Satanic 3/31/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

An advertisement crossed my path today from a very large company based in my hometown.  This company makes a plethora of products, and the odds are very good that you have at least a few of them in your home right now.  It’s been around for so long that, as I understand it, one of its earliest products was a whipped soap, the first bar soap that floated.  Back when it was developed, primarily women would wash the family laundry by hand in the river with hand soap.  Unfortunately, soap is slippery and when it was dropped, it would sink and often be lost.  Soap that floats doesn’t last as long as other soaps, but it can be more easily recovered when it is dropped.  This soap is still available today and is usually one of the less expensive hand soaps available because it is a lot of air.

Since then, this company (the name of which I am desperately trying to avoid mentioning) has made a plethora of additional household products.  Their big one is a toothpaste, but they also make laundry detergent and softener and so many other products that I am often surprised when I see their logo on something that I bring home from the grocery store.  The one thing that is always consistent, however, is that regardless of the product, it’s always of the highest quality.

This company is a great neighbor in the city.  They participate in local philanthropic activities, and work with local universities.  They always purchase the newest and best instrumentation for their quality control labs, which means that they often replace equipment that is only a couple of years out-of-date.  It is my understanding that they make their “outdated” equipment available for academic labs for use in education.

In the ‘80’s, somebody decided that this company’s logo is “Satanic”, simply because, at the time, it included stars.  The allegations, of course, were ridiculous, and anybody who knows how this company interacts with its community would know that “Satanic” is simply not a word to describe it.  And yet, news organizations picked up on the allegations, and the story spread like wildfire.  I remember hoping that the company would stand its ground.

When allegations such as this are made, there are really two choices.  The company can stand its ground, pointing out how ridiculous the claims are, or they can back down.  If they were to stand their ground, it means really two things.  First, recognizing that, in time, the stories will become boring as so often happens in the media’s eyes (look at the war in the Ukraine, for example).  When this happens, the story will simply fade into the past.  But that raises the second issue, in that, even after it fades, there are those that will still believe the story regardless of its ridiculous nature and avoid their products altogether.  This will likely be a small fraction of their customers, but it will still be a mark against the reputation of this company.

The company took the other way out.  They of course denied that there was any Satanic intention in their logo, but they changed it anyway.  The problem with backing down like this is that it empowers the radical elements in our society, the simple-minded and most easily offended.  This, sadly, has become the nature of our society, now with far too many elements in the government backing these people.  County clerks can shirk the responsibilities of their office by refusing to grant marriage licenses based on their personal beliefs rather than the law, and politicians use the action for personal gain to further their career.  Church affiliated hospitals can use their interpretation of the Bible to refuse critical services for the lives of their clients.  Even pharmacists can put their own sensibilities over the prescriptions of medical professionals.

More and more often, I wonder if this is really the kind of society that I want.  The government restricting what teachers can and cannot discuss, limiting their Constitutional rights to free speech instead of parents taking a more active role in their own children’s education by teaching the family morals and beliefs should not be happening.  Every day we seem to move closer to becoming a theocracy by moving farther away from separation of church and state.  In a nation built on individual rights, we seem to be losing more of them every day in favor of somebody’s interpretation of their Bible.  What our ancestors fought and died for are less important in the eyes of our politicians every day.


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