"We've got trouble, right here in River City, with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for 'pool!'"Some Moral Guardians are so paranoid that they'll attack the most ridiculous things, or will attack them in the most ridiculous ways possible. It's not just your English teacher who would always find hidden meanings in even the most straightforward text; if you believe the Moral Guardians, half the things you read and watch are secretly filled with Satanic and immoral messages supposed to corrupt our children and the poor unsuspecting audience. Essentially, they use Insane Troll Logic to prove that something is The New Rock & Roll. There are a few favorite methods used:
— Harold Hill, on why a pool table is serious trouble.
- Excluded Middle Ground
- Alice wears a shirt with a picture of X on it.
- X is used as a symbol of Y by Z.
- Therefore, the X on Alice's shirt symbolizes Y.
- Bob's middle name is Hikaru.
- "Hikaru" means "to light."
- "Lucifer" means "light-bringer."
- Therefore, "Hikaru" refers to Lucifer and Bob is Satan.
- Devil Of The Gaps
- Make Stuff Up
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Anime and Manga
- Anime in general-and many things associated with it-tends to be viewed as evil, since a lot of anime (children's anime, in particular) deals with magic and fantastic creatures. In many cases where anime or something similar is mentioned, you might hear someone refer to the characters as "Oriental demons" or that the work was "influenced by Japanese Paganism/Occultism". Not only are many of these cases nonsense or misinformed, but they carry some really annoying Unfortunate Implications (since they seem to imply that Japan is Satan's domain). Among these examples include Pokémon and YuGiOh, which are mentioned under the Tabletop Games and Video Games sections below.
- Blade of the Immortal: The main character, Manji, takes the "crux gammata" as both his name and his personal symbol. As a symbol of prosperity and good fortune, the swastika was widely used throughout the ancient world. The anti-Semitic or pro-Nazi meaning did not exist until 1910. Indeed, the swastika is still widely used in Hinduism (and Buddhism, to a lesser extent) as it was for thousands of years all over Eurasia before the Nazis appropriated it to their own use. Every volume of the US release explicitly explains right at the start that the symbol is not a Nazi swastika.
- While certainly played straight often, the anti-Swastika sentiment is actually a subversion in many cases. A lot of people who do recognize when a Swastika is used regardless of the Nazi connotations of it will still want to limit its public perception, at least in their own communities, as Holocaust survivors may be traumatized by just seeing the image too much whether it was intended in its use or not. Even striped pajamas have caused issues occasionally, without anyone thinking they were anti-Semitic.
- Bleach: The tsuba of Ichigo's bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, takes the shape of the kanji for manji, referencing its meaning final. Since the manji resembles a swastika, some have taken to accusing Bleach of being pro-Nazi. Considering the chapter in which Ichigo activates his Fullbring is called "Swastika Break" and the villains of the most recent arc are a militaristic group of Gratuitous German-spouting Quincies on a crusade...
- This trope is basically the reason why The Comics Code was created. In 1954, psychiatrist Fredric Wertham published a book called Seduction of the Innocent which argued that comics were a danger to children. It didn't help that there was a US Congressional hearing being held about comics at the same time. Before the Moral Guardians could crack down, the industry created the Comics Code itself. Eventually, someone actually went through Wertham's notes and found that his book was actually one big load of crap.
- Adolf Hitler considered Superman to be an honorary Jew. (Superman's creators were two Jewish boys, to be fair.) However, since the Nazis referred to non-Aryans as Untermenschen, or "sub-human", you'll encounter people who think Superman is Nazi-related. (One of those people was Frederic Wertham, who was very disturbed by the image of a "superman" wearing an "S" just like the Nazi SS!)
- Harry Potter. Hoo boy. There's been so much brouhaha over the supposed occult and Satanist themes in the series that The Other Wiki had to devote an entire separate article to the subject.
- The series contains "witches". Centuries ago, "witch" strictly meant someone who made a Deal with the Devil; therefore, even though the modern connotation of "witch" is simply "one who can do magic" and has nothing to do with Satanic origins, the magic must be Satanic and encouraging kids to pursue the same! The sad thing is that even a half-close reading of the series shows many parallels with Christian doctrine and the Gospels, especially by Deathly Hallows, but the Moral Guardians just don't know when to stop. One criticized Voldemort's drinking of unicorn blood, claiming that the book was teaching children that they could gain immortality by drinking the blood of something that wasn't Jesus. Of course, they didn't mention the parts where it's explained that drinking unicorn blood is an atrocious thing to do and that while it will stop you from dying, you will live a cursed half-life.note
- Not to mention that Quirrell (Voldemort in the movie) says "There is no good or evil; there is only power, and those too weak to seek it." Horrible philosophy? Yes. That's why he's the bad guy — but some moral guardians cited this as the supposed message of the book.
- It's probably worth noting that some of the accusations that Harry Potter was turning kids on to witchcraft came from an Onion article that someone along the line didn't realize was a joke, forwarded to all their friends, and it blew up from there.
- There were actually quite a few kids that started getting into the occult after Harry Potter got really popular, but if anything the parents were to blame rather than the books. And anyone who actually knows anything about occultism quickly realises that Harry Potter magic is a useless guide anyways.
