Archive for the 'Satanism' Category

The Satanic Kindred Organization’s “History of Satanism” page, recently echoed by “God Discussion”

June 9, 2011

On a website called God Discussion, with the ability to send its blog posts to Google News, there’s a post titled “Theistic Satanism Booming on the Internet, says Catholic Conference: But Why Would anyone want to Worship the Devil?” by johnthomas didymus, June 7, 2011.

First, thanks to the author for linking to a page on my Theistic Satanism website. Alas he also linked to, as an alleged authoritative source, a page about “The History of Satanism” on the website of the Satanic Kindred Organization. That page contains some serious errors which are echoed in the God Discussion post.

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Christian-based duotheism vs. evilism vs. “Devil worship”

June 8, 2011

Thanks to James Nicholson for referring to my article on Christian-based duotheism in his recent post on sectarian Satanism. However, he seems to have misunderstood what I mean by the term “Christian-based duotheism.”

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The here-and-now meaning of today’s Satan mythology

May 2, 2011

Who and what is Satan? The vast majority of the lore we have about Satan comes not from His worshipers, or from others who celebrate Satan, but from His enemies. Hence, in my opinion, the key to understanding today’s mythology about Satan is to ask these questions: (1) Who and what are Satan’s avowed enemies (SAE’s)? (2) What are SAE’s threatened by?

I believe in Satan as a deity. But I do not believe in the literal truth of any myth about any deity. I believe that the true essence of any deity is probably beyond human comprehension, but that there are real spiritual forces/entities that may manifest to us via our myths.. So, what kind of deity would manifest via the Satan myth?

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Some of my history of challenging prejudice (mainly anti-Satanism by Pagans)

March 19, 2011

Lately, challenging people’s prejudices has gotten much harder than it used to be. Once it was easy and fun. Over the years it became much more difficult. Lately, it often seems to have become almost impossible. For whatever reasons, it seems that most people today are a lot less willing to consider new ideas than most people were, say, back in the 1970’s.

Nevertheless, even today it is still possible to make progress in counteracting specific prejudices, if one is willing to be persistent about it.

Here’s a brief history of some of my major successes and failures at challenging people’s prejudices over the past few decades:

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Catholic priests who secretly practice Satanic rites?

March 3, 2011

In a comment on my previous post, Preliminary response to Michael Cuneo on exorcism, Raul Gil requested a separate thread to respond to my page about the murder case of Father Gerald Robinson in Toledo, Ohio (U.S.A.) on my Against Satanic Panics site. So here it is.

Raul, thanks for respecting the topicality of the original comment thread.

In particular, Raul wanted to discuss allegations about Catholic priests who secretly practice Satanic rites.

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The Catholic exorcism trend and Italy’s Satanic panic

February 9, 2011

The recent movie The Rite is loosely based on a (supposedly) nonfiction book that was published two years ago, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. The book is about an American priest who spent his sabbatical year in Italy training to be an exorcist.

As Laura Miller explains in “Eat your saints, purge your demons,” Salon, March 27, 2009:

Father Gary Thomas, Baglio’s trainee exorcist, half fell into the job; he volunteered when, in 2004, the Vatican asked every Catholic bishop to appoint an official exorcist to his diocese. This startling development can be explained by the fact that for the past decade Italy has been gripped by an intermittent satanic ritual abuse panic similar to the hysteria that swept through the U.S. in the 1980s.

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The JBFCS Cult Clinic and Satanism: A response to Arnold Markowitz, LCSW

January 27, 2011

(revised February 10, 2011)

Here in New York City, there is a Cult Hotline and Clinic run by the JBFCS (the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services). They provide various helpful services to ex-members of “cults” and to estranged families and friends of “cult” members. They are, as far as I can tell, the only place in New York City that offers such services.

Truly harmful religious groups certainly do exist, and it’s good that there are at least a few places, like the JBFCS Cult Clinic, where people who have been hurt by such groups can get help. But the website of the JBFCS Cult Clinic associates Satanism in general with “cults,” even though the vast majority of Satanist groups (or, at least, most of the ones I’ve run into) do not fit the JBFCS Cult Clinic’s definition of a “cult.”

