If you were a Satanist and were asked to name some of your favorite bands, chances are Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, Sepultura, Napalm Death, Slayer and countless others would be on your list. But would the Red Hot Chili Peppers make your list? The good Christians over at Christ in Prophecy seem to think so. You see, back in 1991, the RHCP won an award at the MTV Awards show where frontman Anthony Kiedis had the pearl-clutching gall to thank Satan…
along with Louis Armstrong, Salvador Dali, the Rollins Band, the Marx Brothers, Miles Davis, Muhammad Ali, and many others.
But on the Lamb and Lion Ministry website, they wrongly attribute the quote to a band “spokesman”, and as usual, blow it out of proportion.
First, let me clear the air by saying this: The Red Hot Chili Peppers are not Satanists. Full stop. They’re not even a metal band. They’re like the Kidz Bop version of Disturbed, who is the Raffi version of Mastodon. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have had accusations of Satanism hurled at them over the past 25 years since the stunt. The RHCP took the suggestions of them being Satan worshipers in stride, even when Kiedis’ grandmother, a devout Christian, was furious at the time. In his 2004 memoir Scar Tissue Kiedis wrote,”I had to write Granny a postcard on her eightieth birthday, explaining that I wasn’t really a Satanist.”
Not that there is anything wrong with being a Satanist. By and large, most people (wrongly) associate Satanists with child sacrifices, or any kind of sacrifices, and animal mutilation, thanks largely in part to the Satanic panic of the 1980s and the McMartin Preschool trial.
What you might not know about Satanists is that they don’t worship the devil; they’re atheists. From the Church of Satan’s FAQ:
We don’t. Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.
Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”
Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person.
What also might shock many are the various campaigns in which the The Satanic Temple is involved (different than the Church of Satan). For example, they’ve been fighting for women’s reproductive rights regularly, fighting for the separation of church and state, even going so far as to file a lawsuit to prevent a Ten Commandments monument from being installed on Arkansas’ Capitol grounds.
Look, 1991 was a long time ago. Hell, in 1991, I still believed in Santa Claus, that cartoons were just shows where humans got sucked in through the TV, and that my stuffed animals had feelings. Maybe in 1991, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were Satanists, but it’s not likely. Even if they were, 26 years is a long time to change views on anything. Furthermore, I’m not sure being “accused” of being a Satanist is a bad thing anymore. I think this accusation speaks more about the Christians who hold onto a caricatured version of Satan and think people aspire to or worship that version instead of doing the heavy lifting and really seeing what their non-theistic religion is all about.
Or maybe they just really hate the Red Hot Chili Peppers.