Theistic Satanism: Home > Politics > Nazi > Responding to neo-Nazi Satanists

How can we effectively discourage neo-Nazism in the Satanist scene?

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2006 Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

  1. Brief introduction:  Freedom of thought vs. the discouragement of neo-Nazism?
  2. Why should we care about the neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene?
  3. Let other people know why you reject neo-Nazism
  4. Being an uncloseted GLBT person, Jew, etc.
  5. Satanist neo-Nazis vs. their fellow neo-Nazis

  1. Brief introduction:  Freedom of thought vs. the discouragement of neo-Nazism?
  2. I don't think we can get rid of all the neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene, nor should we even try to get rid of all of them. But I do think some of us can and should try to reduce their number by quite a bit.

    Furthermore, I believe that we can and should discourage neo-Nazism in relatively non-dogmatic ways. Because I reject the very idea of dogma-based definitions of "Satanism" (see On dogma on the Black Goat Cabal site), and because I do believe that Satanists should be free to explore all sorts of forbidden ideas, I would not make such blanket statements as "a true Satanist could never be a neo-Nazi." Nevertheless, neo-Nazism is indeed at odds with most forms of Satanism. Moreover, as I'll explain later, there are some pretty down-to-earth reasons why neo-Nazism is clearly bad for us.

    Neo-Nazi Satanists have a right to their beliefs. But the rest of us also have the right to oppose them. As I will explain later, it is in our best interests to oppose them. And I believe that we can do so successfully, if enough of us participate.

  3. Why should we care about the neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene?
  4. Should we care? Some Satanists have argued that because we Satanists are so hated and feared by the general public, we shouldn't have any problem with other groups that are hated and feared by the general public too, such as neo-Nazis. Some have even argued that, because Satanists are feared anyway just for being Satanists, we shouldn't even care if anyone thinks we're all a bunch of Nazis too.

    But there are some important differences between a dislike of neo-Nazism and the popular prejudice against Satanists. Neo-Nazism isn't just a religion or a lifestyle. It's a political movement. A political movement, by definition, aims to change the rest of society. That being the case, people in the rest of society certainly have the right to object if they don't like the proposed changes. And the changes that most neo-Nazi groups are calling for are pretty darned drastic. The most extreme neo-Nazis want to kill whole large sectors of the population, including both Jews and gays, and they want to force vast numbers of other people to relocate. Admittedly there are different kinds of neo-Nazis, some of whom have less aggressive agendas than others. But, at the very least, nearly all of them want strict racial segregation over large areas, and/or they want whole large countries like the U.S.A. or some big portion thereof to allow only people of pure white European ancestry to be citizens. If any neo-Nazi group were ever to attain power, their agenda would severely disrupt a lot of people's lives, to say the least.

    Admittedly, there have also been some very noisy Satanists who have tried to define Satanism as a political movement calling for changes that would be every bit as drastic. But, as far as I can tell, the vast majority of Satanists don't see Satanism that way. For most Satanists, their Satanism is just a personal religion. Analogously, not all Christians  -  not even all fundamentalist Christians  -  support the Christian religious right wing. Furthermore, among those Satanists who do see their Satanism in political terms, their political aims vary all over the map. On the other hand, neo-Nazism is clearly a political movement. Of course, there's nothing necessarily wrong with a political movement either; it depends how you feel about a particular political movement's goals. My point here is that condemnation of a political movement  -  justified or not  -  isn't comparable to prejudice against people based on an unpopular religion or lifestyle.

    In the unlikely event that a neo-Nazi movement were actually to come to power, it would most likely want to wipe out all Satanists in particular. A successful neo-Nazi movement would most likely be dominated by intolerant Christians. Even Clifford Herrington, former chairman of the National Socialist Movement and husband of Maxine the founder of Joy of Satan, once made a speech about how the U.S.A. should be home only to "white, European Christians." There's a remote possibility that a successful neo-Nazi movement might be dominated by Norse Pagans instead of Christians, but even they would most likely see us Satanists as freaks to be gotten rid of. It is not at all likely that a successful neo-Nazi movement could be dominated by Satanists. And because neo-Nazism does not embrace any kind of tolerance as one of its ideals, we don't have any grounds whatsoever for persuading neo-Nazis to tolerate Satanists  -  at least not in the long run  -  even if, in the short run, some neo-Nazis might be persuaded to tolerate us temporarily for some short-term strategic reason.

