Monday, November 16, 2009

"Creed" for theistic Satanists? (to leon)

"leon" posted a comment which I thought I accepted, but apparently I inadvertantly rejected it. Luckily I was able to go back and capture the text. Here it is:

Hi D,

In your view, is there a need in theistic satanism for something like a "nicene creed" for the individual (or group)?

I'm busy researchng one for myself to have a concise statement of faith, but what sayeth u?

There's no one "Creed" that would work for all theistic Satanists. Beliefs are way too varied among us. I also don't think it's desirable to try to establish an orthodoxy for all theistic Satanists, since that would contradict the freedom and independent thought which, at least in theory, are an important part of what Satan stands for in most forms of Satanism.

But I think it's okay for individual Satanist groups to have their own creeds, to establish a sense of common purpose for the particular group. I just don't think that any such creed should be applied to theistic Satanism as a whole, with the attitude that those who disagree aren't "true Satanists."

The New York City proto-congregation of the Church of Azazel now has a short ritual that is somewhat Creed-like, although not a Creed per se: Affirmation of our common purpose.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lutheran pastor, in Texas, labels Oprah Winfrey and Mormons "Satanic"

For some insight into what "Satan" means to those Christians who promote belief in Satan, see Focus on Faith: Want to Re-Define God? by Rev. Dr. Bobby W. Leggett, Trinity Lutheran Church-Blanco, November 11, 2009.

Leggett starts off by alleging that Oprah's followers are "the fastest-growing church in the world" and calls them "a cultic religion ... Satanic in what it teaches." Later in the column, Leggett says, "There are two kinds of religion in the world. First, is man-centered religion. Religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Communism, Satanism, humanism and Oprahism." The only other kind of religion in the world is, of course, what he calls "historic Christianity" (and perhaps Judaism and Islam?). He then says, "In any occult religion God is always reduced and the human is always elevated to be a god. ... What was the Serpents promise in Genesis, '…you shall be like God.'"

Leggett's column, by the way, appears not on the Trinity Lutheran Church website, but on the website of a supposedly secular local newspaper, the Blanco County News, in Blanco, Texas. Here in New York, it's hard to imagine a column like this getting published in a local newspaper. Texas is in the Bible Belt, after all.

However, even here in New York City, I'm pretty sure that your average evangelical storefront church pastor would agree with Leggett's column, as would at least some of the people in the Catholic hierarchy. (A somewhat similar statement, though more nuanced, appears in the Vatican document Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Waters of Life: A Christian reflection on the “New Age”: "Mind-expanding techniques are meant to reveal to people their divine power; by using this power, people prepare the way for the Age of Enlightenment. This exaltation of humanity overturns the correct relationship between Creator and creature, and one of its extreme forms is Satanism.")

Another "Satanism" hoax

The Britney Spears hacking was not the only "Satanism"-related hoax these past few days. I just now came across Strange satanic church posters cause concern by Lauren Rogers, Worcester News (U.K.), Saturday 14th November 2009, about prank posters advertising an alleged "Church of Satan" gathering in a cemetery at midnight.

The news reporter seems unsure as to whether this is a hoax, but it clearly is. The Church of Satan rarely holds publicly-announced gatherings of any kind, and is highly unlikely to hold them in unauthorized locations, or to advertise them without providing contact info.

Britney Spears and her hacked Twitter account

I just now ran across a bunch of stories about the hacking of Britney Spears's Twitter account on Thursday:

One of the above stories speculated that the hacker might be an actual Satanist or Devil worshiper. Also, Air America's copy of the AP story is titled Britney Spears' Twitter Account Hacked By Satanist -- although the AP story itself does NOT, itself, allege that the hacker was a Satanist. I think it's exceedingly unlikely that the hacker is an actual Satanist.

More likely, the hacker is just a prankster, or perhaps someone with a grudge against Britney Spears. Obviously, the hacker is someone familiar with grand conspiracy ideology, and was most likely hoping that grand conspiracy ideologists would keep the story alive forever, like the Proctor and Gamble "Satanism" hoax.

