Primary Reading

Speak of the Devil: The Way The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk About Religion by Joseph P. Laycock 

                                                             

Available to purchase now in Hardcover here

   In 2013, when the state of Oklahoma erected a statue of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol, a group calling themselves The Satanic Temple applied to erect a statue of Baphomet alongside the Judeo-Christian tablets. Since that time, The Satanic Temple has become a regular voice in national conversations about religious freedom, disestablishment, and government overreach. In addition to petitioning for Baphomet to appear alongside another monument of the Ten Commandments in Arkansas, the group has launched campaigns to include Satanic "nativity scenes" on government property in Florida, Michigan, and Indiana, offer Satanic prayers at a high school football game in Seattle, and create "After School Satan" programs in elementary schools that host Christian extracurricular programs. Since their 2012 founding, The Satanic Temple has established 19 chapters and now claims 100,000 supporters. Is this just a political group perpetuating a series of stunts? Or is it a sincere religious movement?
   Speak of the Devil is the first book-length study of The Satanic Temple. Joseph Laycock, a scholar of new religious movements, contends that the emergence of "political Satanism" marks a significant moment in American religious history that will have a lasting impact on how Americans frame debates about religious freedom. Though the group gained attention for its strategic deployment of outrage, it claims to have developed beyond politics into a genuine religious movement. Equal parts history and ethnography, Speak of the Devil is Laycock's attempt to take seriously The Satanic Temple's work to redefine religion, the nature of pluralism and religious tolerance, and what "religious freedom" means in America.

 

Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France (1914)


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"I knew him. He was the most beautiful of all the Seraphim. He shone with intelligence and daring. His great heart was big with all the virtues born of pride: frankness, courage, constancy in trial, indomitable hope. Long, long ago, ere Time was, in the boreal sky where gleam the seven magnetic stars, he dwelt in a palace of diamond and gold, where the air was ever tremulous with the beating of wings and with songs of triumph. Iahveh, on his mountain, was jealous of Lucifer. You both know it: angels like unto men feel love and hatred quicken within them. Capable, at times, of generous resolves, they too often follow their own interests and yield to fear. Then, as now, they showed themselves, for the most part, incapable of lofty thoughts, and in the fear of the Lord lay their sole virtue. Lucifer, who held vile things in proud disdain, despised this rabble of commonplace spirits for ever wallowing in a life of feasts and pleasure. But to those who were possessed of a daring spirit, a restless soul, to those fired with a wild love of liberty, he proffered friendship, which we return with adoration. These latter deserted in a mass the mountain of God and yielded to the Seraph the homage which That Other would fain have kept for himself alone."

Ultimately a meditation on the corruption of power, Anatole France’s Revolt of the Angels (1914) utilizes the theological metaphor of Satan as a force favoring free inquiry, the War in Heaven a metaphysical battle against universal tyranny.

Arcade, an angel who has strayed from Heaven to study Philosophy and History on Earth seeks to re-assemble Lucifer’s legion to overthrow the detached and intolerant God of Heaven. Finally, Satan, after contemplating His probable victory concludes:

“No, let us not conquer the heavens. It is enough to have the power to do so. War engenders war, and victory defeat. God, conquered, will become Satan; Satan, conquering, will become God. May the fates spare me this terrible lot!‎”

 

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

The_Satanic_Temple_Library_The_Better_Angels_of_our_Nature_Steven_Pinker“The doctrine of the sacredness of the soul sounds vaguely uplifting, but in fact it is highly malignant. It discounts life on earth as just a temporary phase that people pass through, indeed, and infinitesimal fraction of their existence. Death becomes a mere rite of passage, like puberty or a midlife crisis."“Witch hunts are always vulnerable to common sense.”

Dr. Pinker's sweeping survey of the human condition demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt the phenomenon of declining violence in the civilized world. From the contemporary vantage point we are now better able to consider what works, and what does not, in relation to effective sociopolitical models conducive to optimal liberty and happiness among populations. While not a book about Satanism specifically, this book is nonetheless indispensable to understanding the intellectual roots of the Satanic Reformation exemplified by The Satanic Temple, as it outlines the scientific refutations of crass calls to Police State policies and counter-productive misinterpretations of Darwinism that have plagued Satanic circles through decades of inaction and unfocused ineptitude.

Literary Satanism

Romantic Satanism: Myth and the Historical Moment in Blake, Shelley and Byron, Authors: Schock, P.