    Hence it is just plain stupid for Satanists to embrace neo-Nazism.

    Of course, it's highly unlikely that a neo-Nazi movement will ever attain power, at least in the U.S.A. But the neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene can hurt us in some other, more likely ways:

    1. The presence of any substantial number of neo-Nazis among us (or a widespread false impression that neo-Nazis are more common among us than they actually are) can create a very unpleasant atmosphere within the Satanist scene itself for those of us who are people of color, or of Jewish descent, and for those of us who are gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender people. In other words, for anyone who isn't a pure white "Aryan" gender-conforming heterosexual.
    2. If there are too many neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene and not enough Satanists who openly oppose neo-Nazism, then the neo-Nazis' presence has the potential to alienate Satanists in general from the very people who would otherwise be most inclined to tolerate us, and who would otherwise be our best potential allies in the event of another Satanic panic. Yes, we did have some allies who fought back against the 1980-1995 Satanic panic, and who did a lot more for us, in that regard, than we ourselves could likely have done. (See "Satanism" scares and their debunking on my Against Satanic Panics site.) Many though not all of these people  -  especially among the more pioneering ones  -  were liberals or leftists. And many though not all were of Jewish ancestry. Furthermore, liberal and leftist Jews tend generally to be among this country's staunchest opponents of Christian theocracy. That being the case, Satanist neo-Nazis are siding with some of our worst potential enemies against some of our best potential friends.
    3. More generally, if we want to be tolerated as a minority religion, it behooves us not to appear to be intolerant toward other minorities on the basis of religion, race, etc. If there are too many neo-Nazis among us and not enough vocal anti-Nazis, this makes us look like a bunch of hypocrites when we ask others to be tolerant towards us.

    To the first two of the above three points, some Satanists will raise the following semi-valid objections:

    1. None of us should expect to be comfortable with all of each other's beliefs anyway. This sort of thing is the price we Satanists must pay for the high value that a lot of us place upon free thought.
    2. We should be wary of efforts to make Satanism respectable  -  even in the eyes of our best potential friends. Too much concern about Satanism's image would run contrary to the very freedom that most forms of Satanism call for, at least in theory. It would also run contrary to most Satanisms' encouragement of the exploration of dark and forbidden things.

    Both of the above are indeed valid concerns. But I'm not proposing that we try to get rid of every single last person with neo-Nazi leanings, or that we try to ban all discussion of the topic. Satanists should indeed be free to explore all political ideologies. Besides, it's just not possible to banish any category of people completely from the Satanist scene. For example, various Church of Satan members have battled fiercely for years to drive out all of us theistic Satanists (see Satanism Needs An Enema! by Nemo); obviously this hasn't worked.

    Nevertheless, it's in our best interests to do what we can to discourage such political stupidity as neo-Nazism in our own ranks. To that end, it's also in our best interests to do what we can to make the Satanist scene less attractive to those whose sole or main reason for hanging around us is to recruit Satanists into the neo-Nazi movement.

    Is there anything we can actually do to reduce the number of neo-Nazis hanging around the Satanist scene? Below are my suggestions.

  5. Let other people know why you reject neo-Nazism
  6. One obvious thing we could do is simply for more of us to explain why we reject neo-Nazism.

    When in the company of other Satanists online or offline, don't be shy about voicing your opinion if/when the topic of neo-Nazism comes up. Please try to voice your opinion in ways that have a reasonable chance of persuading any Satanists who may be seriously considering neo-Nazi ideology but aren't yet committed to it.

    To that end, explain why you oppose neo-Nazism. Don't just insult the neo-Nazis or call them names such as "trailer trash." In fact I think it's generally more effective to leave out the personal insults and name-calling.

