobia,” then it would be a question of alienation from historical memory for those who acknowledge their same-sex attraction but nevertheless indulge in the fantasy of projecting their sexuality through the prism of Nazism (Bronski et al.).
We can observe that Misicko’s application of the “But We Are Inclusive” trope appears to be executed with a noticeably higher level of sloppiness than Aquino’s however, due to the impoverishment of his argument in terms of intersectionality theory. In “Down the Spiral of Purity,” Misicko demonstrates some awareness of the fact that having TST members who “are in the LGBTQ+ community” means nothing in terms of disproving the fact of the group’s lack of diversity in terms of “race,” noting that “[i]t is true that People of Color have been slow to embrace Satanism.” This certainly comes as no surprise, since, as we saw in 4.1.1, there is a particularly strong disdain within Satanist circles for African-American Christians, with numerous individuals leaving hateful comments on a Youtube video titled “Crazy Black Christians Protest Baphomet Statue,” from the time in 2015 when all-white mobs of Satanic Temple supporters invaded the Black-majority city of Detroit for a Satanist party where a banner displaying a neo-fascist symbol used by the “anti-anti-racist” band Crass (based on the Nazi “broken sun cross” symbol) was hung from the stage.
In “Queer Fascism: Why White Nationalists Are Trying to Drop Homophobia,” an anonymous antifascist author points out that the effort by segments of the neo-Nazi movement, including the so-called “Alt-Right,” to combine “queer identity with open fascism” and make neo-fascism appealing to gay men in particular “may seem bizarre to those who understand white nationalism [as] just existing on the far right of a left-right spectrum, where homophobia seems like it would come before the open racialism,” (AntifascistFront). It is this overly diagrammatic, vulgarized view of political opinions as existing along a fixed “spectrum” which crypto-fascists exploit to conceal their genuine political position. If a person operates with this superficial understanding of politics in mind, they are likely to be easily duped into discounting allegations of crypto-fascism against The Satanic Temple, uttering, “But they can’t be neo-fascist; they support gay rights!” as a kind of knee jerk response. Likely they also place so-called “conspiracist ideation” on the far-right end of the political spectrum. People of this sort should be reminded that there is nothing “new” or “innovative” to this deceptive cherry-picking of a few “left-wing” positions, because Nazism, with its “sinister runic humbug” and false pretensions of being the real “socialism,” has been synonymous with crypto-fascism from its inception. What needs to be done in order to fight the type of fascism which is of concern here then is to raise awareness of this fact and foster conscientization of the development of modern Satanism in terms of its material role in the re-encryption of fascism post-WWII, gone into hyperdrive under the guise of “The Satanic Temple” since 2013. When didactic diagrams of the political “spectrum” block critical thinking by reifying ideology, they become a hindrance to the conscientization of theology.
Those who obstinately hold on to the notion of a “left-wing Satanism” in the face of the mountain of evidence falsifying the plausibility of such a thing’s material existence constituted by the research compiled for this work, such as the members of the former Los Angeles chapter of The Satanic Temple who broke away to form their own micro-sect (“The Satanic Collective”) in response to TST and Misicko’s relationship with Randazza, remain mired in the same ideological idealism that allows neo-fascism to memetically spread itself through encryption as “modern Satanism” in the first place. The idea of a “left-wing Satanism” is as absurd as that of a “left-wing Nazism.” Incidentally, this is exactly how many neo-fascists attempt to make open Nazism viable again, by “profess[ing] to see themselves more in the tradition of the Nazi Party’s Strasserite ‘left’ than as Hitlerites” (Young, my scare quotes). (Note that Strasserism is a brand of Nazism associated with Gregor [1892–1934] and Otto Strasser [1897–1974], two brothers who jockeyed with Hitler for power and influence within the Nazi Party). Just as the idea of a “Nazi Left” depends on not only the removal of the Nazi Party from a wider historical context outside itself and any semblance of an understanding of the material results of Nazism, but also on the idealistic conceptualization of a “circular” or “horseshoe”-shaped political spectrum where anti-capitalism seems like it would come before antisemitism, so does the idea of a “Satanic Left” depend on ignorance of modern Satanism’s post-WWII development under the steady influence of the far-right and Western “intelligence community” projects and operations (themselves rooted in Nazi research and interest in the occult), as well as on an aestheticized political arena in which one cannot move to confront Christofascism without passing through a Satanic anticlericalism. Those who have split with TST over its ties to the “Alt-Right” but nevertheless attempt to protect their egos by clinging to Satanism and claiming to independently carry on the “true” Satanic “Reformation” are the Strasser brothers of modern Satanism. By sowing more illusion in the viability of “left-wing Satanism,” they only reinforce crypto-fascism. Indeed, in the conclusion to this Unauthorized Guide we will see that virtually every example of “left-wing Satanism” outside TST which has been cited by apologists for such a concept who nevertheless recognize the “problematic” aspects of TST reveals itself to be a farce.
OR RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS (Anatomy of a Crypto-Fascist Sect: The Unauthorized Guide to “The Satanic Temple”)