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Christine O’Donnell and her alleged “little midnight picnic on a satanic altar”

September 19, 2010

In response to Bill Maher’s re-playing, on Friday, of Christine O’Donnell’s claim to have “dabbled into witchcraft” and “had a little midnight picnic on a satanic altar” (as reported by New York Magazine, ABC News, the Washington Post, and Think Progress, among other sources), some Pagans have defensively insisted that she must have dabbled in Satanism and not witchcraft/Wicca, and that the alleged “witch” whom she dated must have been a Satanist and not a Wiccan.

In fact, neither a serious practicing Wiccan nor a serious practicing Satanist is likely to have a picnic on one’s altar.

A more sober Pagan response is Speculations on Christine O’Donnell and Witchcraft by Gus diZerega, Saturday September 18, 2010. He even admits the possibility that she might have dated one of the “creeps infesting the Pagan community” who “used his alleged ‘magickal powers’ to try and impress simple-minded women attracted by power that he was hot stuff.” Of course, as Gus diZerega correctly points out, such “creeps” are not representative of the Pagan community.

Anyhow, to put Christine O’Donnell’s claim into perspective, we should note her tendency to confuse Satanism with not only Wicca but also rock fan culture.

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Reply to Henry Makow fans

June 28, 2010

Someone posted a link to my post Aloysius Fozdyke, Satanic conspiracy hoaxter in a comment on a page on Henry Makow’s site. This led to a flurry of anti-Satanist comments being posted here on this site. I’ve let through — and will now respond to — those comments that do not also contain bigoted remarks against some other religious group too (such as Jews) and which do not contain threats of violence.

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Reply to Geral Sosbee

June 28, 2010

Geral Sosbee posted a rambling, off-topic comment beneath my post America’s Most Wanted: The “Satan worshipers” who allegedly killed Kimberly Simon. His comment was about “the scenario today on the world stage with the fbi/cia/pentagon (and their minions, stooges,shills, thugs,punks,assassins,operatives, agents,informants,and police/national guard Gen d’armes, all acting as mafia type figures.” It ended with a bunch of links to pages on his website on which he claims to have been a victim of various fbi/cia-sponsored abuses.

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Aloysius Fozdyke, Satanic conspiracy hoaxter

June 15, 2010

Yesterday, Satanic panic promoter (and all-around bigot) Henry Makow published an email from one “Aloysius Fozdyke,” alleged to be a “prominent Satanic insider.” This email was the latest installment in a saga which began, back on January 2 of this year, with the publication of a message from “Aloysius Fozdyke” by a grand conspiracy website called “Love for Life.”

The long, rambling January 2 message is obviously a prank. I mean, just look at the section about the “Order of the Toilet” and its “latrine doctrines.” To me, this reads like a parody of traditional occult orders.

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Beer-lovin’ anti-Satanist

May 22, 2010

More foul-mouthed nonsense, this time from an anti-Satanist believer in grand conspiracy ideology — or, perhaps, from someone whose idea of a joke is to pretend to be an anti-Satanist believer in grand conspiracy ideology? Below is an edited version of a rejected comment from someone named Jesse, with an email address proclaiming a fondness for beer. Apparently he had consumed quite a bit of his favorite beverage before writing the following:

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A book about the SRA scare by Paul R McHugh

July 7, 2009

I’ve come across some reviews of a book, written within the past year, about the recovered-memory aspect of the Satanic Ritual Abuse scare: Try to Remember: Psychiatry’s Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind by Paul R McHugh.

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Stephen Lemons on Satanists who don’t like neo-Nazis

July 2, 2009

Recently I came across Thomas Coletto Renounces Neo-Nazi-ism, Alleges Former Comrade to be Satanist by Stephen Lemons on the Phoenix New Times site, June 9, 2009. This blog post is about Thomas Coletto, a former member of the National Socialist Movement, the same neo-Nazi group that Joy of Satan founder Maxine Dietrich’s husband Clifford Herrington had a leading role in.

The post contains a link to my page How can we effectively discourage neo-Nazism in the Satanist scene?, in a sentence which reads: “There are also Satanist Web sites out there where Satanists discuss how to weed neo-Nazis out of their ranks, which begs the question: Which is worse, genuflecting to Beelzebub, or slapping a swastika on your arm?”

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Hank Hanegraaff — an example of fundamentalist/evangelical Christian beliefs about Satan

May 1, 2009

Today I surfed onto a blog belonging to a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian named Hank Hanegraaff, who runs something called the Christian Research Institute (CRI).

