Yesterday I finally got around to writing a draft of the Church of Azazel’s statement against violent crime and vandalism in the name of Satan or Satanism.
I would urge all law-abiding Satanist groups to make a similar statement, condemning violent crime and vandalism on whatever grounds are appropriate to the group’s own particular paradigm.
Alas, it appears that vandalism involving “Satanic symbols” is a rising trend these days. So, we do need to distance ourselves from it.
A few months ago, on November 19, 2009, the New York Daily News published a story titled Religious, homophobic hate surges in L.A. county by Troy Anderson. The story reports a drop in hate crimes in general, but a rise in homophobic and religious-based hate crimes. The total stats were:
111: Hate crimes based on sexual orientation in 2007
134: Hate crimes based on sexual orientation in 2008
105: Hate crimes based on religion in 2007
120: Hate crimes based on religion in 2008
763: Overall hate crimes in 2007
729: Overall hate crimes in 2008
About the hate crimes based on religion in 2008:
While most of the religious hate crimes were anti-Jewish – 65 percent – anti-Scientology crimes composed 13 percent and anti-Christian hate crimes totaled 9 percent.
Nine percent of 120 is approximately 11. The article also says:
Also, 16 of the religious hate crimes involved language or symbols related to Satanism, including 11 involving satanic graffiti at churches and religious schools. One of those churches was set on fire with Molotov cocktails.
“Satanic graffiti” does NOT make the perpetrator a Satanist. Nor does it make the perpetrator a “Devil worshiper” either (for those LaVeyan Satanists whose answer to the scapegoating of Satanists is to turn around and scapegoat “Devil worshipers” instead).
In at least one similar case here in New York, the perpetrators didn’t even know enough about Satanism (or “Devil worship”) to know that a Satanic pentagram is point-down, whereas the point-up pentagram is most commonly a symbol of Wicca these days. See the point-up pentagram in the photo accompanying the New York Daily News story Rebuilding of Glory of Christ Church set to begin; ‘666’, ‘Hail of Satan’ spray-painted on walls (by Ben Chapman, Jonathan Lemire and Joe Kemp, Friday, December 11, 2009). Nevertheless, another Daily News report on this same story proclaimed: Satan’s handiwork: Goon torches Glory of Christ Church in Bronx after leaving signs of devil worship (by Tanyanika Samuels, Jonathan Lemire and John Lauinge, Thursday, December 10, 2009). And a Christian commentator on the “Examiner” site outright claimed that the perpetrators were “Satanists”: Christians come together to rebuild church torched by Satanists (Elizabeth Delaney, December 12, 2009). A few days later, another New York Daily News story blamed the arson on a “satanist [sic] fire-starter”: See Vigil held for Bronx church torched by satanic arsonist (Jill Colvin, Monday, December 14, 2009).
The graffiti in this case also included “Crip Kill,” suggesting that the perpetrators were members of a “Bloods” gang. (See also the Associated Press stories Arsonists torch Bronx synagogue-turned-church by Verena Dobnik, as published in the Seattle Times on Thursday, December 10, 2009, and Arsonists torch NY church, as published on the website of WCAX in Vermont on December 10, 2009.)
I suspect that most similar church vandalism is the work of youth gangs. And I suspect that the motive isn’t so much “anti-Christian” as it is anti-community. Churches are a natural enemy of gangs insofar as churches, simply by virtue of being organized groups, empower their members to take their neighborhood back from the gangs — or at least keep their own kids out of the gangs. If there were a large group of Satanists that neighborhood, the gangs would probably hate us even more than they hate the Christians and Jews, because Satanists (especially LaVeyans, which I am not) tend to be big on law and order, and are not at all inclined to put up with gangs in our neighborhoods if there is anything we can do to fight back.