So far, the story does not appear to have been picked up by very many major media sites. And, as far as I can tell so far, even "conspiracy theorists" recognize that it's a hoax. In a story on Alex Jones's Prison Planet, a major purveyor of grand conspiracy ideology, it is acknowledged that "Chances are unless new world order and Illuminati are the names of indie bands, Brit has no clue what those terms mean. And as for the praise for Lucifer, everyone knows Britney doesn’t speak in tongues … she lip-synchs."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Neo-pentecostal exorcism of "homosexual demons"

What does the Devil mean to those Christians who most fervently believe in the Devil? An interesting example can be found in the news story Apparent Gay Exorcism in Conn. Church Causes Outrage by Andrew Ramos, WPIX, via the Los Angeles Times, June 24, 2009. Some excerpts:

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WPIX) -- A video which shows an exorcism of a teen to drive out apparent "homosexual demons" has sparked outrage among several gay rights activists.

The video, which was posted on YouTube, features church elders from the Manifested Glory Ministries Church in Bridgeport performing the exorcism on the boy who is said to be 16-years-old.


Although the exorcism appears to be the first one of its kind captured on video, advocacy groups for gay youths say the practice happens all the time.

"I think it's horrifying," Robin McHaelen, executive director of True Colors, told the Associated Press, referring to the video posted by Manifested Glory's now-defunct YouTube page. "What saddens me is the people that are doing this think they are doing something in the kid's best interests, when in fact they're murdering his spirit."

Complete story here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ygraine Gidney-Mitchell on news stories about "Satanism" and crime

Ygraine Gidney-Mitchell is a longtime member of the Church of Satan and very attached to the view that the CoS represents the one and only "genuine Satanism." Obviously, I do not agree with her on that point.

But she has written an otherwise very interesting article, Orlando criminal is not a Satanist. Less 80's, more justice, please, in which she makes some excellent points in response to the mass media's tendency to cast aspersions on Satanism whenever some criminal happens to have some "items ... associated with Satanism and witchcraft."

Friday, July 3, 2009

More "Satanism" scare news from elsewhere

"Satanism" scares are far from confined to Africa, alas:

  • Hungarians fast and pray to ward off Marilyn Manson, Reuters, Thu Jul 2, 2009. About "some Catholic churchgoers in Hungary, who have posted placards in and around the churches of Sopron, a town near the Austrian border in western Hungary, which is hosting a four-day music festival that lists Manson as one of the main acts."

  • What the devil's going on? Headless stag sparks rumours of satanic mischief afoot, Daily Mail, 17th June 2009. The fears are not based on any evidence other than the cops' inability to think of any other motive for the killing. This news story claims, near the end: "Deer skins and heads are believed to be used in satanic rituals in a tradition that harks back to pre-Christian pagan Britain." Where on Earth did that factoid come from??? See also Satanists deny beheading deer near Northwich by y Andrew McCreaddie, Northwich Guardian, Thursday 25th June 2009. The latter article quotes only some members of the (LaVeyan) Church of Satan. We theistic Satanists need to start speaking up for ourselves too.

  • Rome church stops holy water over satanic rite fears, CathNews, June 16, 2009. "The Santa Maria Stella Maris church at Fiumicino, near Rome, has stopped offering holy water to worshippers because the parish priest fears it is being stolen for satanic rituals." At the end of the story is a link to the source, on a website called ADNKronos: Italy: Rome church links thefts to 'satanic rites'

  • Religious Symbol Intolerance by Fern Joan Marder, Newark Interfaith Spirituality Examinar. About and its list of symbols that it claims are occult-based. The Radio Liberty page begins by saying, "Occult symbols are fast replacing Christian symbols in our culture. Therefore, we encourage you to use this list to warn others, especially Christian children who intentionally wear and display them because they are popular." The site is also full of grand conspiracy claims and even endorses a variant of ye olde anti-Jewish blood libel, with an apparently-approving link to a video titled "Zionist Jews Sacrifice Babies for Satan - Oprah Winfrey." Fortunately, stuff like this is far from mainstream here in the U.S.A. at the present time. But it is indeed growing within various fringe subcultures.

