The return of Satanic Panic?

Joseph Quinn is Dungeon Master Eddie Munson in “Stranger Things 4”. Dungeons and Dragons has seen a resurgence recently. NETFLIX PICTURES

There’s a funny tweet with that thought – ‘Top Gun’ is number one movie, Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill (Deal With God)’ earns top spot on Billboard charts and USA disagrees with Russia. Are you sure it’s not 1986?

These aren’t the only things with ’80s (or maybe late medieval?) undertones. With the announcement of the construction of an exorcism centre, otherwise known as ‘St. Michael Center for Spiritual Liberation’ in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati, could we too be entering a new era of satanic panic in the Philippines?

The satanic panic of the 80s is part of the plot of the final season of Netlfix’s “Stranger Things”. In the wake of gruesome deaths, the residents of Hawkins, Indiana inevitably set their sights on rocker and dungeon master Eddie Munson as a pawn used by the devil to carry out his dastardly deeds.

Viewers know he’s innocent, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being part of both a rock band and a Dungeons and Dragons game group called “The Hellfire Club” makes him the prime suspect.

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In the 80s, I remember listening to the religious show “700 Club” at 11:30 p.m. one night (it was one of those late night shows you watched before the stations ended) and it warned us all of “Dungeons and Dragons” being a gateway to manipulation by Satan.

There was actually a 1982 TV movie called “Mazes and Monsters” starring Tom Hanks based on a book about the dangers of fantasy role-playing games. In high school, people were also warned about the rock songs I listened to – that there were supposed satanic messages hidden in songs by Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and more.

St. Michael’s Center, which is expected to be completed late next year, will house the Archdiocese of Manila Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena, the Office of the Ministry of Exorcism, the Office of the Ministry of Visions and phenomena and the headquarters of the Philippine Association of Catholic Exorcists.

A Daily Mail article says that according to the church, “the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical stress caused by the pandemic has created a perfect storm for demonic possessions and intervention.”

Apart from Covid, “witchcraft and unhealthy domestic lives” also contribute to the physical harassment of people by evil spirits.

I just hope it doesn’t lead to some version of religious red-marking or real witch-hunting like they did from the 15th to the 18th century and there will be men and women of medical science at board to examine anyone they bring in for an exorcism. What if they just have a real mental breakdown or if they have a psychiatric disorder?

Regarding the stress of the pandemic, I think focusing on social services and asking the government to eliminate all corruption in the provision of health services so that the facilities, programs and funding of a staff also resolve this level of stress and its effects.

All of this made me think of director Penny Lane’s 2019 documentary “Hail Satan” which paints a picture of the modern Satanic Temple (TST) in the United States.

The Satanists she features in the documentary champion religious freedom, challenge corrupt authority, and would rather see the plurality of religions publicly represented than to have one religion so dominant that it strongly influences governance and politics. And yes, it asks why the TST is the subject of scorn and derision when hundreds of thousands of minors have been recorded as victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church over the past seven decades.

The documentary mentions the “seven fundamentals” of the TST and number five being quite relevant, “beliefs should be consistent with one’s best scientific understanding of the world. Care should be taken never to twist scientific facts to fit one’s own needs. beliefs.”

The first, however, is: “One must strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.” That’s why they had cut ties with a prominent figure, Jex Blackmore, who had taken more extreme actions as offensive to the President (at the time, it was Donald Trump). Lucien Greaves of TST reiterated that he espouses non-violence. The final part of the documentary shows them doing a blood drive, collecting socks for the homeless, and cleaning up the beach (albeit using pitchforks).

I think it’s pretty scary when we let our emotions – fear, depression, anger – take hold of us and cause us to jump to conclusions that might hurt someone who has different beliefs but is innocent. Like our friend, Eddie Munson.

Perhaps when it comes to fighting evil, the focus should shift from deviants and dissenters to those who abuse authority and don’t think about inflicting trauma on others.

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