Some of you may have seen the brouhaha last week after Paula White — a televangelist and pastor who is one of Donald Trump’s chief religious advisors — was recorded praying that “all satanic pregnancies would miscarry.” Considering that White’s prayer came shortly after the National March for Life — arguably the most important pro-life rally in America — you might think that it was, at the very least, in poor taste.
Not surprisingly, a lot of folks criticized White, including the Church of Satan. I’m no fan of White, if only because of her prosperity gospel heresy, and I have theological disagreements with various aspects of the Pentecostalism within which she operates. However, it was clear that some of the responses to White’s “satanic miscarriage” prayer revealed simple ignorance concerning her theology.
This excellent David French piece provides the necessary context for understanding what, exactly, White was praying for even as it points out why her words were still problematic. Here’s the most relevant part:
So, translating White, she seeks to liberate the animal and marine world of demonic influences, and when she speaks of “satanic pregnancies” or “satanic wombs,” she is referring not to human pregnancies and human wombs, but rather of satanic ideas and plans “birthed” in the spiritual realm.
I highly recommend reading the whole thing, though. It’s easy to mock White’s prayer and its extreme language, but doing so can dismiss the fact that hundreds of millions of Christians around the world pray similar prayers and employ similar language as they combat what they perceive to be demonic influences in this world.
If you’re an irreligious person, that sentence may dismay and disturb you, but it’s the reality. This is where religious literacy comes in handy, even if you’re not a believer. Such literacy can help you better know when to actually be outraged and offended by a religious leader’s comments, and when to just let supposed controversies pass you by.