Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New York Daily News and CBS News websites quote me on Christine O'Donnell

I got quoted on the New York Daily News website just now: NYC Satanist: O'Donnell Isn't One of Us by Kenneth R. Bazinet, September 21, 2010. NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and LHP Occultists got mentioned too.

P.S.: Later today, we also got mentioned -- and in a much better, less condescending way -- on the CBS News site: Christine O'Donnell's "Witchcraft" Comments Rebuffed by Satanist by Stephanie Condon.

P.S. (9/23/2010): Today, the above CBS News story was linked to by Christine O'Donnell's Younger Years: Forget Witchcraft, Think Media Goddess by Suzi Parter, Politics Daily.

P.S. (10/30/2010): My press release was mentioned in Crying Witch: Learning From the O’Donnell “Dabbling” Debacle by Spencer Dew on Religion Dispatches, October 28, 2010.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Christine O'Donnell's alleged "little midnight picnic on a satanic altar"

Lately, quite a bit of mass media publicity has been given to Christine O'Donnell's claim to have "dabbled into witchcraft" and "had a little midnight picnic on a satanic altar" on one of her first dates.

It is clear that the "witch" she allegedly dated was not a serious practitioner of either Wicca or Satanism. As far as I am aware, no serious practitioner of any variant of Wicca or Satanism would have a picnic on one's altar.

To put her claim into context, we should note her tendency to confuse Satanism with not only Wicca but also rock fan culture. Back in 1997, in the Washington Post (15 June 1997), Christine O'Donnell made some pretty far-fetched claims about the alleged mass popularity of Satanism among young people. (See Remembering Christine O'Donnell: Praising Helms, Missing Lenny and Squiggy, and Worries of Rampant Satanism, Right Wing Watch, September 15, 2010.)

See also more about Christine O'Donnell on one of my other blogs.

P.S.: I just now posted comments (here and here) in reply to some nonsense about Satanism in the comments area of this page about Christine O'Donnell on Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Devil's Blood

Some good news for a change:

On August 25, 2010, the Baltimore City Paper published a favorable news story about a musician who is a theistic Satanist: Hail Satan: The devil made Dutch musician SL turn his life around—and forge a strangely moving band by Ian Grey, about “SL,” the "man behind" a Dutch band called the Devil's Blood.

I've posted my thoughts about this news story on another blog of mine.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Forthcoming comment policy

I need to write up a formal comment policy sometime soon. This blog is not intended to be a forum for complete nuttiness.

Just today, someone tried to post a comment threatening mass murder of Christians. HELLO? That's an incredibly stupid idea, even "regardless of what the law says." Someone has apparently been taking black metal lyrics a little too seriously, methinks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

How bigotry against Muslims threatens Pagans and Satanists too: an example

The Green Bay Gazette has a Guest column: America needs to have the real debate on Islam, in which one Dan Linssen said the following on August 20, 2010:
When our founding fathers drafted the First Amendment to the Constitution stating "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," they likely viewed religious diversity as variations of the Judeo-Christian theme prevalent throughout Europe and the colonies at the time. But things are much different today.

So, the first question we should be discussing is: Do we really mean "any" religion? Satanism is on the rise in countries like Poland, and it has become so prevalent that its practice is now allowed in the British Royal Navy.

What if the Aztec religion, complete with horrific human sacrifice and its policy of conversion or death, suddenly enjoyed resurgence? What if some religion worshipped a god of fertility and practiced pedophilia?

Do we truly believe Americans should be allowed to practice any religion? If not, we are abandoning a founding tenet of American liberty. And where do we draw the line?

I'm guessing the majority of Americans have limits to what they believe is acceptable as religion. But that's not what we espouse. We need to resolve this dichotomy.

First, "human sacrifice" and child molestation are not allowed under U.S. law, period, not even in the name of religion. Dan Linssen is grossly ignorant of constitutional law if he really thinks these are unsettled questions. He needs to look at, for example, the Supreme Court decision in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993), which ruled on the legality animal sacrifice.