    Your reasons are important. Many of the neo-Nazis and Nazi sympathizers in the Satanist scene believe that an opposition to neo-Nazism stems solely from Christian-based ideals such as universal love. Most Satanists reject the ideal of universal love, but there are plenty of other reasons to reject neo-Nazism.

    If you, dear reader, happen to be a Satanist with a website, I would urge you to put at least one page on your site explaining, in your own words, why you reject neo-Nazism. And I do mean a page, not just a brief disclaimer. This is very important because it lets the rest of the world (including new and prospective Satanists) know that we aren't all a bunch of Nazis. If the only Satanists who talk about neo-Nazism and related ideas are the neo-Nazis and other Nazi sympathizers themselves, then naturally a lot of people are going to get the (false) impression that the neo-Nazis are a majority among us. Furthermore, if hardly anyone speaks up publicly in response to the neo-Nazis, this creates, within the Satanist scene, an even more unpleasant atmosphere  -  indeed, an outright threatening atmosphere  -  for people who might be feeling very drawn to Satan but who happen to be anything other than a genetically pure white "Aryan" gender-conforming heterosexual. Most importantly, if more of us publicly oppose neo-Nazism, then the neo-Nazis who hang around the Satanist scene are more likely to realize, sooner, that the Satanist scene isn't such a good recruiting ground after all. Most of them do realize this eventually anyway and move on to greener pastures, but it would be nice if they would realize it sooner.

    Below are other things that some Satanists can do or have done to oppose neo-Nazism in our ranks, besides just arguing against it.

  7. Being an uncloseted GLBT person, Jew, etc.
  8. In my Theistic Satanism forums, there have been at least two kids who held neo-Nazi views when they first arrived, but who then moved away from those views. In both cases, the main thing that led them away from neo-Nazism was getting to know some Jews personally and becoming friends with them.

    Looking now at the history of the larger Satanist scene, there were a lot of neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene back in the 1990's. Their numbers, or at least their visibility, seemed to go down dramatically around the year 2000. I think their numbers most likely went down for two reasons:

    1. The good economy of the late 1990's. A good economy tends to reduce the number of racists, etc. in general. When things are bad, people look for scapegoats. They may grow out of it when things get better.
    2. Mass media appearances by John Allee, who is openly bisexual, and by Marilyn Manson, who is apparently heterosexual but likes to dress in women's clothes. Most likely, their high visibility went a long way toward convincing quite a few neo-Nazis that the Satanist scene is not a good place to recruit potential neo-Nazis.

    More recently, the number of neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene now seems to be creeping back up, along with the number of neo-Nazis in general. Partly I would suspect that this is due to the bad economy after 2001. But, among Satanists, I suspect that it also has something to do with Marilyn Manson leaving the Satanist scene and John Allee not being featured as much by the international mass media as he once was.

    Based on this history, I conclude the following:

    1. One of best ways to reduce the number of neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene would be for more gay and transgender Satanists to come out of the closet, at least within the Satanist scene if not in the world at large, thereby using the homophobia of most neo-Nazis against them to repel them from the Satanist scene. This would, at the very least, help to repel those neo-Nazis who aren't really committed to Satanism but just see the Satanist scene as a fertile recruiting ground.
    2. It would help even more if a lot of Satanists of Jewish background could come out of the closet as well. And it might help to remind neo-Nazi Satanists, at every opportunity, that Anton LaVey was of Jewish background. Neo-Nazis tend to be ridiculously paranoid about Jews, so, if you happen to be Jewish, you might as well use their paranoia against them. If you happen to run into neo-Nazis in an online Satanist forum, tell them your best friend works for a secret almighty spy network that knows everything about every neo-Nazi in the world, even how many times per week they all jerk off in the bathroom .... It would probably be a good idea to keep it blatantly satirical, lest your posts end up getting turned, seriously, into the next Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Yes, a lot of neo-Nazis  -  including some of the Joy of Satan folks  -  really are that paranoid about Jews. If enough Satanists of Jewish background were to come out of the closet, their presence might be just what's needed to make a lot of neo-Nazi Satanists realize how silly their anti-Jew racism is. It also would definitely scare away those neo-Nazis who are in the Satanist scene just to recruit.
    3. It would also help if anyone who is anything but a genetically pure white "Aryan" gender-conforming heterosexual would come out of the closet, as whatever you are, at least within the Satanist scene. But it should be noted that at least some of the neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene don't hate people of non-white races anywhere nearly as much as they hate Jews. Strangely enough, one of the leading Nazi sympathizers in the Satanist scene, Joy of Satan founder Maxine Dietrich, is herself part American Indian. Not only that, but there are quite a few neo-Nazis both within the Satanist scene and outside it who aim to build a coalition of anti-Jew racial nationalists of different races. To that end, the Joy of Satan group's online forums include one for Satanists of African descent. Nevertheless, it seems to me that a more visible presence of more people of various non-white ethnicities would help at least a little bit, and it would certainly help to diversify the Satanist scene, which I think would be a good thing in and of itself.