On the other hand, I also came across a very interesting recent blog post about the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" scare. I've discussed it on my Wordpress blog, in the post San Fernando Curt on the SRA scare.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More Satanic panic stories from Africa has a story, Zambia: Katete Pupils Expulsions Queried, Times of Zambia, 24 June 2009, about an official reaction to a school expelling students for practicing "Satanism":

EASTERN Province education officer, Pilila Jere has demanded a full report from Katete Girls Boarding High School management on the expulsion of five pupils accused of practicing satanism.

Ms Jere said in an interview in Chipata yesterday that she was shocked to learn that the pupils had been sent away from the school without proper investigations and formal communication with her office.

Ms Jere said one of the parents whose child was sent away from the institution which is run by the Reformed Church in Zambia (RCZ) complained to her about the school management's decision.

"It is saddening and shocking that pupils were sent away from the school on suspicion of practicing Satanism. Such allegations require exhaustive investigation," she said.

Meanwhile, on a South African news site called IOL, there's a story about two accused murderers whose defense is apparently "some Satanists made us do it": Money, sex blamed for Lotter claim by Tania Broughton, June 22 2009.

And, according to a South African news site called The Citizen, the SA Police Service has a "Satanism unit" and purported "Satanism experts": "JOHANNESBURG - Satanism expert Dr Kobus Jonker, former head of the SA Police Service’s satanism unit, is to evaluate convicted schoolboy murderer MornĂ© Harmse to assist the South Gauteng High Court in deciding whether the boy was out of touch with reality because of 'influences from the dark side' when he fatally wounded a fellow pupil with a samurai sword," according to the news story Satanism expert to quiz killer, 6/16/2009. I have to wonder if these "Satanism experts" are anything like the fundamentalist Christian "Satanism experts" who stoked the Satanic panic of the 1980's and early 1990's here in the U.S.A.

P.S.: Just now, after posting the above, I came across another story from today: Zambia: We Killed 300 People, Ex-Satanist Teens Testify, Times of Zambia, 2 July 2009. This story is about two teenagers being sued for slander by Kamba Ward PF councillor Oscar Himanga, whom they claim initiated them into Satanism eight years ago. Supposedly, at Himanga's instigation, they then killed hundreds of people by magical means. The boys made some pretty darned fanciful claims, such as, "The boy testified that the next day, Mr Himanga took him and his friend to an old warehouse in Kawama where they found white men who were half humans and half snakes" and "He said after they were initiated, he had powers to turn into a dog and two people had seen him do that."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roundup of recent international "Satanism" scare news

Searching Google news for stories about "Satanism," I find the following:

  • Crimes against Religious Leaders in Russia Likely to Trigger Witch Hunt by Paul Goble, Georgian Daily, May 27, 2009, about the concern that recent violence against mainstream religious leaders may trigger witchhunts against people of nonmainstream religions.

  • A bunch of stories from two days ago (May 25, 2009) about the arrest of 104 alleged "Devil worshippers" in Iran. Here's the Reutors story, containing the most detailed account I've found so far. The New York Times carried an abbreviated version. AFP carried the story today (May 27), as did Sky News. As we will see in the next batch of stories, below, there is reason to doubt the claim that the people arrested are in fact "Satan worshippers."

  • Some stories about prohibitions on heavy metal music concerts in the Middle East. There is currently such a ban in Jordan, according to the Global Post story Rock and a hard place by Tom A. Peter, May 25, 2009. On the other hand, the ban has been lifted in Morocco, according to the Global Voices story Morocco: When Arabs Rock by Hisham, May 24th, 2009, and The National (UAE) article Morocco’s metalheads make return by John Thorne, May 6, 2009. In both cases, heavy metal is/was banned because of rumors about "Satanist" and other un-Islamic content.