The 1993 Supreme Court ruling held that no law can single out animal sacrifice. But animal sacrifice can still be prosecuted under other, more general laws, e.g. against cruelty to animals, depending on the locale. Thus, animal sacrifice - at least of some species of animals - might be legal in many rural areas, where hunting is allowed and where people are allowed to slaughter their own farm animals, but still illegal in most urban areas. The point is that animal sacrifice must be subject to the same laws that govern animal-killing in general, whatever those laws might be. (See my page about animal sacrifice.)

Laws against murder and child molestation are general. They do not single out any religion. Thus, no religion is allowed to commit these crimes as part of its religious practice.

Be that as it may, the worship of "fertility gods" need not entail "human sacrifice" or child molestation. Nor does it typically involve such activities, at least in today's world. Ditto for Satanism. See the Church of Azazel statement against violent crime and vandalism, for example. There are plenty of law-abiding Pagans, and there are plenty of law-abiding Satanists too.

By the way, the decision by the British Navy to allow a Satanist to practice his religion does not imply that Satanism has become "prevalent" there.

Anyhow, Pagans and Satanists should take note of the following: See how Dan Linssen appears to be using the current wave of anti-Muslim scaremongering to argue that the government should consider taking away our rights too. And indeed, if even the constitutional rights of Muslims can be abridged, then all the more so can the rights of smaller religious minorities. We must stand up for across-the-board religious freedom, limited only by generally applicable laws with a secular purpose.

(Dan Linssen himself seems educable, though. On his blog, he does not come across like a full-blown religious right wing demagogue. However, it is highly likely that plenty of right wing demagogues will be using arguments similar to his in the not-too-distant future.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Exposing the Christian theocratic crazies (to Deady)

Deady has called my attention to an Alternet post titled Right-Wing Crazies Who Fight Witchcraft and Demons Are Taking Over a State Near You by Bruce Wilson.

I'm already well aware of it, being a regular reader of the excellent Talk To Action group blog, which has special sections titled Resource Directory for New Apostolic Reformation and Sarah Palin & The New Apostolic Reformation.

To everyone: If you happen to be in a good position to educate any mainstream journalists, religion scholars, or other mainstream published writers about the "New Apostolic Reformation" and its theocratic ambitions (and its actual attempts to infiltrate the power structure), I would very much appreciate anything you can do (after educating yourself about this matter, of course). This whole issue needs a lot more exposure.

For more about the religious right wing in general, see Resources for learning about the religious right wing on the website of New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry.

Werewolves (reply to Justin)

In the General feedback thread, Justin wrote:
I would like to ask you if you could please share any knowledge that you might have regarding physical werewolves. Not the ones bound by mythology and superstition.

As far as I am aware, the only "werewolves" that exist in real life are Otherkin/Therians -- people who feel that they are the reincarnation of non-human animals (in this case, wolves) or other nonhuman entities, or who otherwise feel that they are nonhuman souls in human bodies.

As far as I am aware, they do not have any full-fledged superhuman abilities, although they may well be more likely than normal folks to have certain talents.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Forums (reply to Deady)

In the General Feadback Thread, Deady wrote: "Hello, I recently joined your Theistic Satanism forum, but it seems like it's been deserted since the year 2007. Do you have any other groups that are currently active?"

Indeed I am not running Yahoo groups anymore. They are closed, though still available as archives.

These days my efforts are focussed more on building in-person groups than online groups. So far, the most successful of my in-person groups has been the NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and LHP Occultists discussion group.

Eventually I plan to build an Online Congregation of the Church of Azazel, once enough suitable people are interested. If interested, please show your interest by posting comments on my blogs and creating your own blog, as instructed on this page.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Irving Davis in Austin, Texas

I just now came across the news story Satanism wrongly used at trial, death row inmate argues by Chuck Lindell, American Statesman, Austin, Texas, Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
Irving Davis, convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old El Paso girl, has asked a Texas appeals court to throw out his death sentence, arguing that jurors should not have been told about his new religion — Satanism.

First off, I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who rapes and kills a 15-year-old girl.

Nevertheless, the issue of how Satanism gets used in court is indeed an important matter for people of all nonmainstream religions. In particular:
Prosecutor Lily Stroud said the evidence was meant to show that Davis had chosen to affiliate with an organization that condones and encourages human sacrifice and other illegal acts.

