The following is an opinion by Lt. Cdr. Brenda Frey, USS Essex (LHD-2) command chaplain.
As somebody who ministers to the spiritual and emotional needs of hundreds of sailors and Marines, it’s important to lead a life that’s both morally sound and spiritually fit, because these young men and women are counting on me to set the example for wholesome living. Lately, though, I’ve been experimenting with a new hobby that — while extremely enjoyable in small doses — has started becoming more of a rule than an exception to my daily routine.
And, as ashamed as I am to admit this, I’m getting really concerned that worshipping at the unholy altar of Baphomet each night might be affecting my duties as ship’s chaplain.
I never thought I’d get to the point where I’d have to admit having a problem. It all started off innocently enough. Just an occasional Black Mass here, an after-work orgy to please Astaroth there. Nothing to get in a twist over, you know?
But I guess that’s how it goes for every addict. One day, you’re in control, lighting black candles and sacrificing roaches and goldfish to the Dark Lord in the privacy of your own condo.
And then, before you know it, you’re popping Altoids as you walk up the ship’s brow each morning to make sure the kid on watch doesn’t detect the sheep’s blood on your breath, as you simultaneously go through a mental checklist to make sure the neighbors can’t trace their missing Chihuahua back to you.
And it only gets worse from there.
As just one example, there was a night underway a few weeks ago when I was addressing the entire crew right before lights out. Just as I was asking everybody to keep our deployed service members worldwide in their thoughts, something came over me, and I suddenly found myself reciting the Invocation to Satan, literally pleading with the Forces of Darkness to instill their infernal powers upon me by opening the gates of Hell and greeting me as their sister (and maybe giving me some advice on how many beach balls to order for our upcoming community relations project in the Philippines). Luckily, though, I caught myself and went back to my normal “chaplain spiel” before getting in trouble.
Thank God nobody ever pays attention to the evening prayer.
Then there was that other time, right as we were wrapping up our port visit to Papua New Guinea. There I was, listening to that 19-year-old tribal girl express her gratitude toward the Navy for bringing much-needed medicine to her village, and all I could think about was whether she was still of pure virgin heart and soul, and worthy of being offered to Azazel.
Because Azazel will never accept an impure offering, you understand?
Jesus. I don’t know, maybe I’m just overreacting. After all, I am a United States sailor, and a woman of true spiritual convictions. Seriously, I can quit any time I want, right? Because, just like everything else in life, when it comes to the black arts, it’s really my own personal choice as to when I say “enough is enough” and kick all this silly devil worship to the cur— Educ! … Educ tenebris!… Educ Tenebris Dominus! … Educ Satanus! Bibemus sanguine agni!— so I can get control of my life and …
Sorry, what was I saying?
Anyway, the bottom line is that I thought I had it all under control, and I thought I would be able to keep my Navy life and my life as a disciple to the Four Crowned Princes of Hell separate. But I was wrong, and now I guess I’m just going to have to fight this whole devil worship addiction one day at a time, much like anybody else who chooses to go on the path to recovery.
And I suppose I should start by canceling that silly ritual sacrifice I’ve been planning. I mean, even if I were to try going through with it, it’s not like I’d be able to find any virgins on this ship, anyway.
Satanum est Deus!
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