    Two important clarifications:

    1. It is up to each of us to decide how uncloseted we want to be about whatever, based on what best serves our own personal interests. I don't favor pressuring anyone to be out of the closet. However, those who do choose to be out of the closet about being a GLBT Satanist, an ethnically Jewish Satanist, or a Satanist of some non-white ethnicity should be thanked for so doing, in my opinion  -  all the more so if they are also visible as public Satanists in the real world, but also if they are visible only online.
    2. For those who are visible only online, or in only a limited fashion in the real world, I do not mean to suggest that they should be "uncloseted" in the sense of giving out identifying personal information such as one's legal name. In general I think the latter is a bad idea for the vast majority of Satanists. By "coming out of the closet within the Satanist scene," I simply mean mentioning occasionally, on websites and in online posts, that one is GLBT, ethnically Jewish, or whatever.

    But the history of the Satanist scene does indeed seem to show that it would help us a lot if there were more visible Satanists of various minorities. I'll do my part by mentioning occasionally that I'm a polyamorous lesbian-leaning bisexual, and that I have fond memories of a period in my life when nearly all my close friends were nonreligious Jews (though I myself am not of Jewish ancestry). Alas, the homophobia of most neo-Nazis seems to be directed a lot more at gay men than it is at lesbians.

  9. Satanist neo-Nazis vs. their fellow neo-Nazis
  10. As far as I can tell, Neo-Nazi Satanists are even less popular among their fellow neo-Nazis than among their fellow Satanists. The neo-Nazi movement is also full of infighting, every bit as much so as the Satanist scene. So, if you happen to be a person who wants very badly to strike a blow against the neo-Nazi movement, and if you have a lot of time to spend on this, you can cause quite a bit of chaos within the neo-Nazi movement by bringing public Satanist neo-Nazi groups and leaders to the attention of their fellow neo-Nazis.

    For example, in July 2006, when it became widely known among neo-Nazis that Maxine Dietrich, founder and High Priestess of the Joy of Satan (JoS), is the wife of Clifford Herrington, founder and chairman of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), this caused some pretty severe disruption to the NSM. The ball got rolling in June 2006, when an anti-racist group called Citizens Against Hate (CAH) discovered the NSM/JoS link. Then Dann, former High Priest of the Joy of Satan, still a Satanist, contacted CAH and gave them more information. CAH in turn used Dann's information, together with their own findings, to stir up lots of trouble amongst various neo-Nazis, almost completely destroying the NSM.

    This story, minus the very beginning, is told on the websites of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and an Australian anti-racist group called Fight Dem Back. See also the following postings on the CAH site: (1) The Bitch, The Witch, & The Con Man (2) Bill White Resigns?, (3) Satan-Gate, Part 1, and (4) Satan-Gate, Part 2. The latter articles, plus a few more, can also be found on the "Nikki's Nest" blog with comments from various people including me: (1) Satan, The NSM, & The Chairman, (2) The Bitch, The Witch, & The Con Man, (3) Bill White Resigns?, (4) Satan-Gate, Part 1, (5) Satan-Gate Part 2, (6) Satan-Gate Fallout Report 1, (7) Terrible Tommy Says Bill White Lied, (8) Blood-Letting, or It Ain't Over Til It's Over, (9) Fallout Continues, and (10) Satan's Gate Revisited.