Hello??? The particular form of Satanism he is said to have practiced is "the Church of Satan." The Church of Satan does NOT condone illegal acts. On the contrary, I think most Church of Satan members would insist that he deserves the death penalty regardless of what his religion might be and regardless of how it got used by the prosecutor. I find it hard to imagine that the Church of Satan would actually have accepted him as an active member, given the CoS's stance on violent crime, although he may have adopted the CoS belief system (or some aspects of it, at least) informally.

Thus, his interest in Satanism a la the Church of Satan is clearly not evidence of anything having to do with the crime he's convicted of, and its use by the prosecutor was clearly wrong.

Monday, June 28, 2010

John Katehis update

Back on March 31, 2009, I posted about the murder of George Weber by John Katehis.

I just now came across the news story Notorious Criminal Defendants Appear in Brooklyn Supreme Court by Samuel Newhouse, Brookly Eagle, June 25, 2010, which reports on several different criminal cases including that of John Katehis. This article says:
John Katehis, of Queens, who just turned 18 on Saturday and once referred to himself as the “prince of darkness,” has pleaded self-defense for stabbing to death WABC newsman George Weber, 47, of Henry Street in Carroll Gardens.

Katehis, a self-described Satanist, was 16 when he stabbed Weber to death in March 2009 after going to his apartment in response to a Craigslist ad placed by Weber soliciting sex for about $60.

It is believed that Weber and Katehis engaged in rough bondage sex and may have used drugs together before the murder.

Katehis faces 25 years to life if convicted. He is due back in court on Sept. 3.

This article also talks about the (apparently unrelated) case of a man who burned down his own apartment building, claiming that "demons" told him to. I can't help but suspect he's just out to get himself declared insane, rather than admit a more pedestrian motive like a desire to collect insurance.

About the Katehis case itself, I found only two other recent reports via Google News, both in gay news sources: Defense in Philly Murder Case Planning to Use Variation of ’Gay Panic?’ by Kilian Melloy, EDGE (Boston), Wednesday Jun 23, 2010 (mostly about another case, but refers to the Katehis case too), and Kids Who Kill, Gay Times (U.K.), July 10 - Issue 382. Both these source are covering the story as an anti-gay hate crime, which perhaps it is, but there's also the complicating factor that the adult victim was paying a 16-year-old for sex.

I guess it's good for all the affected minority groups (gay men, BDSM people, and Satanists) that this case is not receiving a lot of ongoing publicity, although it did get quite a flurry of publicity back when the crime was originally committed. As I remarked back then: Alas, when members of unpopular minority groups commit crimes, they are too often seen as reflecting on the group as a whole, whereas, when other people commit similar crimes, they're seen as just aberrations.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Celebrity dabbler in LaVey's Satanism

According to Belinda Carlisle's new memoir, Lips Unsealed, she once tried to cast a spell from LaVey's Satanic Bible when she was a pre-teen. See EXCERPT: 'Lips Unsealed' by Belinda Carlisle (CTV, Canada, June 7, 2010); Belinda Carlisle's New Book 'Lips Unsealed', ABC News, June 1, 2010; and Belinda Carlisle reveals 30-year cocaine addiction, says she once performed 'Satanic Bible' ritual by Corinne Heller, On The Red Carpet, June 2, 2010.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Amanda Knox and Italian Satanic Panic

At some point I should write a post about the trial of Amanda Knox, an American who (together with her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito) was convicted, in Italy, of the murder of her English roommate, Meredith Kercher, allegedly as part of a "a premeditated ... sexual and sacrificial rite." The verdict is highly controversial, with many commentators saying there was no evidence.

Recently the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, was convicted of abuse of office. according to the Independent (U.K.) story Knox prosecutor tainted by 'satanism' case by Peter Popham, Sunday, June 6, 2010.

Another new development: Amanda Knox is innocent, jailed Italian mobster says his brother killed Meredith Kercher by Sean Alfano, New York Daily News, June 9, 2010, and Jailed mobster claims he can prove Amanda Knox is innocent by Hada Messia and Mallory Simon, CNN, June 11, 2010.

