The distinction between Pokémon, also known as “pocket monsters” and “cyber demons” is a fine one, thanks to the addicting force of Pokémon Go — and if you’re radio show host and evangelical pastor Rick Wiles, they’re actually one in the same.
Wiles recently went on a completely epic rant on the TrueNews radio show, alleging that the wildly popular augmented reality game was targeting churches, spawning demons, and being used by ISIS to geolocate Christians and kill them.
“This technology will be used by the enemies of the cross to target, locate, and execute Christians,” he said, after also claiming that the game is “a magnet for demonic powers” that is being used by Satan to target churches with “virtual, digital, cyber demons.”
It probably doesn’t help that Pokémon Go does keep sending people to churches in search of Pokémon and sweet, sweet PokéStops where trainers can find items. So yes, in those cases, the game actually is attracting virtual monsters (and maybe physical monsters, depending on how you view the game’s players.)
Wiles is mostly freaked out that ISIS will get their hands on the Pokémon Go technology. “What if this technology is transferred to Islamic jihadists,” Wiles said on the show, “and the Islamic jihadists have an app that shows them where Christians are located geographically?” Clearly, Wiles hasn’t heard that America already has a front-line fighter ready for Poké-battles with ISIS, and that there are far better ways to find out where people are located than hacking into Pokémon Go. Heaven forbid someone tells Wiles about Google Maps or Foursquare.
You can listen to the entire rant in all its glory here:
Old people freaking out about Pokémon isn’t anything new. The games, anime, movies, and other aspects of the franchise have all been incredibly popular, despite the fact that the last two decades have been filled with concerned hand-wringing like this:
The only difference now is that PokéMania is taking place out in the real world instead of on a game system, movie screen, or card table. Someone was bound to claim that the game is so popular because it has some demonic aspect sooner or later; Wiles simply managed to beat most of the other alarmists to the punch. But make no mistake — there will be people who agree with the stuff Wiles is saying.
And Wiles isn’t even the only religious person worried about Pokémon Go. An Egyptian religious body has said that the game is prohibited by Islam.
“It negatively influences the mind and harms the player or others without being aware of that,” Abbas Shouman, the premier Sunni Islamic scholar in Egypt, told DPA on Thursday. Depending on whether or not ISIS agrees with that particular interpretation, Wiles might not have to worry about the game being used to target Christians after all.