- The Chronicles of Narnia has actually been banned in some Christian school libraries because it's supposedly Satanic. Never mind its obvious Christian allegories, and never mind that Aslan is literally Jesus.
- It ought be noted that, as with Mr. Potter above, fundamentalists also hated Narnia because it mentioned magic. Making it quite obvious to everyone that apparently every fundamentalist ever skipped the day that symbolism was taught in Language Arts class.
- In the original edition of his anti-Dungeons & Dragons (see below) tract "Dark Dungeons", Jack Chick claimed that the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, which D&D was based on, were... you guessed it. This is hilarious because Mr. Lewis was a professional Christian writer and apologist; one of his more famous works was The Screwtape Letters, in which he details the methods for combating Satan's influence, and the Narnia books are today treated as a Christian substitute for Harry Potter by some parents. Tolkien was also a devout Christian, and was supposedly responsible for Lewis' conversion. However, it's important to note here that Tolkien was a Catholic—Chick (like many fundamentalist Protestants) views Catholicism as not only un-Christian, but a flat-out Satanic deception, frequently using the Catholic Church as the big bogeyman in his tracts and conspiracy theories. Telling Chick that Tolkien was a Catholic, and that he was responsible for Lewis' conversion, would probably only strengthen his negative views of both men's work.
- Jack Chick is hardly the only one to denounce Tolkien as "Satanic"—see this essay for an example.
- Interestingly, the Lord of the Rings books themselves take this stance. All 'magic' is either a product of the villains or the Istari, who are literally Angels sent to guide the mortals against said villains. Everything else, the narrative and the characters take extreme pains to describe as not being magic, merely very skilled creations or natural talents, to the point where Galadriel gets offended when her Mirror is described as magical.
- Twilight gets this treatment here. Yep, Edward Cullen was obviously named after the kid who escaped a Satanic cult that one time, and the chessboard on Breaking Dawn's cover is obviously supposed to look like the floor of a Masonic lodge. Incidentally, Bill Schnoebelen is the guy who claims that Dungeons & Dragons contains "authentic" spells and rituals. Given the bizarre, sensational, and contradictory stories he's told over the years, it's conjectured that he simply makes a large portion of his stuff up.
- Some Internet conspiracy theorists have decided that The Hunger Games is actually designed to brainwash people into accepting the dystopian society it depicts.
- Teletubbies: The purple one with the triangle and handbag is obviously proof that the evil gay liberals are forcing their godless agenda on our innocent children.note He also wore a skirt at times that the other male refused to wear (strangely, it seems this was never brought up by either side).
- Parody sites like Christ Wire play with this a lot. For example, in their analysis of Glee, they accuse the straight Glee club teacher of turning kids into homosexuals because he dances and sings a lot, and they also criticize it for encouraging kids to "have fun in the arts" instead of pursuing "real" careers. They skip over all the show's much more obvious attacks on the Christian Right — like the fact that the celibacy club president becomes pregnant, or the way her ultra-conservative, Glenn Beck-loving parents throw her out of the house when they find out. Even better is their article where they accuse The Golden Girls of turning "a generation of American boys into homosexuals."
- Legendary Firefly hater "Allecto" picked apart just about every action and line of dialogue in the series in an effort to expose what she saw as Joss Whedon's hatred of women. As far as she was concerned, the show was Whedon's manifesto of how he thought women should be abused by men.
- What was even worse was her criticism of the episode Our Mrs. Reynolds, whose first half is largely taken up by Mal loudly protesting that the girl who has apparently been sold to him for getting rid of the bandits plaguing the town is not anyone's property and is free to do as she likes. Not only does she condemn the wife-selling as if Whedon had been openly endorsing it, but she dismisses the viewpoint character's obvious disapproval with "but he can't really mean it, he's a man".
- Jack Chick thinks Bewitched was Satan's first step in getting the occult accepted by mainstream America. Really.
- Jon Stewart parodied Glenn Beck's tendencies towards this trope on The Daily Show where, after 'logically' piecing together numerous 'clues', he was able to reach the conclusion that Bert was Hitler.
- During the infamous Satanic Panic of the 1980's, lots of metal bands such as Slayer and Black Sabbath were accused of hiding Satanic messages in their music via backmasking. Naturally, if you listen to music backwards, and are trying to hear something, the gibberish will sound like something to you. Today, accusations of backmasking are almost always Played for Laughs, though there are still some conspiracy theorists who take them seriously.
- In the late 90's, the main Scapegoat was Marilyn Manson especially during the Antichrist Superstar era with many claiming that the Antichrist refers to Manson himself. Ignoring how this isn't really the case since it is a Concept Album about a fictional person, it wouldn't make sense anyway since it contradicts pretty much everything in the Book of Revelation anyway.
- Parodied with the Worm Quartet's song (link hilarious but NSFW) "What Your Parents Think All Your Music Sounds Like", allegedly "the most evil song ever recorded", which consists entirely of commands exhorting the listener to perform all sorts of misdeeds from raping their mothers to drinking milk straight from the jug, accompanied by a crowd chant of: "SEX! DRUGS! SATAN!"
