Was Walter Cronkite a Satanist?

In an address to the United Nations, Walter Cronkite declared: Join me! I'm glad to sit here at the right hand of Satan.. This admission is readily available for anyone that cares to hear it, such as this clip: YouTube - Cronkite glad to sit at the right hand of Satan!.

Conspiracy theorists have seized on this quotation as proof that Cronkite was a Satanist.

Many freedom-loving people, especially Americans, certainly have good reason to dislike what Cronkite said in that speech. He spoke in support of a new world order, with a strong world government and a loss of individual rights. In their eyes, he is obviously supporting a conspiracy that wants to control the world, and Satanism fits well with that theory.

But did he literally mean that he was a Satanist?

This is the lead-up to that quotation:

Even as with the American rejection of the League of Nations, our failure to live up to our obligations to the United Nations is led by a handful of willful senators who choose to pursue their narrow, selfish political objectives at the cost of our nation's conscience. They pander to and are supported by the Christian Coalition and the rest of the religious right wing. Their leader, Pat Robertson, has written that we should have a world government, but only when the messiah arrives. Any attempt to achieve world order before that time must be the work of the Devil! Well join me; I'm glad to sit here at the right hand of Satan.

Pat Robertson's position was that only Jesus Christ is capable of providing world government. He believed that anyone attempting to bring world government before that must be doing the Devil's work.

Walter Cronkite wanted to further the world government cause now, not wait for something that he felt might never happen. So he responded ironically, saying that if Robertson thought what Cronkite believed in was the Devil's work, then let him believe it.

It was exactly like responding to You have to be crazy to have pineapple on pizza! by saying Well I must be crazy then!, and continuing to order an Hawaiian pizza. It's not an admission of insanity; it's playing humorously on the other person's delusion.

But religious fanatics and other people that are extremely dedicated to a cause tend to have trouble understanding irony and humour, especially when it relates in some way to their beliefs.