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Oh Great. Now ‘Satanic Panic’ Is Trending.

Oh Great. Now ‘Satanic Panic’ Is Trending.

Always interesting to log on and see that “Satanic Panic” is trending on social media. If you’re of a certain age, you may remember the hay days of the Satanic Panic in the 1970s and 80s, in which some well-meaning Christians (and, let’s be honest, some opportunistic grifters) got roiled up over a supposed wave of satanism sweeping the nation, kidnapping children, sacrificing virgins and infiltrating the highest levels of power. The rabid obsession with protecting America from surging satanism faded over time, especially as thousands of investigations into allegations failed to turn up a single confirmed case of ritualistic satanic abuse. A few years back, the mythbusting podcast You’re Wrong About did an excellent deep dive into the contours of the Satanic Panic. 

So why is it trending now? 

It appears to be the result of a magazine editor who suggested that while the actual panic was overblown, it did inadvertently draw attention to sexual abuse of the non-satanic variety. That’s the sort of hot take that gets reactions coming out of the woodwork, both to argue with the point and (in some cases) to lend it support. It’s true that child sexual abuse started to get more attention around this time, as more survivors started speaking out their horrific experiences in institutions like the Boy Scouts, the Southern Baptist Church, the Catholic Church and public schools across the U.S., and their stories continue to ripple today. Can the Satanic Panic take credit for any of that? The debate in the replies is pretty robust, but as reasons for “Satanic Panic” trending go, this one’s pretty benign. 

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