    Conspicously absent from any of the above stories is any mention of the fact that CAH had been given lots of info about the JoS by a Satanist. Nor is there any mention of the fact that there are Satanists who aren't neo-Nazis.

    In my replies on Nikki's blog and via private email, I tried to educate the CAH folks about Satanism. At some point, I specifically asked Nikki (Nicole Nichols) to mention, in one of her articles or on one of her radio shows, that there are Satanists who aren't neo-Nazis. She refused. I forget her exact reason, but what it basically amounted to was that she was just too weirded out by the very idea of Satanism of any kind. Another CAH activist, Floyd Cochran, seemed more educable; but, as far as I am aware, I didn't succeed in persuading anyone in CAH to mention publicly that there are Satanists who aren't neo-Nazis. (Any CAH person reading this, please correct me if I'm wrong.) Dann, the ex-JoSer who gave information to CAH, says he does vaguely recall seeing something written by a CAH person to the effect that there were Satanist groups that disagree with the JoS's blending of Satanism with neo-Nazism, but he doesn't recall whether anyone in CAH ever acknowledged that Dann himself is still a Satanist. I'm not able to find anything on the CAH website which says that there are Satanists who dislike neo-Nazism. Admittedly, the CAH website is not organized in such a way as to make it easy to find anything other than the most recent stories, so it's quite possible I'm missing something. Nevertheless, the tone of most of the CAH posts is definitely hostile toward Satanists in general, as distinct from just something like "Ha ha! We caught you Christian neo-Nazis in a big inconsistency here, haven't we?"

    If you, dear reader, happen to be a Satanist who has decided to provide information to an anti-racist group outside the Satanist scene regarding a Satanist neo-Nazi group, I would strongly urge you to negotiate carefully with the anti-racist group before you give the group all your information. At the very least, please get them to agree to acknowledge that they got their information from a Satanist who rejects neo-Nazism, even if you don't want them to mention your name. Please also make sure that they don't have a hostile attitude toward Satanists in general, and please get them to agree to avoid portraying Satanism in an inflammatory manner.

    Important clarification:  I do not favor violating the privacy of individual Satanists who happen also to be neo-Nazis but closeted about either their Satanism or their neo-Nazism. We should respect each other's right to keep both our beliefs and our personal lives private. However, in the case of the Joy of Satan, Maxine was already public about both her Satanism and her neo-Nazi agenda; and it was already common knowledge among Satanists that the JoS and the Tulsa NSM unit shared the same P.O. box, a fact which could easily be verified by checking the websites of both groups. I do not favor violating the personal privacy even of leaders; I've long had mixed feelings about Dann's exposÚs of the Joy of Satan, because I do feel that, in some ways which I will not spell out here, Dann has at times violated Maxine's personal privacy. (I've spoken up about this occaionally in at least one of Dann's online fourms.) But I see nothing wrong with Dann bringing already-public, easily verifiable facts to the attention of people who could use that information to put pressure on the neo-Nazi movement. If a public Satanist leader or group also publicly endorses neo-Nazism and is already publicly and verifiably known to have close ties to some neo-Nazi group, then there's no reason why their fellow neo-Nazis shouldn't know about it too.

    Nevertheless, I would urge caution about enlisting the aid of organizations like Citizens Against Hate or giving them information. Unfortunately, at the present time, quite a few activists against "hate groups" are rather hostile toward Satanists in general. (See my page on Neo-Nazism and unpopular minority religions: A request to anti-Nazi watchdog groups.) This may change in the future if enough of us take a sufficiently visible stand against the neo-Nazis among us, and if a bunch of us then make an effort to educate anti-"hate group" activists on what we've done. Even then, it will likely take some time to change the attitudes of some of these anti-racist activists. Until then, I think we should avoid giving information to people who will only use it to vilify Satanists as well as neo-Nazis. I think it would be far better for us to find our own ways of both discouraging the neo-Nazis in the Satanist scene and, if some of us can figure out ways to do so on our own, provoking discord between Christian (or, for that matter, Odinist) neo-Nazis and those neo-Nazis who try to recruit Satanists.

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