- According to some conspiracy theorists, trying to grow out of your innocent child star image is proof that the Satanic media is using you to lure innocent children away from their own purity and innocence. For example, Britney Spears' entire life was a plot — start her out on the Mickey Mouse show so parents think she's sweet and innocent, then when she gets older put her in skanky clothes and have her kiss Madonna to lure (former) children into depravity.
- The Tritone. Because it's dissonant, it must be the devil! To clarify: The tritone is not just dissonant. It is the most dissonant interval in existence. It is also the interval between the base tone and the semi-tone between the ultra-consonant perfect fourth and perfect fifth in a scale. The interval is also exactly three whole tones (three being a holy number in Christianity, representing the Trinity, the cardinal virtues, etc.) Both these aspects of course make it extra satanic.
- The Beatles got plenty of flak just for being a rock band. But then Charles Manson found some "call to arms" messages in The White Album, and before you know it, Roman Polanski's wife is dead. A rare case where the people claiming it was evil were not the Moral Guardians, but rather, a Serial Killer cult. "Helter Skelter" got it the worst, given the Manson family even painted it on the walls. Despite the proto-metal sound, the song is about an amusement park ride. Or, well, a relationship being like an amusement park ride, where that ride is a long spiral slide. Which is possibly the most mundane relationship metaphor ever imagined.
- Speaking of the Beatles, the YouTube channel iamaphoney started out as a series of Paul Is Dead videos, but branched out into theories about the Beatles worshipping Aleister Crowley and other such things. For example, the Beatles were known for using backwards tracks, and since Crowley wrote "let him learn to talk backwards..."
- Michael Jackson attempted to preempt this by putting a disclaimer right before the video for Thriller, which depicts supernatural forces reviving the dead (as well as a fictional werewolf in a film within said music video) that he did not believe in the occult. (He was still a devout Jehovah's Witness at the time.)
- During the biggest music-related outrage by Moral Guardians, Dee Snider testified before the Senate in the PMRC hearings because he felt Twisted Sister was being accused of this trope. For instance, Tipper Gore wrote in an article that "Under the Blade", a song Snider wrote about the guitarist being afraid of an upcoming surgery, was as an ode to sadomasochism and rape.
- According to this parody website, everything from candles to paisley prints contains demons waiting to pounce on you. Paisleys, you see, are evil because 1: the design was invented by those heathen Indians, 2: it looks like that heathen Pythagorean comma, and 3: it was printed on fabrics made from goat hair, and anything to do with goats is evil because goats represent Satan.
- The design originally ("originally" in this context meaning "right after they stole it from the Indians who'd been using it for several millenia") came from the Scottish town of Paisley, which anyone who has spent five minutes in will compare unfavorably to Hell, so that site might be onto something after all.
- From the website: "For those of you who demand to see a Scripture before you can believe something, there are NO Scriptures that say YOU do NOT have demons. That should settle it!"
- If you need any more evidence of trolling, it also says: BOYCE and BOICE are two demons that interfere with any electronic equipment, i.e., phone, computer, printer, automobile. If something malfunctions, command these two demons to leave your equipment, in the name of Jesus. We get many emails saying this worked.
- Apparently, every round or semi-round shape in a logo is supposed to represent the Satanic all-seeing eye. Also, they point to logos containing eyes in which the eye makes perfect sense even without the conspiracy angle, such as eyes incorporated into the logos of home-security products. This makes even less sense if you know the symbol can also be used to represent God (because he is omni-cognisant.)
- Anything and everything that is taller than it is wide is a phallic symbol. No exceptions. The same goes for anything that is famous for being larger than its peers. And if it's shorter than it's wide, you just turn it on its side...
- There is a site explaining, in all seriousness, why Santa Claus is an evil Satanic character. One reason was that "Old Nick" is a nickname for Satan. "Old Saint Nick" in fact just derives from "Saint Nicholas," a historical person upon whom Santa Claus was based.
- There's an even sillier claim that Santa is just a Significant Anagram for Satan, which fortunately, most people just take as a joke. In reality, "santa" simply means "saint", which is about as far as a regular human can get from Satan.
- Ironically, this almost works for the Finnish name for Santa Claus, which is "Joulupukki" and means, seemingly nonsensically, "Christmas He-Goat". This comes from a goat St. Nicholas was said to walk around on a leash, which really represented the devil, specifically his having bound it and made it harmless. This is not so much satanic as people having forgotten what the symbolism originally meant.
- One common claim is that the myth of Santa Claus was fabricated by the devil to dispel faith in God, i.e., when children discover that Santa Claus is not real, they will become more likely to apply this same logic to God as well, thus falling within the devil's evil grasp.
- For this reason, even metals aren't immune. Nickel comes from the German Kupfernickel, "Old Nick's copper".
- There's an even sillier claim that Santa is just a Significant Anagram for Satan, which fortunately, most people just take as a joke. In reality, "santa" simply means "saint", which is about as far as a regular human can get from Satan.
- Did you know that the two major colas around the world are both anti-Muslim? Well, that's what some extremists say:
- There is one video by Muslim extremists that claim that Pepsi is pro-Israel. Why? Because Pepsi is an obvious acronym for Pay Every Penny to Save (or Support) Israel. Ironically, Pepsi is less involved in Israel than Coca-Cola is, and neither one can be accused of conspiracy, just of doing business there or not.