Romantic Satanism: Myth and the Historical Moment in Blake, Shelley and Byron, Authors: Schock, P.

Criticism has largely emphasised the private meaning of ‘Romantic Satanism’, treating it as the celebration of subjectivity through allusions to Paradise Lost that voice Satan’s solitary defiance. The first full-length treatment of its subject, Romantic Satanism explores this literary phenomenon as a socially produced myth exhibiting the response of writers to their milieu . Through contextualized readings of the major works of Blake, Shelley, and Byron, this book demonstrates that Satanism enabled Romantic writers to interpret their tempestuous age: it provided them a mythic medium for articulating the hopes and fears their age aroused, for prophesying and inducing change.

 


       

The Satanic Epic by Neil Forsyth

The_Satanic_Temple_Library_The_Satanic_Epic_Neil_ForsythWhatever the author's intentions in writing Paradise Lost, there is little doubt that Milton's epic is the true Satanic Bible, establishing our understanding of Satan as rebel against tyranny over the body and mind.                      

"Satan emerges as the main challenge to Christian belief. It is Satan who questions and wonders and denounces. He is the great doubter who gives voice to many of the arguments that Christianity has provoked from within and without. And by rooting his Satanic reading of Paradise Lost in Biblical and other sources, Forsyth retrieves not only an attractive and heroic Satan but a Milton whose heretical energies are embodied in a Satanic character with a life of his own."

 

 

 

 Links:

Milton, John: Paradise Lost (1667)


Blake, William: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Blake, William: America a Prophecy (1793)

de Vigny, Alfred: Eloa (1823)

Godwin, William: An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793)

Hazlitt, William: On Shakespeare and Milton (1818)

Sand, George: Consuelo (1861)

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: Essay on the Devil and Devils (1819)

Shelley, Percy Bysshe: Prometheus Unbound (1820)

Lord Byron: Cain: A Mystery (1821)

 

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Litanies of Satan by Charles Baudelaire (from The Flowers of Evil, 1857)

Wisest of Angels, whom your fate betrays,
And, fairest of them all, deprives of praise,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

O Prince of exiles, who have suffered wrong,
Yet, vanquished, rise from every fall more strong,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

All-knowing lord of subterranean things,
Who remedy our human sufferings,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

To lepers and lost beggars full of lice,
You teach, through love, the taste of Paradise.

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You who on Death, your old and sturdy wife,
Engendered Hope — sweet folly of this life —

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You give to the doomed man that calm, unbaffled
Gaze that rebukes the mob around the scaffold,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You know in what closed corners of the earth
A jealous God has hidden gems of worth.

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You know the deepest arsenals, where slumber
The breeds of buried metals without number.

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You whose huge hand has hidden the abyss
From sleepwalkers that skirt the precipice,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You who give suppleness to drunkards’ bones
When trampled down by horses on the stones,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You who, to make his sufferings the lighter,
Taught man to mix the sulphur with the nitre,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You fix your mask, accomplice full of guile,
On rich men’s foreheads, pitiless and vile.

Satan have pity on my long despair!

You who fill the hearts and eyes of whores

With love of trifles and the cult of sores,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

The exile’s staff, inventor’s lamp, caresser
Of hanged men, and of plotters the confessor,

Satan have pity on my long despair!

Step-father of all those who, robbed of pardon,
God drove in anger out of Eden’s garden

Satan have pity on my long despair!

Prayer

Praise to you, Satan! in the heights you lit,
And also in the deeps where now you sit,
Vanquished, in Hell, and dream in hushed defiance
O that my soul, beneath the Tree of Science
Might rest near you, while shadowing your brows,
It spreads a second Temple with its boughs.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

 

 

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

The_Satanic_Temple_Master_and_Margarita_Mikhail_Bulgakov"When the devil arrives in 1930s Moscow, consorting with a retinue of odd associates—including a talking black cat, an assassin, and a beautiful naked witch—his antics wreak havoc among the literary elite of the world capital of atheism. Meanwhile, the Master, author of an unpublished novel about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, languishes in despair in a pyschiatric hospital, while his devoted lover, Margarita, decides to sell her soul to save him. As Bulgakov’s dazzlingly exuberant narrative weaves back and forth between Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, studded with scenes ranging from a giddy Satanic ball to the murder of Judas in Gethsemane, Margarita’s enduring love for the Master joins the strands of plot across space and time."

