Monday, April 28, 2008

Some news from Italy, about Satanism and about the Catholic Church

I recently came across an interesting article on the CBN website, part of Pat Robertson's empire: Is the Devil Gaining a Foothold in Rome? by George Thomas, April 21, 2008.

First, I'll skip ahead to and quote in full the most interesting part, about Marco Dimiti, the leader of a Satanist group in Italy:

But Marco Dimiti says that the Catholic Church's portrayal of Satan is part of the problem.

To many Italians, Dimitri represents the devil. He heads the Children of Satan, a group that reportedly has more than one-thousand members.

"We don't have a cult of devil worship, that would be absurd because the cult of the devil would be the cult of evil - but for us, good and evil are subjective to each individual," says Dimitri.

In 1996, Dimitri was accused of raping a 2-year old boy and a teenage girl in satanic rituals. He was jailed for 14 months before being exonerated by the Italian courts.

"True Satanism puts man at the center of the universe - and is a noble expression," Dimitri said. "I want to say to Father Amorth what I say to all exorcists. Leave people in peace!"

The rest of the article features claims by Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's Chief Exorcist; Father Pedro Barrajón, a Catholic priest who serves in Rome; and Silvano Lilli, an evangelical pastor in Rome.

One claim is: "There are an estimated 800 satanic cults operating in the country [Italy], with more than 600,000 followers." Yeah, right. I wish.

And then Lilli says: "The devil's diabolical influence is growing in so many areas of our society. ... He needs to be driven out." He doesn't explain what he means by "the devil's diabolical influence." If he's a typical religious right winger, that means things like feminism and gay rights, I guess.

Then Amorth talks about how he does exorcisms.

After that is a discussion of the "Beasts of Satan" case, about which see this collection of news stories on my Against Satanic Panics site.

See also Italy's recent Satanic panic - and its impact on the Roman Catholic Church worldwide, and see also the collection of news stories about Exorcism, the Vatican, and the recent Italian Satanic panic on my page about Exorcism, "spiritual warfare," and anti-occultism.

Next in the CBN article are several paragraphs bemoaning the rise of "magicians, fortunetellers and faith healers" as rivals to the Church.

After that are the several paragraphs I quoted earlier about Marco Dimiti.

The article ends with more exorcism-talk by Amorth.

Friday, April 25, 2008

South African newspaper boycotted, and columnist fired, for defending rights of Satanists

The following news is a few months old, but I found out about it just now.

According to a news story titled South Africa: Old Hands Save Many an Editor's Blushes by Anton Harber, (Washington), 16 April 2008:

Rapport editor Tim du Plessis recently caused a storm by hiring controversial columnist Deon Maas, and then firing him quickly. In that case, Du Plessis distanced himself and his paper from Maas's view that Satanism should be treated as just other religion, but printed it, and then backed down when facing a boycott from readers, distributors and advertisers. I viewed that as an unfortunate victory for intolerance, because it was a provocative column that did not actually degrade or threaten anyone.

I looked around for older news stories confirming this, and found the following:

In the contested column, Deon Maas wrote, about a girl who had gotten arrested on drug charges:

What is disturbing is the fact that the police, after searching her bedroom, are also investigating her for Satanism.


What someone obviously forgot to tell police spokesman Inspector Paul Ramaloko, is that Satanism is a religion and that our Constitution guarantees everyone the freedom to practise the religion of their choice.

So far, so good. And this, alas, is apparently what got a lot of conservative folks in South Africa outraged enough to organize a boycott.

But Maas's column also contains some errors. He says:

The slaughtering of innocent pets, the tearing up of Bibles, the general oppressiveness that you have to live with, black painted fingernails and the fact that you generally have to be awake after midnight to practise your faith are all factors that make Anton LaVey's philosophy somewhat unacceptable to me.

None of the above activities are required in LaVeyan Satanism. Indeed the "slaughtering of innocent pets" is specifically prohibited in LaVey's Satanic Bible. Likewise in most other forms of Satanism.

Maas also says:

If Muslims think they have a hard time, they just need to consider Satanism. They really get a bum deal. Satanism still makes a better headline than Islam, even though they blow less stuff up and do more damage to themselves than to those around them.

In LaVeyan Satanism and most other forms of Satanism, Satanists aren't supposed to damage themselves.

Maas's column does include a reasonably accurate presentation of part of LaVey's list of "Satanic sins."

Copyright © 2008 Devil's Domain Press. All rights reserved.

West Memphis Three

Looking up "Satanism" in Google News, I find West Memphis 3 Judge is "Ready to Get It Over With" - KAIT, AR, Apr 15, 2008. It's good to see that there's some movement on the West Memphis Three case, although it's painfully slow -- an appeal hearing is scheduled for September.

For background about the case, see the sites listed on my page about the West Memphis Three on my Against Satanic Panics site.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hi, I'm back

Due to other things going on in my life, I've had to withdraw more-or-less completely from the online theistic Satanist scene for the past 10 months.

I'm now back.

Before I left, I was in process of creating the "theistic Satanism blog network," which, as I then envisioned it, would use a PHP script to simulate a forum using blogs. The script would automatically display links to the latest posts on all blogs, organizing the posts into five categories by topic and intended audience. The idea was to replace my theistic Satanism Yahoo groups with something as similar as possible.

At least for now, I've given up on the idea, because I still don't have enough time to work on the script. Instead, at least for now, the Theistic Satanism Blog Network will be simply be a listing of blogs which link back to my Theistic Satanism Blog Network page.

If I ever do revive the script idea, I'll need to think more carefully about the details too. For example, the topicality guidelines as I then envisioned them may be too complicated to enforce.

Friday, April 11, 2008

General feedback thread

I'll be linking to this post from my websites, as a place for people to post comments not pertaining to any specific post here.