- According to some fundamentalist Muslims, Coca Cola's logo can be read as Arabic if it's inverted, and it says "No God, no Mecca." Although you have to squint a lot and do some seriously creative interpretation of the patterns, it resembles more closely the words: "For God, for Mecca." Which means that some fundamentalist Christian out there believes that, but fortunately, few of them can read Arabic.
- If you're wondering what cola the fundamentalists will drink: Some reject cola altogether (which is sort of bizarre, as the kola nut was first introduced to the world outside West Africa by Muslims); others drink Muslim-made colas as The Moral Substitute. Note that the makers of these colas don't necessarily buy into the conspiracy theory themselves (for instance, Mecca-Cola and Qibla Cola, run by Muslims in Europe, were established with the goals of backing Muslim charitable causes like relief for the Palestinians, while Zamzam Cola was produced in Iran after American sanctions denied the country Coca-Cola and Pepsi).
- Vigilant Citizen. A website devoted to finding all of the Illuminati / Masonic symbolism and brainwashing in the pop culture world, from Sherlock Holmes and Disney to Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. There is a swelling undercurrent of believers who have congregated to YouTube to warn of the evils of music videos, children's programming and everything else in popular culture. The amount of reaching (and "research") is scarily staggering. See: the 5 part series on the possession of Beyonce, the 11 part series on Jay-Z's "Satanic Connections", and the 21(!) part series on Rihanna's "Umbrella" video.
- This site, and others like it, hasn't gone unnoticed among the celebrities targeted. Lady Gaga is at the point where she's milking the attention/paranoia of conspiracy theorists for all it's worth, and Jay-Z's response was the brilliant and darkly artistic video for "On to the Next One." They and other celebrities have also used metaphors like "selling their soul to the devil" and "swearing to Lucifer" in interviews, in an effort to troll conspiracy theorists.
- The Beltway Sniper caused fear and panic throughout Washington. Before he was caught, an investigation of one of his nests turned up a tarot card which had the words "I am God" written on it in marker. Despite the many theological or philosophical, or cultural possibilities given from the choice of card and words, some journalists declared that it was clearly a crazed video gamer. Why? Because "I am God" is clearly a reference to "God mode", a term in video games for a cheat that makes you invincible. This leads to the obvious question — if he thought he was in "god mode", why was he hiding?
- The YouTube user gorilla1999 can connect anything to Freemasons, Satanists, and reptilians. There's also a video where he claims that most businesses in the world are controlled by reptilians or Freemasons. One wonders if that applies to Mom & Pop grocery stores as well.
- Christopher Lord, AKA Truthiracy. The contents of his YouTube channel must be seen to be believed - he aims to prove that everything is Satanic. His over-dramatic delivery of everything and his insane troll etymology suggests that it is a Stealth Parody. Of course, you can never really be sure.
- For a while, the Procter & Gamble company suffered from rumors of having links to Satanism, mostly thanks to this company logo◊. It was claimed that the logo was a mockery of Revelation 12:1 ("And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of 12 stars."), since it has 13 stars instead of 12. It didn't help that rival company Amway also helped in propagating the rumors.
- The 13 stars, of course, have more to do with P&G having started in the United States of America, which uses the number 13 in its iconography. Which implies that the USA is itself Satanic by the standards of its own citizens who are followers of this trope. Actually, that explains a lot.
- Some Protestants are convinced that the Catholic Church is secretly a Satanic cult and that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Their "proofs" often include the "horned hand" or "segno delle corna" (an old Italian charm to ward off the evil eye; not Satanic), the upside-down cross on the papal throne (actually based on the tradition that Saint Peter, who is said to have been the first Pope, was crucified upside-down), and the hexagram (appropriated from Judaism; called the "star of creation" by some Christians and used to represent the six days of creation). You can find one of Jack Chick's highly flawed attacks on Catholicism here.
- Glenn Beck once claimed that the artwork outside Rockefeller Center (NBC's corporate headquarters and site of many of their TV studios) in New York was intended to glorify communism and/or fascism, as documented here. In reality, the only artwork that was ever on display at Rockefeller Center that can be considered communist-themed, the mural Man at the Crossroads, was destroyed after an outraged Nelson Rockefeller saw the mural's depiction of Vladimir Lenin and ordered it painted over with one of Abraham Lincoln.
- On a (slightly) less insane note, he has also said that the fasces is an ancient symbol for fascism. It is indeed a Roman symbol for authority, and it was indeed borrowed by Mussolini who named fascism after it, but that's not quite the same. The fundamental symbolism of the fasces (a bundle of reeds: one reed breaks, a bundle doesn't) is appropriate to democracies, republics, and federations, and has been used by Francenote and—significantly—the United Statesnote since the late 18th century (before fascism was even a thing people could imagine).
- Since the colorless energy image on the Pokémon trading card game looks like a hexagram, it's obviously a Zionist conspiracy, hence the game being banned in Saudi Arabia.
- There was also quite an uproar about a Nazi swastika in the background of a Zubat card illustration... turns out, the card image was flipped when brought into America, and it's the symbol of peace they intended to put on the card. Not that most people in America would be able to tell the difference anyway.
- BSD (all types) has this problem since their logo/mascot is a little devil. It also doesn't help that background processes in *nix systems are called daemonsnote .
- There is an urban legend that the word "picnic" derives from "pick a [N Word]" and was originally used to refer to a lynching with food and music for white spectators. Snopes dealt with this one...
- American Sign Language. Because some of the signs use hand shapes that look like the "devil's horns" sign.
- Not Always Right gives us this customer, who goes to an hotel during a convention and claims that the trolls from Homestuck are demons because they have horns and that anyone cosplaying as them must be a devil worshipper. She also thinks that Human Sacrifices will be done at midnight and when she is told that the only thing happening at midnight is a dance, she is quick to twist those words into "A dance with the Devil".
- Hello Kitty has an urban legend associated with it, which claims that it was created as a part of a Deal with the Devil. As you can probably guess, there are quite a few people who believe it...
- The year 2012 saw rumors that the acronym LOL means "Lucifer Our Lord" rather then "Laugh Out Loud" and is used in prayer by Satanists. Debunked here by Snopes.
- Try to mention The Illuminati in one of your works, whether it be satire, or a society based on the Conspiracy. People will take that as evidence you're one of Them.
- Monster Energy Drink is the work of SATAN! To be fair, most people who've tasted Monster would probably agree with the church lady there, though for entirely different reasons.
- YouTube user The Vigilant Christian has made several videos where he is convinced that everything is Satanic. Some of his targets include Disney and Cartoon Network, the former of which he even made a video where he ranted on how Disney hiding subliminal messages in their movies to corrupt children and claiming that Disney was Satanic because the logo for The Walt Disney Company had 666 hidden in the "W" and "T" in Walt and the "Y" in Disney.
- Some subcultures are attacked for encouraging Satanism/celebrating the occult. The Goth subculture is a very prominent example; they dress in black and dabble in the arts, so they must be evil!note It's not just religious zealots, either; for a while, the general public has had quite a few misconceptions about goths being angry and dangerous, specifically after Columbine, as Harris and Klebold had been misidentified as being part of the subculture. Luckily, this seems to have died done significantly, but prejudices don't just disappear completely.
- Dungeons & Dragons — One of the big ones. Certain people have claimed that the game contains "authentic" occult rituals and spells. The immortal Jack Chick did a whole tract, the infamous "Dark Dungeons", about fantasy gaming being a gateway to Satan. This is in spite of the fact that Gary Gygax was himself a Christian — you'd think portraying demons and devils as bad guys, and angels as good guys, would be an obvious enough clue of his actual stance.
- This has caused other game companies (like Rifts publisher Palladium Books) to place a disclaimer in all their books stating that their books are works of fiction and they don't condone the supernatural or occultism.
- Some books actually do include ceremonial and Ritual Magic information. The entire Goetia (Lesser Key of Solomon) made it into Dragon Quest in 1986. Minus the sigils, fortunately.
- Worth mentioning is Magic: The Gathering. It has been associated with everything from pagan rituals to Tarot cards.
- For that matter, Tarot cards were originally just playing cards, until bored rich people in the 19th Century decided to pretend to be wizards. Now, the cards themselves are evil and magical.
- Paranoia was, in the 90's, accused of promoting communism. Another complaint by Christian groups was that it allowed people to play as a Muggle Power anti-mutant secret society dedicated to wiping out every mutant in Alpha Complex despite being mutants themselves. This is true, but said group is portrayed as completely evil and are deliberately made to invoke Nazi-esque imagery. They are in no way the heroes of Paranoia - there are no heroes in Paranoia.
- Parodied in In Nomine. In Nomine is a game about an actual conflict between the angels and the demons where demons are just fallen angels, and yes, capital G God the Almighty exists but chooses not to just end it. The angels (fallen and otherwise) are not sure which religion is true - Laurence is a Catholic, but Gabriel (Jibril) did in fact deliver the Qu'ran to Muhammad. It's played for laughs. The inside cover says, "Satanized for your protection. Do not play this game backwards."
- It's not as common as other examples, but the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game and anime have been attacked for being Satanic and evil. Take this article for example. Part of the argument is that the game encourages summoning Pagan gods and refers to the Ancient Egyptian themes as "occult". And, of course, it mentions almost everything else that gets attacked for being demonic (Harry Potter, Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering).note
- Pretty much any and all video games will be subject to this, since some Moral Guardians consider all video games to be "satanic", with only a few exceptions (see this Wikipedia article for a more in-depth look of the phenomenon). These are just the most egregious examples. These ones were attacked mainly because of their popularity. And obviously anything popular is automatically evil.
- Pokémon — accused of being Satanic for various reasons. Two ridiculous examples that stand out is the accusation that the -mon suffix stands for "demon"note or that the card game is a "stepping stone" to the equally satanic Magic: The Gathering (the fact that Magic is put out by Wizards of the Coast, the same company that first produced Pokémon cards in America, didn't help.) Supposedly, Pope John Paul II even approved of Pokémon, though this does not necessarily help, as many fundamentalist Protestant sects consider him to be the Anti-Christ.
