I was struck by this report from Colorado:
Pagosa subdivision bans peace wreathNow I can understand how some dyed in the wool advocates of War can protest, at Christmas time, about a peace symbol. After all, it is the same mind set that got us into this mess to begin with. But that last accusation, a symbol of Satan, well, that threw me.
By Robert Weller
The Associated Press
DENVER — In a town in scenic southwestern Colorado, homeowners are battling over whether a Christmas wreath that includes a peace sign is an anti-Iraq war protest or a promotion of Satan. (emphasis added)
I am almost certain that the peace symbol that we now are familiar with arose in the 1950's with the antinuclear movement in Britain, spearheaded by Bertrand Russell. In the U.S. it included Linus Pauling on its roster. Everyone is familiar with:
And I am almost equally sure that this sign came from the semaphore sign for the letter "N" (as in Nuclear):
This local controversy is just another manifestation of the Christianist movement, so ably commented on by Glenn Greenwald, Tristero on the subject (at Hullabaloo) and others. Christianism has been around in America for quite some time. It is the same impulse behind the Klu Klux Klan, Father Coughlin, the John Birch Society, and, more recently, the fundamentalist movement with Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Moral Majority morphing into the Christian Coalition, and even Opus Dei. In addition, it is the impulse behind a President of the United States, which has a Constitution separating organized Relition and the State, claiming seriously that he "talks with God."
In is my belief that all of these groups subvert the normal human craving for spirituality, which finds its most common expression in formal religion (Chritianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Animism, etc. (Judaism is #12)) and direct it, as is well described in the blogs mentioned above, towards political aims. This perversion of Christianity into Christianism is most prevlalent in America. It leads to this absurd linking of the the Peace symbol, which was also, it must be confessed, a political symbol, with the bugaboo of all major religions, the devil:
Cross of Nero - Or Peace sign. Another sign that mocks the cross of Jesus. Also know as "The Dead Man Rune". It appears on the tombstones of some of Hitler's SS troops.But, and it is a big but, the people who consider the Peace symbol satanic also consider almost every other iconic symbol satanic, probably including this one.
Here is the offending wreath itself: