Ghost are far from the first band to embrace Satanism in their lyrics and imagery, but the Swedes' continued rise to fame has pushed main man Tobias Forge out in front of a new wave of detractors that arisen in a sort of modern-day Satanic panic. Just this past November, Texas pastor Larry Long said of the group, "This kind of band will bring spiritual influences into this area. We're concerned about it, because we believe the devil is real, just as we believe God is real. … I think if [young fans are] singing along to those lyrics, who knows what in the world they're opening their hearts and lives up to." Forge recently responded to these accusations in a new interview with Yahoo! Entertainment: "At the end of the day, what [the Fellowship Community Church] caused was more tickets sold," he said, "so thank you very much."
To push the point further, Forge points out the hypocrisy in calling out Ghost rather than artists in other genres of music that promote what he finds to be unhealthy lifestyles. "I definitely think there are other music styles that promote a way worse lifestyle, that you could look upon as being more negative," he postulated. "Other music styles that promote a way of living that their fans will never have — when music is all about 'making it' and wearing 'bling-bling' and 'all them bitches,' and the idea that without that stuff you're nothing — that is a bad influence for your fans."
The Ghost mastermind believes heavy music can actually help people who are struggling with mental illness or emotional pain, claiming, "Hard rock, in general, does not promote that you should harm anyone ... At least with most gothic or hard rock music, it's about feeling good about yourself," he said.
Forge also insists the protestors, and even some fans, are taking his message too literally. "The biggest misconception is that the lyrical content is being provocative because it's about God. And it's not. It's not about God at all," he emphasized. "It's about man, mankind. I use language and analogy to make it seem that it is about other things, but the songs are usually, they are about very real things."