- Arabic countries banned the game due to it containing a six-pointed star — because a six-pointed star was obviously stealth Jewish/Israeli propaganda. More ridiculously, it's been claimed that "Pikachu" means "be a Jew," or worse, "stronger than God" in Latin America. (The truth is much more benign and cutesy. The name is based on a Japanese onomatopoeia, coming out to roughly "Sparklesqueak" in English. Alternatively, it's named after the small fuzzy animal known as a pika. Or it could be both; they do love their puns in Japan, after all.)
- Koga's Ninja Trick shows a manji. What's so bad about a manji? Well, it looks an awful lot like a swastika. Some people thought it meant Pokémon was encouraging Nazism.
- A few distinct Pokémon have been subject to criticism from paranoid watchers. The Pokémon Houndoom has been accused of representing Satanism, since it is characterized as a demon dog with horns and a barbed tail.
- Some people criticized a Pokémon card showing a Registeel raising its arm. Apparently, it resembled a Nazi salute. To the less paranoid, it just looks like it's raising its arm. That pose was also on its sprite in the first two fourth gen games, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, though it was altered in Platinum.
- There are creationists who accuse Pokémon of being anti-Christian because the Pokémon "evolve". Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the franchise will immediately recognize that the "evolution" portrayed in the series has absolutely nothing to do with the actual theory of evolution, and is in fact much more similar to the real-life phenomenon of metamorphosis (caterpillars becoming butterflies and the like).
- Pokémon apparently promotes Roman gladiators, but the arguments in the video are laughably bad. First, he claims Pokémon stands for "Pocket Men", when it stands for Poketto Monsuta, which is "Pocket Monsters" written in Japanese katakana, and claims that Creator Hideo Kajima created the series for Racism. He compares battles to Roman gladiator matches, and Poké Balls as cages they keep the Pokémon in, leaving out the fact that Ash gets along very well with his Pokémon. The fact that the arguments in the video are laughably bad, combined with the fact of his other video subjects, his video about hashtags make him a likely Poe.
- A rage comic here chronicles the author's supposed encounter with the trope (obviously, take it with a grain of salt); a DJ refuses to play the Pokémon theme song, because some people find it anti-religious, but has no problems with playing sexist rap.
- You could call Poe's Law on this one, but check out these two videos for the hidden meanings someone has claimed to find in Legacy of Kain.
- There's no question that the original DOOM eventually takes the player to Hell. Enemies are explicitly referred to as demons. Satanic imagery is rampant. However... the player is tasked with destroying these images and agents of evil, yet the game has been accused of supporting the forces of Hell instead of opposing them.
- Similarly, the Diablo series fell into this for a number of uninformed parents.
- A rumor that started around the early Turn of the Millennium claims that Super Mario Bros. is actually Communist propaganda. Among the many McCarthyist pieces of evidence to support this claim are Mario's resemblance to Joseph Stalin, Mario pulling down a flag with a peace sign (actually meant to be a skull) and putting up a flag with the Red Star at the end of each level, Mario coming from a working-class background, and Mario striving to depose Bowser, a monarch, just like the Bolsheviks deposed the tsar (never mind that Mario's also trying to rescue and reinstate another monarch).
- One of the Bowser events in the Mario Party series is "Bowser Revolution", which would take all the coins from the players and redistribute them evenly so that each player would get the exact same amount. So one could argue that in a sense Bowser has some communist tendencies as well.
- Not even Yo Kai Watch is safe. It seems as if some are appalled by the references to Buddhism that were, surprisingly, left in the game. It doesn't help that the game is literally about paranormal phenomena, which some interpret as "satanic".
- This article is a painfully straight example of this trope. See parents, Chowder is one big hate speech against the mentally ill and the obese! The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack exploits child molestation! The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy will give kids clinical depression!
- Care Bears. One particularly ridiculous example is when the movie was accused of promoting the occult because a character used magic from a talking spellbook. You'd think the fact that the spellbook was the villain would have given them a clue, but apparently not.
- Rainbow Brite — Accused of being Satanic by Texe Marrs. Why? Because it contained stars and rainbows! According to Marrs's logic, if someone who isn't God is throwing around rainbows, that person is definitely promoting Satanism. Surprisingly he didn't seize upon two (actually, three) connections that would have halfway made sense. The star is an ancient symbol of Islam (or, alternately, could be mistaken for the pentagram), while the rainbow is, of course, one of the most famous symbols of gay pride. So, you could say that Rainbow Brite is a satanic Islamist-homosexual!
- Texe Marrs really lives and dies by this trope. In Circle of Intrigue, Texe quotes Hermes Trismegistus as saying "God is a circle." He then reasons that, since, of course, Hermes was obviously a Satanist, Hermes's god is Satan. Therefore, by his logic, anything that uses a circle as a symbol is Satanic. He then goes on to list examples of things that have circles in their logos, coats of arms, or general shape.
- The Year Without a Santa Claus — pulled from TV in some places because Heat Miser was deemed "Satanic." Especially absurd because he looked much more like a clown than like a devil.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic did not escape unscathed, either.
