Rock hasn’t had a good old-fashioned Satanic Panic controversy in years. For a moment there, it looked like hip hop was grabbing all the glory on the back of Lil Nas X’s brilliantly blasphemous Montero video, but the eye of the religious right has finally swiveled back towards metal, thanks to the efforts of a Christian protest group in New Jersey.
Members of a group calling themselves Shut Down WSOU have been protesting outside Catholic college Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, calling for the college’s long-running rock and metal radio station, WSOU, to be closed down.
The Catholic organisation (motto: “Ending 34 Years of the Vilest Broadcasting on the Radio”) claims that the radio station is “Satanic”, citing the fact that it plays tracks such as Dimmu Borgir’s The Serpentine Offering (“an explicit call to Satanic worship by an openly Satanic band”), Myrkur’s Måneblót (“about ritual sacrifice of a newborn child”) and Candlemass’ Bewitched (“which calls on the listener to kneel and surrender to evil”).
According to Shut Down WSOU’s website, the university has “bred a perniciously evil subculture at the station that is overtly hostile to Christ”.
“This is a Catholic University. Catholic universities of America have lost track of their mission to an extreme,” Shut Down WSOU founder Richard Smaglick told New Jersey’s News 12 channel during a protest outside the university on April 26. “It's so bad that this Catholic university is airing Satanism to what they call a target audience of 12-year-olds in the largest media market in North America and that needs to end.”
Seton Hall responded in a statement that the college’s advisory board regularly looked at at the station’s “standards”.
“WSOU's advisory board comprised of WSOU students and alumni along with Seton Hall University clergy and administrators, meets regularly to review the station's content and operating policies and standards,” said the university.
“The goal is to ensure that WSOU continues to realize its mission, goals, and long-held operating procedures. Further incorporating and integrating Catholic mission and ministry into WSOU's wide-ranging and popular programming is always a priority."
It’s tough enough being a rock and metal station in the US without the added pressure of a misguided Christian group trying to shut you down. Let’s hope people see sense and WSOU is allowed to get on with doing what it does best, which is bringing metal to the people of New Jersey.