 

Speak of the Devil: an Anthology of Demonology

The_Satanic_Temple_Speak_of_The_Devil_This anthology, published in 1945, contains a wide array of perspectives regarding the character of Satan, as presented in literature, whether as heroic liberator from tyranny, devious manipulator of human desires, or author of Evil. This collection gathers some of the more artfully told tales that have invoked the Devil's name.

 

La-Bas by Joris K. Huysmans

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_La_Bas_Huysmans"This novel is the classic of Satanism. It caused a sensation when it first appeared in 1891 because of its extraordinarily detailed and vivid descriptions of the Black Mass. These descriptions are also authentic, for J. K. Huysmans, who has been called the greatest of the French decadents, had firsthand knowledge of the satanic practices, witch cults, and the whole of the occult underworld thriving in late nineteenth-century Paris. At its center is Durtal, a writer obsessed with the life of one of the blackest figures in history, Gilles de Rais. The legendary crimes, trial, and confession of this grotesque fifteenth-century child murderer, sadist, necrophile, and practitioner of all the black arts unfold in episode after horrifying episode."

History of Satanism

 

The Invention of Satanism by Asbjorn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_The_Invention_of_Satanism_Dyrendal_Lewis_Peterson"Satanism is a complex phenomenon that has often been the source of controversy across social and rhetorical contexts. Some consider it the root of all evil. Others see it as a childish form of rebellion or as a misapplication of serious esoteric beliefs and practices. Still others consider it a specific religion or philosophy that serves as a form of personal and collective identity. In The Invention of Satanism, three experts explore Satanism as a contemporary movement that is in continuous dialogue with popular culture, and which provides a breeding ground for other new religious movements."

 

The Devil's Party: Satanism in Modernity by Per Faxneld & Jesper Aa. Petersen

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"Recent years have seen a significant shift in the study of new religious movements. In Satanism studies, interest has moved to anthropological and historical work on groups and individuals. Self-declared Satanism, especially as areligion with cultural production and consumption, history, and organization, has largely been neglected by academia. This volume, focused on modern Satanism as a practiced religion of life-style, attempts to reverse that trend with 12 cutting-edge essays from the emerging field of Satanism studies. Topics covered range from early literary Satanists like Blake and Shelley, to the Californian Church of Satan of the 1960s, to the radical developments that have taken place in the Satanic milieu in recent decades. The contributors analyze such phenomena as conversion to Satanism, connections between Satanism and political violence, 19th-century decadent Satanism, transgression, conspiracy theory, and the construction of Satanic scripture. A wide array of methods are employed to shed light on the Devil's disciples: statistical surveys, anthropological field studies, philological examination of The Satanic Bible, contextual analysis of literary texts, careful scrutiny of obscure historical records, and close readings of key Satanic writings. [...]"  

 

Children of Lucifer: The Origins of Modern Religious Satanism by Ruben van Luijk

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_Children_of_Lucifer_Luijk"If we are to believe sensationalist media coverage, Satanism is, at its most benign, the purview of people who dress in black, adorn themselves with skull and pentagram paraphernalia, and listen to heavy metal. At its most sinister, its adherents are worshippers of evil incarnate and engage in violent and perverse secret rituals, the details of which mainstream society imagines with a fascination verging on the obscene. Children of Lucifer debunks these facile characterizations by exploring the historical origins of modern Satanism..."

       

 

The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of Satanism by Jesper Aagard Petersen

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"In the public imagination Satanism is associated with bizarre rituals, perverse hedonistic lifestyles, heavy metal music, immature adolescents acting out, horror movies, and rumors of ritual abuse. But what are the facts behind the urban legends and the "moral panics" that periodically sweep the country regarding this countercultural phenomenon? This authoritative reference work gathers together scholarly studies of Satanism and original source material, focusing on two major aspects—organized religious Satanism and the Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax that was prevalent in the 1980s and early 1990s. The contributors first examine modern Satanism, a decentralized movement whose only coherence is based on certain themes that date back to the writings of Anton Szandor LaVey, especially his Satanic Bible. Among other factors, the authors discuss how the emergence of the Internet as a form of communication has created some coherence among disparate groups through cross-reference. Many articles are devoted to the Satanic Ritual Abuse scare, an erroneous belief in a vast underground network of Satanists who were abusing children. For years members of the law enforcement community and numerous therapists, encouraged by the hype of mass media, bought into this panic."

