SatanCon and Goblins: BBC Targeted in Satanic Panics

On GB News, Darren Grimes presents a boilerplate rant against the BBC; among the various reheated and endlessly recylced talking points (H/T Reuben Willmott):

…they’ve been accused of painting illegal immigration in a sympathetic light, and even discussing things like Satanism, of all things.

Here Grimes is referring specifically to an article that appeared in on the BBC News website in May about the Satanic Temple’s SatanCon in Boston the previous month. GB News capitalised this at the time, running a poll:

A study finds people living in the UK are among the least religious.

In the same week, the BBC published an article titled “The Satanic Temple: Think you know about Satanists? Maybe you don’t.” Have we lost our faith, or is there a godless agenda being pushed by sinister forces?

The wording was ambiguous: is the popularity of the Satanic Temple simply an alleged symptom of “a godless agenda being pushed by sinister forces”, or is the group in fact itself one of these “sinister forces”? The latter idea, of course, conflates the provocative and satirical anti-religion of the Satanic Temple with popular beliefs about people supposedly dedicating themselves in secret to the pursuit of wickedness, up to and including sexual abuse and even murder – the tropes of the Satanic Panic. Or was the BBC itself is the target here? That would appear to be what Grimes would like us to infer. Presumably, his view is that the BBC ought not to have reported on SatanCon, or else ought to have written something denouncing it.

The idea that the BBC is promoting Satanism is also currently being spread among new right influencers on account of the “Goblin Song”, a humorous musical number that appeared in Doctor Who on Christmas Day. Goblins sing about their plans to eat a kidnapped baby (who is rescued from a conveyor belt leading to the maw of the Goblin King by the Doctor and his new companion Ruby), with lyrics that include “Baby blood and baby bones / Baby butter for the baby scones”. According to the Reverend Daniel French:

There is a fantastical glorification of flesh eating that seems like moronic innuendo of Christianity. There is something about the lyrics which is just too coincidental. Did you see the Jordan Peterson and Jim Caviezel interview where they discussed how actors who play very dark antagonists (ie the Joker) have to be careful for their soul?

French was billed a “noted podcaster, commentator and writer” at May’s National Conservativism conference, where he delivered content “on behalf of Rod Dreher”; in June, he appeared as one of NTD’s “British Thought Leaders” (a title I blogged here). His comment was posted in response to another vicar, Jamie Franklin, who had expressed the view that the song is “disgusting” and that “the people who wrote it are sick”. Franklin, who calls himself a “based vicar”, is another podcasting cleric. John Bye notes that he is “a member of covid misinformation group HART”, and draws attention to a podcast from a year ago in which Franklin interviewed Andrew Bridgen MP; Bridgen reportedly used the opportunity to make “more wild accusations, including that Pfizer deliberately designed their vaccine to damage our immune systems and that the media is engaged in a smear campaign against him!”

John also notes that the Goblin Song has upset anti-vax activist Mark Sexton, who has urged people to “complaint to the BBC for child sacrifice”. Of course, Satanic conspiracism has an affinity with Covid conspiracism, as shown for example by Michael Yeadon.

2 Responses

  1. From the other side of the political spectrum a few people are condemning the same scene as an antisemitic depiction of the Blood Libel. Were goblins seen as an antisemitic stereotype by fantasy fans before the controversial depiction of them as magic bankers in the Harry Potter stories?

  2. Given that have some people in Scotland have recently being convicted due to, among other things, being accused of the rather unlikely crime of putting kids in microwaves, it strikes me that the Satanic panic is most certainly back.

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