  • Some tales of dubious allegations of "Satanism" in South Africa: (1) South Africa: Drugs and Satanism Surrounds Child's Death Lavern De Vries,, April 22, 2009, about a legal wrangle between the dead child's natural mother and foster parents, and (2) Satanist takes blame for deaths, News 24, May 13, 2009, about the "confession" of an obviously mentally ill 15-year-old girl. Hopefully it will be obvious to most people that the allegations here are unlikely to be true. South Africa has been going through quite a Satanic panic lately, according to various news stories linked in the blog entry Satanic Panic in South Africa, posted on September 29, 2008 by Richard Bartholomew.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Witch Hunt" -- on the Bakersfield cases

I recently came across this review, by Aaron Whitehead, of "Witch Hunt" a recent MSNBC TV documentary about one of the first alleged cases of "Satanic ritual abuse" back in the 1980's.

Here are some other reviews:
Though I didn't get to see it, I'm VERY glad that such a documentary was aired recently.

See also my collection of links about the Bakersfield cases on my "Against Satanic Panics" site.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Church of Azazel - some good news for a change

As of a month ago, here in New York, I've found a very passionate co-administrator for the Church of Azazel. So, perhaps we will, finally, begin to get it off the ground as a local group.

Another local group that I run, NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and LHP Occultists, has been thriving lately too.

I've added the following to the bottom of various "Contact" pages on my websites:

My online activities are very intermittent, due to a hectic work schedule. I sometimes neglect my blogs for months at at time. If I do not promptly approve or respond to a comment you posted on one of my blogs, you may call my attention to it via Noelle, co-administrator of the Church of Azazel, via the Church of Azazel's Myspace page, which is run by Noelle.

Reply to miscellaneous old comments

I was away from this blog for about six months from the fall of 2008 until early this spring. When I returned, I found quite a bunch of comments awaiting moderation. A general response:

1) A few people asked about Jew-haters in the Satanist scene. My thoughts about them are here:
2) Several people wrote messages that implicitly requested a private email response. I do NOT automatically get the email address of people who post on this blog. If you want an email response, you'll need to post on one of my other blogs.

3) To the person who asked about Demonolatry: The best source is the OFS Demonolatry site. See especially their books, especially The Complete Book of Demonolatry.

4)To the person who asked about "scriptures": Don't look for "scriptures" in the sense of allegedly infallible revelations. Do not trust any such claims. Think for yourself, and study history and other scholarly information that may be relevant to your beliefs, or to things that you are contemplating believing.

5) I accidentally deleted a few comments. Apologies to those whose comments I deleted (other than span and other obviously inappropriate comments).

Paranoia about "Satanist" rock music in Tunisia

I recently came across the following news stories about the British rock band Anathema and a scheduled concert of theirs in Tunis, Tunisia (in Africa), which was cancelled by officials due to fears of "Satanism":

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On the murder of George Weber by John Katehis

Last week there was a flurry of news stories about the death of WABC (New York) news reporter George Weber at the hands of 16-year-old John Katehis of Elmhurst, Queens.

I'm very sorry to hear about this. I feel bad for the families of both. Also, of course, I'm concerned about possible repercussions for gays and for BDSM people, and, even more so, the possible repercussions for Satanists and various religious minorities that have been popularly confused with Satanists.

According to various news reports, Weber paid Katelis for "violent sex," having contacted him via an ad on Craigslist. For whatever reason, the scene got out of hand, and Katelis ended up stabbing Weber. Katelis claims to have freaked out when Weber got out a knife first. The cops don't believe his story because of the large number of stab wounds. Katelis admits that both he and Weber were on drugs, and blames the drugs for his alleged freak out.

On some GLBT sites, such as Tips Q, there are articles about how the religious right wing is using this tragedy to vilify gays in general. 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.

Some though not all news stories brought out a "Satanism" angle. The New York Post and WPIX said he was a fan of Anton LaVey. The New York Post article even mentioned the Church of Satan, yet also called Katehis a "Satan worshipper" - a bit of a contradiction, because the CoS emphatically does not believe in "worship" of anything but oneself. We were not given enough details to determine what kind of Satanism Katehis actually believed in, if any.