 

 

 

 

The Affair of the Poisons by Anne Somerset

  The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_The_Affair_of_the_Poisons_Anne_SomersetThe Story of the Black Mass. The 'Affair of the Poisons' was a scandal at which 'all France trembled' and which 'horrified the whole of Europe' as it implicated a number of prominent persons at the court of King Louis XIV in the late 17th century. Parisian society was seized by a fad for spiritualist seances, fortune- telling, and the use of love potions. The most celebrated case was that of La Voisin, a midwife and fortune-teller whose real name was Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin and whose clientele included the Marquise de Montespan, Olympe Mancini and Marshal Luxembourg. No formal charges were made, and there is no evidence that they were seriously implicated, yet a permanent stain was left on their names. La Voisin was burned as a poisoner and a sorceress in 1680. A special court was instituted to judge cases of poisoning and witchcraft, and the poison epidemic came to an end in France.This bizarre witchhunt, which embroiled the gilded denizens of Versailles with the most sordid dregs of Paris society, remains both a fascinating enigma and an utterly compelling story.

 

Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom by Norman Cohn (2001)

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 Europe's Inner Demons is a fascinating history of the irrational need to imagine witches and  an investigation of how those fantasies made the persecutions of the middle ages possible. In addition, Norman Cohn's discovery that some influential sources on European witch trials were forgeries has revolutionized the field of witchcraft, making this one of the most essential books ever written on the subject.          

 

The Devil and the Jews by Joshua Trachtenber  

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An excellent history that demonstrates the inextricable relationship between the medieval demonization of Jews and the Satanic Panic libels of modern days. "this is the definitive work of scholarship on the medieval conception of the Jew as devil—literally and figuratively. Through documents, analysis, and illustrations, the book exposes the full spectrum of the Jew’s demonization as devil, sorcerer, and ritual murderer. The author reveals how these myths, many with origins traced to Christian Europe in the late Middle Ages, still exist in transmuted form in the modern era."

 

The Satanism Scare  

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A collection of academic articles contemporary to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s & 1990s "Although there is growing concern over Satanism as a threat to American life, the topic has received surprisingly little serious attention. Recognizing this, the editors of this volume have selected papers from a wide variety of disciplines, broadly covering contemporary aspects of Satanism from the vantage points of studies in folklore, cults, religion, deviance, rock music, rumor, and the mass media. All contributors are skeptical of claims that a large, powerful satanic conspiracy can be substantiated. Their research focuses instead on claims about Satanism and on the question of whose interests are served by such claims. Several papers consider the impact of anti-Satanism campaigns on public opinion, law enforcement and civil litigation, child protection services, and other sectors of American society. The constructionist perspective adopted by the editors does not deny the existence of some activities by “real” Satanists, and two papers describe the workins of satanic groups. Whatever the basis of the claims examined and analyzed, there is growing evidence that belief in the satanic menace will have real social consequences in the years ahead."  

 

The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Western World by John Demos (2008)

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_The_Enemy_Within_John_Demos
The term “witch-hunt” is used today to describe everything from political scandals to school board shake-ups. But its origins are far from trivial. Long before the    Salem witch trials, women and men were rounded up by neighbors,   accused of committing horrific crimes using supernatural powers,  scrutinized by priests and juries, and promptly executed. The belief in witchcraft--and the deep fear of evil it instilled in communities--led to a cycle of accusation, anger, and purging that has occurred repeatedly in the West for centuries. Award-winning historian John Demos puts this cultural paranoia in context. He takes readers from the early Christians persecuted in Rome through the Salem witch trials, McCarthy’s hunt for communists, and the hysteria around child sex-abuse cases and satanic cults in the 1980s. An original and fascinating look at the cultural, societal, and psychological practice of witch-hunts, The Enemy Within illuminates the dark side of communities driven to rid themselves of “evil,” no matter what the cost.  