- There's a forum thread which culminates in a debater concluding that the show was actually created by Satan to turn good Christian men gay, apparently in mistaken belief that the show is about "men trying to hook up with each other". And not about, y'know, ponies.
- This article (in Polish) argues that the show is actually evil occult propaganda meant to convert kindergarteners to the false Eastern religions. You know how the protagonist is named Twilight? Well, Twilight means darkness. Also, Celestia's white and Luna's black, so obviously they are meant to represent the yin-yang (this one actually is explicitly shown in the pilot). And a crystal can be seen in one scene, which is no doubt a reference to the Three Jewels in Buddhism. The article also claims that the fact that there are bad guys in a kids show teaches our kids that good cannot exist without being balanced by evil. Which, according to the author, is blatant lies, because "God doesn't need evil to be good, and he's perfect". By such, kids shows should not feature bad guys, to teach kids that the world is only filled with good, because God exists. And yes, it's all apparently 100% serious. Polish articles about religion and cartoons are the best. (The patronizing tone in which it talks about children makes it even worse. It's like the writer is forcibly trying to prove his superiority over children in every sentence.)
- There are also quite a few articles which parody this (or are they really parodies?). The usual themes are that the show is anti-Christian because it includes magic, shows animals as sapient when only humans are made in the image of God, and the fact that the name of the show's producer is Lauren Faust, so she obviously must have a Satanic agenda. A good example is here.
- Not to mention one blogger that accused the show of being racist (due to the two dark-colored pony guards at the foot of Celestia's throne) and Rainbow Dash of being a lesbian (simply because of her mane and her love of athletics), and saying that books won't get you anywhere in life and you need authority figures to tell you how to be happy (completely ignoring the fact that Twilight Sparkle's book knowledge more often than not gives vital information to the characters). After reading it, one gets the impression that the author did not watch past the end of the opening credits. Fortunately, Lauren found out about the blog post and fired back with one that addressed every concern and even criticized the original poster.
- Moral Guardians have accused Disney of promoting a satanic cartoon: Gargoyles. The lead characters do have demonic appearances, but they are not demons or devils. They are sentient, noble creatures and are largely good. The only evil gargoyles are the ones persecuted (or cloned) by humans. The controversy died down as none of the accusers watch a single footage of the series.
- Human Gotara-worshippers in ElfQuest are quick to blame just about anything unpleasant on "evil elf spirits", even if the elves have been suffering the same misfortunes all along (e.g. Madcoil's attacks) and even acted to stop them.
- Exploited by Veronica Cale in a Wonder Woman Story Arc. Wonder Woman (at this time ambassador of Themyscira) had published a book from which Veronica took a phrase out of context and used it to send the Moral Guardians after her.
- Happened in a fashion in a Batman Story Arc revolving around the publishing of a Batman comic within the DC Universe, which is a ridiculously over-the-top Darker and Edgier interpretation of Batman involving the occult. (Bruce Wayne couldn't get them to stop as he obviously never copyrighted Batman.) A Serial Killer calling himself "Batman" proceeded to kill those whom he perceived as "sinners", claiming that it's what Batman would've done. The comic book writer stopped making any more by the third issue, claiming he wouldn't bear the responsibility for any further killings.
- The Cloud Ten film Deceived seems to have been made by the type of people who made this trope. A 6.66-second long sound byte that the military claimed came from space makes people's... um, sinful natures more prominent, and eventually gives them funky Psychic Powers. The signal's true origin turns out not to be space, but the depths of Hell itself.
- Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal plays with this sort of logic. Popular heavy metal star "Slade Craven" needs to take a flight to get to his next concert. He keeps up his "Anarchist" and "Devil Worshipping" persona until he boards the plane, which is when the trouble begins. See, all the stuff he sang about and allegedly stood for really struck a chord with some people. So much so that they take his lyrics as a prophecy, hijack the plane, kill the Captain and replace Slade with an impostor. It Makes Sense in Context. Slade even asks them quite seriously "You REALLY believe all that...?" and calls them lunatics. The climax of the story is that Slade has to land the plane. He's lost contact with any and all that were helping him and has no experience. Just before he attempts this he rips the Sign of Satan necklace off and says "Please God, Let us land safely.".
- The Mother of The Water Boy, who clams everything is "The Debil", especially anything related to "Fool's Ball". Though it is later revealed she does this to prevent her son from leaving her like her husband did. But after she sees how much the town loves him, is able to get past this.
- Rock: It's Your Decision, a Christian-made film about The New Rock & Roll (reviewed brilliantly by Brad Jones on DVD-R Hell) becomes all about this. A formerly rock-loving teen starts to discover all the "horrible and evil" elements to rock music, eventually turning against it completely by the end of the movie. However, as pointed out in Jones' review, the "hero" of the film clearly had no idea what the songs were about in many instances, and by the end has become so paranoid, self-righteous and horrible to everyone around him that one kind of has to wonder if the audience was really meant to side with him. The best part is when he starts giving examples of evil influence in the titles of the songs.
Brad: Yes, I can see how you would have misinterpreted the line "You've got to change your evil ways."
