Why "Satan" Was Trending on Palm Sunday

Rapper Lil Nas X licking Satan in the music video "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)", released on March 26, 2021. (Screenshot via YouTube)

One thing that is just super about the Internet is that anyone can contribute to society in any number of ways.

And by that I mean the Internet was a mistake. Yesterday, Palm Sunday, ended with the word “Satan” trending, and not because we were setting up the week we remember Jesus Christ triumphing over sin, death, and Lucifer.

That’s the design for the new shoe designed by Lil Nas X, the American rap icon originally made famous for the song “Old Town Road.” His most recent work is an album called Montero, which, according to Wikipedia, is also his first name and the title of the single that dropped on Friday (“Montero (Call Me by Your Name”)).

In the video for the song, Lil Nas X, who is openly gay, awakens in what appears to be the Garden of Eden and eventually descends into hell via a stripper pole and gives Satan a lap dance.

It appears to be one grand trolling attempt against rap and country communities, neither of which are very supportive of homosexuality, as well as social conservatism in general, which is often rooted in religious ideology. This coincides with announced limited-release footwear designed by him and MSCHF, a company that apparently exists to sell viral nonsense. The shoes, which bear the Nike logo, led the Internet to believe that Nike helped in the development of the shoe, but the company has distanced itself from the project.

News of the shoes drew outrage over the Palm Sunday weekend; some critics slammed both Lil Nas X and Nike. But Nike was quick to distance itself from the shoes, pointing out that they’re custom adaptations of existing products.

“We do not have a relationship with Little Nas X or MSCHF,” Nike said in a statement. “Nike did not design or release these shoes and we do not endorse them.”

It is surely no coincidence that the shoe’s design became public this weekend, which kicks off the holiest week of the year for Christianity, and that Lil Nas X is choosing to rebel against a society that still hasn’t quite accepted homosexuality. This is all timed to create the most viral opportunity for both Lil Nas X and MSCHF. The rapper was an Internet personality prior to “Old Town Road,” and still exists largely due to a massive online following. He knows how to draw the crowds, and operates under the philosophy that all press is good press.

It is just unfortunate that he has to use an attack on Christianity to make his social point. At a time when very real evil exists in the world, when violent crime is happening in bigger and more public ways, and when society is at odds with itself over whether moral right and wrong even exist, the need to attack one of the pillars of modern-day morality doesn’t do any good for anyone. The choice to do this at the beginning of the holiest week for one of the most influential religions in the world is sad, and it undermines a lot of morality that most people agree with, whether they are Christian or not.

For “Satan” to be trending on Palm Sunday, whether it is over a shoe, a music video, or anything else, is a sad sign for our society.