He seems to be, in some ways, one of the more honest and reasonable evangelical Christian public figures. Back in the early 1990’s, CRI published some articles debunking the “Satanic ritual abuse” scare , for which I would like to thank him. Back then, standing up against the SRA scare required quite a bit of courage.

In most other ways, though, I still have to regard him as being very much in the enemy camp, for reasons aptly summed up here on RationalWiki (although, as I’ll detail later, the RationalWiki page contains some inaccuracies).

Anyhow, I would like to call attention to some things he says that are of interest both to Satanists and to Pagan Witches.

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Satanisms and politics: More about Julian Karswell’s blog

May 24, 2008

Continuing the commentary I began in my earlier posts Satanisms and politics: To Julian Karswell, May 17, 2008, and Further reply to Julian Karswell, May 22, 2008, here on WordPress.com:

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Further reply to Julian Karswell

May 22, 2008

I’ll now reply to the second comment by Julian Karswell beneath my post Satanism and politics: Question for Julian Karswell and other LaVey-based Satanists on my Google/Blogspot blog.

Julian, I would like to suggest that you reply either here on WordPress.com or, better yet, on your own blog.

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Satanisms and politics: To Julian Karswell

May 17, 2008

On my Theistic Satanism blog on Google/Blogspot, I posted a brief response to Julian Karswell’s “Opus Diaboli” website. I’ll now post some commentary about his blog, which I’ll do here on WordPress.com, to take advantage of the “trackback” feature.

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“Voodoo, black magic or Satanism, call it what you like” – No!

April 26, 2008

In a news story from the Tenerife Canary Islands in Spain, Gruesome goings-on in Arona’s cemetery, Fortnightly Tenerife News, Spain – Mar 27, 2008, the first sentence says:

Voodoo, black magic or Satanism, call it what you like, the gruesomely shocking results have scandalized the residents of Arona and have angered and horrified the relatives of those whose bodies have been desecrated by some profoundly unbalanced individuals.

No, don’t “call it what you like.” Find out what it is. Don’t just go randomly slurring nonmainstream religions.
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Zalbarath’s commentary

June 13, 2007

Zalbarath has replied here to my previous response to him about the draft of rules for the Theistic Satanism Blog Network.
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Punkwolf’s commentary on the tags and the rules

June 13, 2007

Punkwolf has written a Commentary on the TS Blog Network rules:

For example, it is much easier to keep a debate between Satanists and Christians rational and civil if the link to it appears on a page with a title like “Theistic Satanist interfaith discussion,” so that those theistic Satanists who aren’t prepared to deal with Christians in a friendly manner can easily avoid it.

It’s also for those Satanists who might be prepared to deal civilly with Christians, but who realise that Christians might not be prepared to reciprocate. It would be nice if there was some way to differentiate. The separate tag for the “troll playground” is along the right idea, but a lot of “interfaith discussion” can become hostile without much warning. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any way to weed out the hostile Christians et al. except by relying on their own self-policing, just as the network relies on Satanists (and pagans and occultists) to police themselves and use their better judgement.

Actually, the system will rely on more than just self-policing, especially for people other than Satanists, Pagans, and occultists. Bloggers will be divided into five categories with different levels of access in their use of the network tags. See Sets of people eligible to use particular network tags.
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Theistic Satanism Blog Network: more about the draft of rules

June 11, 2007

Kafele Minkabh, in a blog titled Ave Satana, has written some brief comments about the proposed rules for the Theistic Satanism Blog Network:

I have not read the page in full yet–the document is lengthy and I’ll have to set aside some time in the near future to go through it properly. I have, however, scanned the whole document and read the first few sections carefully.

I look forward to seeing your further comments when you have time to read it in more depth.
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Theistic Satanism Blog Network: draft of rules, etc.

June 10, 2007

Zalbarath says he finds my draft page Theistic Satanism Blog Network: Tag topicality and other rules and guidelines to be more confusing than the rules for my Yahoo groups.

This surprises me. Zalbarath, are you sure that the blog network rules are actually more complicated, or are you just disappointed that they aren’t several orders of magnitude simpler? Offhand, I don’t see any ways that the blog network rules are more complicated than the Yahoo group rules, except that some issues are discussed as gray areas rather than as absolute black-and-white prohibitions.