- Parodied in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, after Dewey Cox sings a pleasant song about holding hands which instantly causes well-behaved teenage boys to turn into violent louts and well-behaved teenage girls to turn into sex-crazed nymphos, the local priest angrily declares the song to be evil. When Dewey protests that it's simply a song about holding hands, he is informed that the the Devil also has hands "and he uses' 'em for holdin'!"
- In A Swiftly Tilting Planet, a Magical Native American is depicted as giving birth in complete silence, but the white townspeople expect women to scream during labor. Said townspeople happen to be Puritans at the height of the American witchcraft scare, so it's treated by the townspeople as a sign of devilry.
- Considering the last time someone killed a "witch" in the Navajo Nation was 1993 (at least the last time the killer went to trial, anyway), many Native Americans would probably agree about the witchcraft.
- But the signs are different.
- And the Navajo are on the opposite side of the country from any Native Americans early colonists like the Puritans would have encountered!
- Considering the last time someone killed a "witch" in the Navajo Nation was 1993 (at least the last time the killer went to trial, anyway), many Native Americans would probably agree about the witchcraft.
- Harry of The Dresden Files has to deal with this on a fairly regular basis. He does this with his usual blend of sarcasm, dry wit, and setting things on fire. He does, however, try not to exacerbate the situation, and he points out that he does not use pentagrams in his magic because he knows it would make people even more hysterical.
- The Imperial Order in the Sword of Truth claims this about wizards and sorceresses in particular, but also in general about anyone who is better than anyone else at anything. They are not nice people. It also doesn't stop them from employing these wizards and sorceresses, either.
- A mob tries this on Zedd. He stokes their fears of him until they all run away screaming. How? By asking them to explain why they're afraid of him.
- Through a combination of a poor knowledge of history, general paranoia, and the Aes Sedai tendency to meddle in everything, many people in The Wheel of Time-verse believe the Aes Sedai to be evil and aligned with the Dark One. By and large, the most you could say about them is that they're incompetent.
- To be fair, only the Whitecloaks support such a negative view of the Aes Sedai. In most countries they are respected but not trusted, because of their flair for Exact Words and Jedi Truth.
- It doesn't help that a small minority of Aes Sedai historically have been evil and/or aligned with the Dark One, that the Aes Sedai claim (even to themselves) that they are the one group this cannot possibly be true of, and that providing enough contrary evidence to perpetuate rumors of the "Black Ajah" - never quite enough to convince the Aes Sedai of their validity - may have been an actual long-term project of the Dark One.
- Slightly more justified with male channelers — the Dark One actually did taint Saidin, so the devil actually does make male channelers go crazy and kill everything.
- The Whiteadders from Blackadder are devout followers of this trope, believing that everything from mashed turnips to sitting on chairs is the work of the devil.
- They still giggle when they find a turnip that looks like a "thingy". Because they also had raw turnip on their wedding night.
- Dana Carvey's Church Lady character from Saturday Night Live was famous for this kind of thing.
"Could it beeeeeee SATAN!?"
- Simon and River run into a backwoods clan that attempts to burn River at the stake because they mistake her Psychic Powers for witchcraft in Firefly.
- The Dark Matter setting for both Alternity and d20 Modern offered up the Final Church to provide GMs with a ready-made evil Satanic conspiracy for games where all the raving paranoia about Satan's influence in the world is true. The necessary Insane Troll Logic is encouraged.
- In Mage: The Ascension, the Technocracy encourages this sort of thinking in order to turn the public against the Traditions. Granted, the Traditions do engage in some morally dubious practises (cf. the Euthanatoi's "Good Death" or the Verbena's ritual sacrifices), so while the logic may be faulty, it may get close to something the Traditions don't want revealed. The irony is that the Technocracy would be just as valid a target for this, given that they're a world-spanning conspiracy who engage in such things as mandatory brainwashing of their agents.
- In The Music Man, Harold Hill convinces an entire town that a pool table is a tool of Satan to corrupt their children. He lists several "symptoms" that their children are being corrupted, which include a few things that would actually be worrisome if they happened, but also a few which were perfectly normal and harmless behaviors for teenage boys. (Like using slang words such as "swell".) In the end, he boils it down to a catchy little chant that runs on circular logic: "We've got trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for pool!" Just like in many real-life cases, this is a ploy to get the gullible townspeople to buy something: Hill proclaims that the way to save this town from falling into the clutches of evil is to start a boys' band... and Hill just happens to be a music professor (a fake one, at least).
- Parodied by The Angry Video Game Nerd, who once ranted about increasingly contrived evidence (ranging from an area on the map arranged like a pentagram to the fact that there are fires in the game) that Super Mario Bros. 3 was Satanic and that his cartridge was demonically possessed.
- He was right.
- Parodied by Todd in the Shadows in his review of the song "Like a G6". He determines that the song is Satanic after hearing Dev's "like three six" line, ultimately stretching it to conclude that all pop music is controlled by the Devil and that we must repent before the great Johnny Cash.
- Parodied by Smosh in their video "MOST VIOLENT GAME EVER!?", where a psychologist accuses Ian's game of encouraging violent tendencies (when Ian only swatted a fly), and vows to kill Ian to prevent any violent outbreaks.