The banner of the Orthosphere has always been a detail of Saint Michael, Archangel, a 1636 picture by the Genoese painter Guido Reni. The scene is based on Revelation 12:7-9, which tells us:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
St. Michael has ever since been taken as the patron of those who defend that which is holy and oppose that which comes from Satan and his fiendish crew. I was not here when the Orthosphere was founded, but suppose this is why the founders chose to use an image of St. Michael in the website’s banner. Little did they know that Reni’s St. Michael would become (in the hands of those who “deceiveth the whole world”) an emblem of white supremacy.
According to a new article at the Revolver website, the U.S. military is telling people that Reni’s St. Michael is a white supremacist dog whistle that secretly signals delight over the death of George Floyd. If you view the full painting, you see that Michael’s foot is pressed against Satan’s head, and that Satan (who “deceiveth the whole world”) might very well be trying to weaken Michael’s resolve by gasping “I can’t breathe.”
The article at Revolver is a take-down of the swindlers at Black Rifle Coffee, one of the many brands that facilitate empty virtue-signaling on the Right. It appears that Black Rifle had plans to fleece religious rubes with a bag of coffee beans decorated with Reni’s St. Michael, but scuttled the project when told by the Pentagon that Old Serpent Lives Matter.
“But while the St. Michael design was being mocked up, Hafer said he learned from a friend at the Pentagon that an image of St. Michael trampling on Satan had been embraced by white supremacists because it was reminiscent of the murder of George Floyd. Now any plans for the coffee bag had been scrapped.”
I am of course glad that St. Michael will not appear on meretricious bags of coffee beans. I am at the same time sorry to see one more beautiful thing daubed with mud.