 

Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History by David Frankfurter (2008)

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_Evil_Incarnate_FrankfurterIn the 1980s, America was gripped by widespread panics about Satanic cults. Conspiracy theories abounded about groups who were allegedly abusing children in day-care centers, impregnating girls for infant sacrifice, brainwashing adults, and even controlling the highest levels of government. As a historian of religions David Frankfurter listened to these sinister theories, it occurred to him how strikingly similar they were to those that swept parts of the early Christian world, early modern Europe, and postcolonial Africa. He began to investigate the social and psychological patterns that give rise to these myths. Thus was born Evil Incarnate, a riveting analysis of the mythology of evil conspiracy. The first work to provide an in-depth analysis of the topic, the book uses anthropology, the history of religion, sociology, and psychoanalytic theory, to answer the questions "What causes people collectively to envision evil and seek to exterminate it?" and "Why does the representation of evil recur in such typical patterns?" Frankfurter guides the reader through such diverse subjects as witch-hunting, the origins of demonology, cannibalism, and the rumors of Jewish ritual murder, demonstrating how societies have long expanded upon their fears of such atrocities to address a collective anxiety. Thus, he maintains, panics over modern-day infant sacrifice are really not so different from rumors about early Christians engaging in infant feasts during the second and third centuries in Rome. In Evil Incarnate, Frankfurter deepens historical awareness that stories of Satanic atrocities are both inventions of the mind and perennial phenomena, not authentic criminal events. True evil, as he so artfully demonstrates, is not something organized and corrupting, but rather a social construction that inspires people to brutal acts in the name of moral order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satan's Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt by Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedeker (2001)                                           

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Communities throughout the United States were convulsed in the 1980s and early 1990s by accusations, often without a shred of serious evidence, that respectable men and women in their midstmany of them trusted preschool teacherssecretly gathered in far reaching conspiracies to rape and terrorize children. In this powerful book, Debbie Nathan and Mike Snedeker examine the forces fueling this blind panic.

     

The Old Enemy by Neil Forsyth 

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"Neil Forsyth's The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth (1987) is a learned account of the transformations in the idea of an evil one in religious writings from the Sumerian to modern monotheisms, and particularly how it develops into the Christian notion of Satan, the fallen Lucifer."

 

The Devil: A New Biography by Philip C. Almond

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_The_Devil_a_new_Biography_Phillip_C_Almond"In The Devil, Philip C. Almond explores the figure of evil incarnate from the first centuries of the Christian era. Along the way, he describes the rise of demonology as an intellectual and theological pursuit, the persecution as witches of women believed to consort with the Devil and his minions, and the decline in the belief in Hell and in angels and demons as corporeal beings as a result of the Enlightenment. Almond shows that the Prince of Darkness remains an irresistible subject in history, religion, art, literature, and culture."

  

Here's to My Sweet Satan: How the Occult Haunted Music, Movies and Pop Culture, 1966-1980 by George Case

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_Heres_to_my_Sweet_Satan_George_CaseParticularly useful in its insights into the relationship of pop culture occultism to the rise of the faddish Multiple Personality Disorder phenomenon, spurred on by the now-debunked MPD "case study" of "Sybil."  

"A sweeping and masterful cultural history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” tells how the Occult conquered the American imagination, weaving together topics as diverse as the birth of heavy metal, 1970s horror films, the New Age movement, Count Chocula cereal, the serial killer Son of Sam, and more. Cultural critic George Case explores how the Occult craze permanently changed American society, creating the cultural framework for the political power of the religious right, false accusations of Satanic child abuse, and today’s widespread rejection of science and rationality. An insightful blend of pop culture and social history, “Here’s to My Sweet Satan” lucidly explains how the most technological society on earth became enthralled by the supernatural."

Satanism Today

The Happy Satanist by Lilith Starr

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_The_Happy_Satanist_Lilith_Starr"From Harvard to heroin and back to wellness: these essays chronicle Lilith Starr's inspiring story of recovery and healing in the face of insurmountable odds. In the philosophy of Satanism, she finally found the inner strength needed to beat a lifetime of addiction and depression. Now she shares the secrets she learned on her Satanic journey back to well-being. Discover the positive, life-changing power of atheistic Satanism for yourself! Learn the truth behind the common misconceptions about Satanism, and how to tap into the deep reservoir of personal power we all have inside.    

 

The Last Illusion by Clive Barker (with essay by Lucien Greaves)

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_The_Last_Illusion_Clive_BarkerJoin us as we follow private investigator Harry D'Amour through his investigation of a magician's death long before The Scarlet Gospels. Enjoy Barker's original text alongside insight and essays from American magician and illusionist, Criss Angel; Satanic Temple co-founder and spokesperson, Lucien Greaves; Barker historians Phil & Sarah Stokes; and Lord of Illusions special FX artist Alan McFarland.