I'll dig up more of the background of this story sometime later.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sabbath Assembly -- Process Church

I just now came across the New York Press story Just Like A Prayer: Sabbath Assembly and the power of Satan by Chris Chafin, June 14, 2010, about a band called Sabbath Assembly which has revived the hymns of the Process Church of the Final Judgment -- a 1960s religious movement that revered Satan and Lucifer alongside Jesus and Jehovah, seeking the unification of opposites.

Most of today's Satanisms, including my own, are utterly different from the Process Church, but the Prodess Church is, nevertheless, an important part of the history of Satanism.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jason Paul Indreland's religious freedom lawsuit in Montana (U.S.A.)

A possibly interesting legal case: a lawsuit filed by Jason Paul Indreland, an inmate at Montana State Prison, against Yellowstone County for alleged civil-rights violations. According to the news story Satanist inmate sues county, Billings Gazette, February 19, 2009:
Jason Paul Indreland claims in the U.S. District Court lawsuit that county jail staff took from him a religious medallion, denied him access to religious material and ridiculed and punished him for his religious beliefs.

The lawsuit also alleges that Indreland was denied medical care for his drug addiction, that he was placed in situations where violence was expected and that he suffered harassment and retaliation while incarcerated.

Indreland said he has been a practicing Satanist for the past decade and the confiscated medallion was a "protective symbol" in his religion. The lawsuit claims jail staff refused to return the medallion or allow Indreland access to a "Satanic Bible or Book of Satanic Rituals."

Indreland, 35, is incarcerated at Montana State Prison for a term of five years, with two years suspended, for felony drug possession. Indreland was convicted of the crime after Billings police found him with 15 grams of methamphetamine in March 2007.

According to a recent follow-up story, Satanist settles lawsuit against Yellowstone County for $50, Billings Gazette, Thursday, June 10, 2010:
Deputy County Attorney Kevin Gillen said the inmate, Jason Paul Indreland, has accepted the county’s offer that includes the cash amount and a commitment to review how jail inmate requests are processed at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.


The final agreement has yet to be signed and returned by Indreland, who was recently transferred from the Crossroads Correctional Facility in Shelby to the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge.

Gillen said the county agreed to review jail inmate request procedures because the basis for denying Indreland’s request for satanic literature was not fully explained to him. Such literature is not allowed in prisons and jails across the country, Gillen said, because it promotes violence.

Hello? Satanic literature promotes violence? Depends on the particular form of Satanism, I guess. There are plenty of established Satanist groups, of various kinds, that do not promote violent crime.

There are those who promote violence in the name of other categories of religion too, including Christianity. But this obviously doesn't mean all literature of the entire religious category should be prohibited.

Unfortunately, LaVey's Satanic Bible (referred to in one of the news stories) does have sections that can be taken as promoting violence -- though only if taken out of the context of the Church of Satan's overall doctrine, which requires members to be law-abiding. LaVey did advocate vengeance, but only by legal means.

Another recent news story: Jailed Satanist's $10 million lawsuit against Billings jail settled for $50, Great Falls Tribune, June 10, 2010

Reply to recent comments

In reply to recent comments in the General feedback thread:

To Kevin Staples and Coyote Walker:

If you want to correspond with me privately, please contact me via one of my other blogs, or via Meetup. Unfortunately, this blog does not give you the ability to give me your email address privately.

Kevin Staples, your request, in particular, is one best handled via private email.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Church of Azazel - statement against violent crime and vandalism

The Church of Azazel proto-congregation, a theistic Satanist group based in New York City, has recently issued a statement condemning violent crime and vandalism. The statement includes the following: "We do not want to live in a lawless society, nor do we consider ourselves to be above the law. Not only would a lawless society be a very unpleasant place to live, but the world's more lawless societies -- and the more lawless neighborhoods within our own society -- are also fertile soil for the theocratic/fundamentalist religions that we oppose."

The Church of Azazel statement also warns against Satanic panics, noting that "There have been periodic panics about alleged widespread 'Satanic crime,' such as the 'Satanic Ritual Abuse' scare of the 1980's and early 1990's, in which many probably-innocent people were sent to prison. ... Satanic panics are extremely dangerous not only to Satanists but also to adherents of other minority religions (who are often regarded by fundamentalist Christians and Muslims as 'Satanic') and to atheists. They are also dangerous to ordinary mainstream Christian folks. Most of the best-publicized accusations in the 'Satanic ritual abuse' scare involved ordinary mainstream people."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"About Demons" -- publication date?

I've been asked about the publication date and the last-modified date of my page About Demons.

Unfortunately, I did not keep track of the date that I first uploaded it. So the publication date will just have to be 2003. The earliest version in the Internet Archives is dated Febrary 10, 2004.

The last-modified date is much easier for me to ascertain -- April 22, 2009.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Satanic panic in Russia

In Russia, it looks like we now have a combination of (1) what MIGHT be a actual small but abusive, authoritarian group which may have pressured its female members into having sex with the leader, in the name of Satanism, and (2) general panic about Satanism, with claims that Satanism poses more of a public threat than Islamic supremacist terrorists. Here are the current Russian headlines:

Both these stories are about a group called the Nobilis Ordo Diaboli, based in Saransk. Its founding members were 24-year-old Belarus national Alexander Kazakov and 23-year-old local Denis Danishin.

As for the "Satanic rapists": The RT story says, at the very end: "When police cracked down on the cult in 2009, they seized numerous books about Satanism and occult paraphernalia like animal sculls [sic]. The defendants claim that their sect was a mere role-playing club, and everything the members did was done voluntarily. They also deny charges of sexual abuse and violence." I have to wonder whether the women in the group were pressured, by the cops, into making false accusations against the leaders, as a way of getting themselves off the hook for whatever they might have been charged with. Anyhow, the trial is still ongoing, so it's premature to judge whether their leaders are guilty or innocent of the crimes they are accused of.

As for "infiltrating the police," if indeed that's true, I would say that religiously diverse police departments are a necessity in order to avoid religious bigotry in how the laws are enforced. I would be much more worried about theocratic Christians who "infiltrate the police" in far greater numbers than any small religious sect possibly could, for the purpose of using the police department to harass minority religions.

An earlier, related news story is Satanic cult leader arrested in central Russia, RiaNovosti, January 28, 2009.

Religious freedom in general does not seem to be one of Russia's strong suits. See the article Russian Supreme Court bans regional Jehovah's Witnesses branch, RiaNovosti, .

Monday, February 1, 2010

Information resources for new and prospective members of the Church of Azazel

To the Church of Azazel main site, I've added the beginnings of a collection of Information resources for new and prospective members of the Church of Azazel, including the following new pages:

The second of the above pages includes a section on Theology and occult background of various Satanisms, with collections of links to sites about various aspects of the Western occult tradition.

I've also added a page Epistemology: What can we know about the spirit world, and on what basis?

In reply to this post, I would appreciate comments on any of the above, or suggestions for further resources to list.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Church of Azazel - our five rising gods of the modern West

Recently, the NYC Church of Azazel proto-congregation held our biggest open meeting yet. A total of twelve people attended. The topic was "Lilith" and our plans to launch both our own Order of Lilith (for Church of Azazel members) and a separate, larger, allied spiritual group (for polytheists and occultists of all paths) devoted to Lilith.

Lilith is one of our five Rising Gods of the modern West: Lilith, Prometheus, Ishtar, Pan, and Lucifer-of-Sophia. Over the next several years, we plan to build both (1) internal orders devoted to each of the five rising gods and (2) associated separate larger allied spiritual groups which will aim to bring together people from a variety of polytheistic and occult paths.

I'm also in process of putting together collections of information about the five rising gods. Here are the beginnings of these collections: This will take a while, since I have lots of other things I need to do. In the meantime, it anyone wants to help out with this, I would very much appreciate it.

I would also appreciate comments on my page about Rising Gods of the modern West. If you're a member of Meetup, you may comment in the relevant thread on our message board. Otherwise, feel free to post a comment here on this blog.