Frankly, I’m astonished this question is still coming up. I was under the impression 1980 was nearly 30 years ago, and that was when this particular mania was at its peak. Surely we’ve got better, more modern targets to aim for nowadays than a paper-based game from the 1970s. In the digital age, surely ignorant people should be accusing things like World of Warcraft of being satanic? Go have a look, it’s got demons aplenty.
It’s equally odd because usually, these particular kinds of condemnations tend to run their course over a few years. I don’t think anyone’s particularly bothered about the Harry Potter series being satanic anymore, and the Golden Compass hysteria seems to have died down since the movie. Before Dungeons and Dragons, it was heavy metal, and rock and roll prior to that. Not to mention the brief flirtation America had with banning alcohol. There’s a long, long tradition of condemning things which other people might enjoy in Christian history, up to and including celebrating Christmas at one time or another.
Are we including other tabletop Role Playing Games, incidentally? Is Games Workshop’s Warhammer products as likely to snare your soul? Surely Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG is far more likely to drive you insane? What about those players who devise their own game systems? Should we look into banning pencils and paper? (Don’t tell me it hasn’t crossed some right-wing Christian’s minds.)
And well, honestly. Consider this. You’re the ultimate embodiment of evil. You need a way to draw innocent youngsters into your grasp. Is the best you can come up really getting to sit around in their basements rolling dice? I’ve no belief in the devil existing to start with, but we’re talking about the mythical being who started the war in Heaven, who rebelled against his creator, who is meant to have spent centuries being the bane of mankind. I hadn’t realised he was really meant to be, well, a bit crap, I suppose. The most ludicrous supervillain in comic book history could come up with a better crackpot scheme than this. According to Wikipedia, at least 20 million people in the world have played the game. And yet less than 1% of the US population claim to be Satanists. Much, much less than 1%. Are we really supposed to fear an entity with such a poor success rate?
Finally, have you ever met a typical Dungeons and Dragons player? Without being too stereotypical, they’re not particularly satanic, even when they’ve been playing for years. A bit obsessed, probably. A little pasty, perhaps. But satanic? Hardly.