". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


At Grammys and Elsewhere, the Devil Is in the Details

February 9, 2023

I didn’t watch the Grammys, so I first heard that people were worshipping Satan at the Grammys on social media. I admit to being skeptical, not just because I heard about it on social media and skepticism is always the correct response, but also because I’ve seen accusations of Satanism before.

As much as I love my conservative Christian brothers and sisters, we are not immune to hyperbole. I was once told the name of the band AC/DC stood for “Anti-Christ, Devil’s Children” — which turned out not to be true. Even Christian rock bands, I was told, were undercover agents for Satan because of the back beat and distorted guitar sounds. So, yeah, I’m skeptical.

But then I watched the performance. Even before it started, Madonna, who called the performance “beautifully unholy” was getting us ready for what was to come. Sam Smith and Kim Petras performed the song “Unholy” on a stage that had been transformed into a glamorous version of hell. It included all the sexiness those who want to spend eternity away from God imagine hell has but didn’t include any of the torment, weeping, or gnashing of teeth.

Everything was red, black, and poorly lit but the lake of fire that consumed the stage provided enough light to clearly see the silhouettes of the dancers turned witches. At first the witches gyrated but ultimately, they bowed before Sam Smith whose devil’s horns and staff had transformed him, unmistakably, into a likeness of Satan. When a coven of witches is bowing before a likeness of Satan, it becomes difficult to describe it as something other than “satanic” just as it would be difficult to describe a likeness of angels bowing before the throne of God singing “holy, holy, holy” as anything other than Christian. Apropos of something, perhaps, we were notified at the close of the song that the performance was brought to us by Pfizer. The entire scene felt like a clip from a dystopian film that was showing media clips from the future to illustrate how bad things had become.

The performance got the reaction they likely expected as conservative Christians took to social media to highlight and condemn the glamorization of Satan worship in primetime. In fact, the reaction is probably exactly what they were hoping for. In the entertainment industry, all press is good press and a lot of people, including me, who would never watch the Grammys and had never heard of Sam Smith or Kim Petras, were now talking about them.

But we should object when Satan is being worshipped on TV.

Predictably, the sophisticated class were quick to dismiss the criticisms. We were assured that anyone bothered by Satan worship at the Grammys just doesn’t appreciate edginess or good art. The website Billboard.com went a step further in their response to the criticism arguing that concerns about Satanism were a distraction from the historic victory for LGBTQ rights the performance represented.

What those of us who were unfamiliar with the performers did not realize is that Sam Smith identifies as non-binary — whatever that means — and Kim Petras is a man who has undergone significant surgical and chemical interventions to look like a woman. Petras later became the first transgender-identifying performer to win a Grammy which, in their minds, made this night “historic,” not “Satanic.” According to Billboard, “Instead of celebrating the fact that the pair made history for the LGBTQ community that night, conservative viewers slammed the performances for promoting the worship of Satan.” You see, we shouldn’t be concerned if Satan is being worshipped as long as LGBTQ stuff is being promoted.

Of course, this is the game the sexual revolutionaries have been playing for generations. Repeatedly, we are told to overlook evil things because those evil things are being done in the name of some greater good.

Don’t worry about the cartoon pornography being read to your seven-year-old because his loss of innocence is helping to further LGBT rights. Don’t object to the dismembering of a child hours before it is born, it’s women’s rights! Don’t be sad when a teenage girls cut off her breasts or a boy cuts off his penis, human rights! Don’t be upset when a child is commoditized and permanently taken away from its mother to be raised by two men, be happy because it helps create the impression that same-sex couples are the same as opposite-sex couples.

At every step of the way, we’re told that the terrible and tragic thing we are witnessing are actually wonderful.

As if to prove the point that we really can be made to call any evil thing good, they decided to worship Satan and tell us it’s great because the worship leaders are transgender. We are being played, and if you want to understand who we are being played by, just go watch the Grammys.

Joseph Backholm is Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council.