Straight White American Jesus

A podcast on religion and politics hosted by Daniel Miller and Bradley Onishi, ex-ministers who are now scholars of religion.

Satanic Panic, Then and Now

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“In the 1980s and early 1990s, psychologists, law enforcement officials, nationally syndicated talk show hosts, and at least one sitting U.S. senator believed Satanists were corrupting our nation’s youth through predatory childcare centers, encrypted rock music, and tabletop gaming systems that could serve as literal gateways to hell.” -Megan Goodwin, PhD

Brad welcomes Dr. Megan Goodwin back to the show to talk about the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Dr. Goodwin explains how individual reports of abuse at the hands of supposed Satanists led to a national movement to root out the hidden cabals of demonic forces in American society. The problem? They didn’t exist. But that didn’t stop the FBI from spending millions to investigate, local law enforcement from arresting dozens of innocent people, and talk show hosts and politicians discussing the phenomenon on television and on the Senate floor.

For Goodwin the Satanic Panic is a direct precursor to QAnon. Both movements conjure a sexual abuse ring as their enemy while overlooking the sources and perpetrators of abuse at work in the fabric of everyday American life. They are scapegoat movements created to distract from the startling truth that the abuse in most cases is coming from within trusted sources of the community, rather than from demonic outside forces.

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