Q&A: Satan Wears Nike?

Satan Wears Nike?

Question

Do you know if there is any truth to the rumor of the president of Nike corporation being affiliated with an occult or satanism? There was a minister who came to our church and spoke about this. Is there any truth to it?

Answer

I think I remember receiving an email hoax many months ago saying that the president of Nike (Philip H. Knight) was a satanist, but I may be mistaken. If I recall correctly, it encouraged a boycott of Nike products on this basis. I have never seen anything in any responsible publication regarding this subject, nor have I seen anything with respect to any other ranking official at Nike being a satanist. In fact, I've never even seen anything on this subject in an irresponsible publication. Regardless of the religious tendendies of the Nike corporation, I'm sure there are plenty of satanists in the world today. However, I'm not persuaded that a boycott is a proper response to this fact, even if we are sure that we are dealing with satanists (I know you didn't ask about boycotts, but that was the context in which I recall this particular rumor).

In 1 Corinthians 8-10, Paul addressed the fact that it was fine to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols, as long as in eating the people did not encourage unwise Christians to engage in idolatry itself. In so doing, Paul affirmed that it is acceptable to buy goods from people who belong to false religions. It is even acceptable to buy things that they have used in their false religious practices. Yes, buying their goods increases their economic power and perpetuates their business, which in turn empowers their continued practice of false religion. Nevertheless, Paul said it was okay to do it.

In any event, it is not as if Nike itself is in the business of spreading satanism. They sell sports apparel. They do not appear to have a much more negative an impact on the morality of the nation than most other corporations have, and they do not pubically oppose the gospel (but even if they did, the same could be said of the ancient pagans from whom Paul bought his meat). I suppose the president of Nike being a satanist might make an interesting sermon illustration, but as the content of a lesson I would have to question its usefulness and credibility.


Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.