I would appreciate it very much if you could take another look at the page and tell me specifically what parts you find confusing and, especially, what parts are more confusing than the corresponding rules for my Yahoo groups. Perhaps there are some specific issues on which the blog network rules need to be clarified or simplified? Or perhaps there are some ways that the page could be organized better?
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Theistic Satanism Blog Network

June 7, 2007

I hope soon to launch a blog network. Once the script is finished, there will be pages on my Theistic Satanism site containing automatically updated lists of recent posts with particular tags on all member blogs, one such page per tag. My script will be able to support blogs hosted on WordPress.com, Google/Blogspot, and LiveJournal. For more information, please see my pages about the Theistic Satanism Blog Network.

The owner of a blog called Ave Satana recently pinged my post on “Taking elements of” older religions and “warping them into something else”. In that blog there is a post titled Satanism as a uniform entity which talks about, among other things, the need to raise the public visibility of theistic Satanism. Hopefully my forthcoming blog network will help to accomplish just that. At the very least, hopefully it will do a better job of this than my Yahoo groups did.

“Taking elements of” older religions and “warping them into something else”

May 26, 2007

On both the blogs To slam a revolving door and A Blog of 2 Witches, there is an entry titled “10 Things Everyone Should Know About Witches, containing the following:

4) We are NOT Satanists (a Satanist actually takes elements from Christianity and pagan traditions and warps them into something else. Satan is a Christian myth, so it is NOT something associated with witches)

Well, this is a little better than the commonly-heard claim that all forms of Satanism are “just upside down Christianity.” At least there’s an acknowledgment here that most Satanists draw ideas from other sources besides just Christianity.

However, the intended point here seems to be that modern Pagan Witchcraft, supposedly unlike Satanism in this regard, is supposedly a pure and pristene ancient pagan tradition – which it most definitely is not.
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More about “fringe cults” — What is “normal”?

April 21, 2007

Eariler today I posted a blog entry titled “Fringe cults”, about the debate following “The Devil Is In The Details” on the blog “Sailing to Byzantium.”

In response to my initial reply to “unitedcats,” I got replies not only from “unitedcats” himself but also from another person:

katyjane wrote::
April 18th, 2007 at 5:28 pm

dianavera… are you not guilty, in that last line, or doing the same thing you decried of unitedcats? Why would non-mainstream folks be “even more varied” than mainstream folks?

You get some pretty different ideas, regardless of where you’re looking.

I replied:

Diane Vera wrote::
April 20th, 2007 at 10:56 am

katyjane wrote:

“dianavera… are you not guilty, in that last line, or doing the same thing you decried of unitedcats? Why would non-mainstream folks be ‘even more varied’ than mainstream folks?”

Obviously there are more ways to differ from the norm than there are ways to be normal. That’s simple math.

Of course it’s true that even amongst “normal” folks there is quite a bit of variety.

I would add now that what I was doing was not at all the same thing that I (perhaps incorrectly) perceived that “unitedcats” was doing. I was not making a generalization about all people outside of some norm of my own.

As it turns out, I may have misperceived what “unitedcats” meant by “fringe cults.” (See my previous post,“Fringe cults”.)

Admittedly my reply to “katyjane” was rather abrupt, since I was arguing what seemed to me to be an extremely obvious point. But apparently it wasn’t.
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“Fringe cults”

April 21, 2007

Shortly after writing my first two posts here on this new blog of mine a few days ago, I looked at WordPress’s listing for the Satanism tag, to see if my post on Satanic panic in Russia? had appeared there yet. It hadn’t, but my eye was caught by a blog entry titled “The Devil Is In The Details” on a blog called “Sailing to Byzantium.” The post was about Anton LaVey. I agreed with most of the what the author had to say. I was glad to see his open-mindedness about LaVeyan Satanism, but I also agree with most of his stated reservations about it, as well as with most of what he said he liked about it.