   

Related Topics

The Soul Machine by George Makari

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"Soul Machine takes us back to the origins of modernity, a time when a crisis in religious authority and the scientific revolution led to searching questions about the nature of human inner life. This is the story of how a new concept―the mind―emerged as a potential solution, one that was part soul and part machine, but fully neither. In this groundbreaking work, award-winning historian George Makari shows how writers, philosophers, physicians, and anatomists worked to construct notions of the mind as not an ethereal thing, but a natural one. From the ascent of Oliver Cromwell to the fall of Napoleon, seminal thinkers like Hobbes, Locke, Diderot, and Kant worked alongside often-forgotten brain specialists, physiologists, and alienists in the hopes of mapping the inner world. Conducted in a cauldron of political turmoil, these frequently shocking, always embattled efforts would give rise to psychiatry, mind sciences such as phrenology, and radically new visions of the self. Further, they would be crucial to the establishment of secular ethics and political liberalism."  

 

Phantom Terror: Political Paranoia and the Creation of the Modern State, 1789-1848 by Adam Zamoyski

 

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_The_Phantom_Terror_Zamoyski 

This book describes the fear of rebellion instigated by the French Revolution that gave rise to modern paranoid conspiracy theories related to hidden Satanic societies -- fears that still persist, in almost identical narrative form, to this day.

"For the ruling and propertied classes of the late eighteenth century, the years following the French Revolution were characterized by intense anxiety. Monarchs and their courtiers lived in constant fear of rebellion, convinced that their power—and their heads—were at risk. Driven by paranoia, they chose to fight back against every threat and insurgency, whether real or merely perceived, repressing their populaces through surveillance networks and violent, secretive police action. Europe, and the world, had entered a new era.                              

Phantom Terror explores this troubled, fascinating period, when politicians and cultural leaders from Edmund Burke to Mary Shelley were forced to choose sides and either support or resist the counterrevolutionary spirit embodied in the newly-omnipotent central states. The turbulent political situation that coalesced during this era would lead directly to the revolutions of 1848 and to the collapse of order in World War I. We still live with the legacy of this era of paranoia, which prefigured not only the modern totalitarian state but also the now preeminent contest between society's haves and have nots."  

 

Fire and Light by James MacGregor Burns

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"In this engaging, provocative history, James MacGregor Burns brilliantly illuminates the two-hundred-year conflagration of the Enlightenment, when audacious questions and
astonishing ideas tore across Europe and the New World, transforming thought, overturning governments, and inspiring visionary political experiments. Fire and Light brings to vivid life the galaxy of revolutionary leaders of thought and action who, armed with a new sense of human possibility, driven by a hunger for change, created the modern world. Burns discovers the origins of a distinctive American Enlightenment in men like the Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, and their early encounters with incendiary European ideas about liberty and equality. It was these thinker-activists who framed the United States as a grand and continuing experiment in Enlightenment principles."

 

Assault of the Theocrats

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M. Kruse

 

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"We're often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the belief that America is fundamentally and formally Christian originated in the 1930s.

To fight the “slavery” of FDR's New Deal, businessmen enlisted religious activists in a
campaign for “freedom under God” that culminated in the election of their ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. The new president revolutionized the role of religion in American politics. He inaugurated new traditions like the National Prayer Breakfast, as Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and made “In God We Trust” the country's first official motto. Church membership soon soared to an all-time high of 69 percent. Americans across the religious and political spectrum agreed that their country was “one nation under God.”  

 

Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding by Steven K. Green

The_Satanic_Temple_LIbrary_Inventing_Christian_America_Green

At times frustratingly dense and tedious, Inventing a Christian America is nonetheless an excellent resource for academic support of its central claim.

"Among the most enduring themes in American history is the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. A pervasive narrative in everything from school textbooks to political commentary, it is central to the way in which many Americans perceive the historical legacy of their nation. Yet, as Steven K. Green shows in this illuminating new book, it is little more than a myth.                                                          In Inventing a Christian America, Green, a leading historian of religion and politics, explores the historical record that is purported to support the popular belief in America's religious founding and status as a Christian nation. He demonstrates that, like all myths, these claims are based on historical "facts" that have been colored by the interpretive narratives that have been imposed upon them. In tracing the evolution of these claims and the evidence levied in support of them from the founding of the New England colonies, through the American Revolution, and to the present day, he investigates how they became leading narratives in the country's collective identity."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby

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"At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason. In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby traces more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century's civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected achievements of secularists who, allied with tolerant believers, have led the battle for reform in the past and today."

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