Then I looked down at the comments and came across the following:

unitedcats wrote::
March 4th, 2007 at 12:59 am

I would have to agree, all fringe cults are pretty much the same. Satanism, UFO cultists, whatever…just lost souls who want to be special somehow and don’t have much identity of their own. Mostly harmless, I mean things like the Solar Temple, Jim Jones, Aun Shimrikyo make the news…but there must be million’s of people in fringe cults around the world so the dangerous ones are the exception, not the rule. And mostly dangerous to their own members even when they do go nuts. Often confused too, like the dyslexic Satanist who sold his soul to Santa. ;) JMO —Doug

Startled by this person’s claim that “all fringe cults” (apparently including all the many different kinds of Satanism???) are “all … pretty much the same,” and that their adnerents are all “just lost souls who want to be special somehow and don’t have much identity of their own,” I quickly dashed off the following reply:

dianevera wrote::
April 18th, 2007 at 12:39 pm

unitedcats, you sure do generalize about people in “all fringe cults,” claiming that they are all “just lost souls who want to be special somehow and don’t have much identity of their own.” People in nonmainstream religions have a variety of different motives, just as people in mainstream religions do. You have fallen into the common human tendency to oversimplify and to be socially dualistic, to see everyone outside one’s own little box as being fundamentally all alike. But that’s an error — they aren’t all alike. Nonmainstream folks are even more varied than mainstream folks.

As we will see later, I may have misunderstood what “unitedcats” meant by “fringe cults.” I got the impression that, by “all fringe cults,” he was referring to all nonmainstream religions. He may have meant to refer just to the more authoritarian, “brainwashing,” and controlling ones, rather than to nonmainstream religions in general. Or does he perhaps believe that all nonmainstream religions are “cults” in the authoritarian/”brainwashing”/controlling sense? If so, that belief is wrong. Or does he perhaps believe that all forms of Satanism are “cults” in the authoritarian/”brainwashing”/controlling sense? If so, that belief is wrong too. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to ask these questions in my reply.
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Gwan Garrison, the next Mike Warnke?

April 19, 2007

I recently ran into the following two stories, both on the website of Baptist Press in Tennessee:

Gwan Garrison claims to be an ex-Satanist. Googling “Satanism Gwan Garrison,” I found the following earlier versions of the above two articles, on Christian Index, a Georgia Baptist site:

His bio seemed awfully fishy to me.

I also found some witty and thought-provoking commentary on About.com, on Witchvox, and on J-Walk Blog.

On About.com, in an article titled “Satanic Panic, or ‘I was a Satanic Witch (No, Really, I Could Fly and Everything!)’,” Jennifer Emick sums up Gwan Garrison’s story as follows:

Baptist Pastor Gwan Garrison talks about how much he enjoyed “persecuting Christians,” and he’s sure to mention (with the amount of accuracy typical in these stories) his “Satanic altar” and his “crystals.” It’s light fare compared to some of these stories- no bloody sacrifices, no marriages to Satan- but there is a glowering cat and a high-voltage Satanic bible- and there is, of course, that ever-present character, the tirelessly persistent evangelical whose refusal to stop pestering the ungodly results in his miraculous transformation.

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More about school shootings and stereotypes

April 19, 2007

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone would start talking about “Satanism” in connection with school shootings, in the wake of the Virginia Tech murders — even though the killer at VT, Cho Seung-Hui, had no connection with any kind of Satanism, as far as I can tell.
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Satanic panic in Russia?

April 17, 2007

A Russian Orthodox public movement called the “People’s Council” has made some ill-informed, panic-stricken claims about Satanism:

  • “People’s Council urges authorities to equate Satanists to terrorists,” Interfax-Religion, Russia – Apr 2, 2007

It released a statement claiming that “ritual murders” and various other nasty activities are all “characteristic of Satanic organizations.”

The statement is said to mention several ritual murders including the allegedly notorious “murder of three Optino monks killed by a Satanist on Orthodox Easter.” (I found no further information about this crime via Google.)

The statement also says, “There is an enormous number of Satanic organizations and groups acting in Russia today. Many of them are united in a single branchy network.”

Yeah, right.

The statement then goes on the mention the “Church of the Satan” [sic], failing to note that the Church of Satan has been an above-ground organization for over 40 years and does NOT endorse any kind of criminal activity.

I found the following blog entry:

  • “‘Satanists as dangerous as terrorists! World at risk from Satan cults’ claim Russian Orthodox,” Signs of Witness

It closes with the comment, “It could be that Religious Right Hysteria is the real ‘danger to Society…'”