The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'satanism'
The Village Voice has a profile piece on the Satanic Temple, the new group pranking the US Religious Right in the name of the Prince of Darkness, and the latest manifestation of the long and somewhat varied tradition of Satanism; this time, as détournement. This particular Satanic Temple seems to have been founded by a Brooklyn-based journalist named Doug Mesner (who goes by the name “Lucien Greaves”, his legal name being presumably insufficiently Satanic-sounding), possibly emerging out of a mockumentary project about “the world's nicest Satanic cult” praising right-wing Christian politicians in Florida, but since then has gone on to hold a “pink mass” on the grave of the mother of anti-gay religious preacher Fred Phelps, posthumously turning her lesbian, and commissioning a rather handsome-looking statue of Baphomet, to be placed outside the Oklahoma State Capitol alongside the Ten Commandments monument, testing the sincerity of state lawmakers' commitment to religious freedom. In fact, most of their work seems to centre around turning the US Constitution's neutrality on actual religions and the entrenched privilege of the Religious Right (as seen in recent court rulings, such as those allowing corporations to have religious values which override their employees' rights) against each other; they campaign (on constitutionally-protected grounds of religious exemption) against corporal punishment in schools and, most recently, have used this angle in a campaign against restrictions on abortion.
Unsurprisingly, the Satanic Temple gets a lot of hate mail from the usual good ol' boys. Perhaps also unsurprisingly, though, their most strident (or at least coherently so) critics are other self-identified Satanists; namely, the Church Of Satan, the Satanic sect founded by Anton LaVey in the Sixeventies, and since inherited by one Peter Gilmore, who has nothing nice to say about the new kids, and keeps saying it:
"When a fellow in horns — with an adopted moniker fit for a 1970s hairdresser — tea-bags a tombstone while some 'goth' rejects swap spit on the grave, it seems to us to be a parody of Satanism rather than a representation of some actual philosophical or religious organization." Those lines were written by Magus Peter H. Gilmore, leader of the Church of Satan, on the Church's official blog. It's one of several denunciations Gilmore has issued against the Satanic Temple in the past year.One would expect the Church Of Satan to resent upstart groups on its turf, especially ones whose activity and media-savviness is making the older group look tired and past its prime. (And the Church Of Satan does not seem to have done much since Anton LaVey died; apparently the older Church, whilst shunning publicity, does have private events for those who have earned entry to them; they do not say what sorts of events these are, so they may just be exclusive hot-tub parties with septagenarians who have first-hand stories about the wild old days). The generational divide also shows a chasm of values; the Church of Satan, founded in the 1960s, was both a product of the explosive “youthquake” that upended the authoritarian, conformistic values of 1950s America, and also a reaction to its mushier peace-and-love aspects; its philosophies of hedonism, pride and vengeance against one's enemies borrowed from Nietzsche and Ayn Rand (who wrote a foreword to its The Satanic Scriptures). The Satanic Temple, meanwhile, is a product of the current age; more liberal, more media-savvy, and essentially humanistic, to the point of being conspicuously (and, some would argue, contemptibly) nice. If LaVey Satanism was a reaction against the suburban docility of Eisenhower-era America and namby-pamby hippie crap, then might Greaves' Satanism be a reaction against the equivalents in post-Reaganite America: the sort of Randian dog-eat-dog values embodied both by the political/economic mainstream and the old Satanic counterculture (who, to be fair, were into them first)? If so, the Church of Satan comes off rather badly, looking like an aging hipster whose countercultural stance has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, infusing the mainstream with its values and leaving them with just some tatty old clothes which no longer fit and the claim of having done it first.
Let it not be said that the Catholic Church is out of touch with the pressing issues of today; a six-day conference in the Vatican this week discussed the alarming, internet-driven rise in Satanism that has been keeping the Vatican's exorcists flat out:
"The internet makes it much easier than in the past to find information about Satanism," said Carlo Climati, a member of the university who specialises in the dangers posed to young people by Satanism. "In just a few minutes you can contact Satanist groups and research occultism."It's good to see that the Vatican is concerned about protecting young people from danger.
An exorcist should be called when "the moral certainty has been reached that the person is possessed", said Father Nanni, a member of the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. That could be indicated by radical and disturbing changes in the person's behaviour and voice, or an ability to garble in foreign languages or nonsensical gibberish.
Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron, scream, dribble and slobber, utter blasphemies and have to be physically restrained."Amorth" is a great name for a priest specialising in Satanic possession; it even sounds like a Norwegian black-metal musician's stage name.
Some animal shelters in the US are refusing to give black cats away for adoption before Halloween, lest the hapless moggies end up abused or sacrificed in Satanic rituals. The same goes for white rabbits, it seems. (I'm guessing that goats and black cockerels aren't found often enough in animal shelters to be an issue˙)
“It’s kind of an urban legend. But in the humane industry it’s pretty typical that shelters don’t do adoptions of black cats or white bunnies because of the whole satanic sacrificial thing,” Morgan said. “If we prevent one animal from getting hurt, then it serves its purpose.”
“Black cats already suffer a stigma because of their color,” said Gail Buchwald, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter in New York City. “Why penalize them any more by limiting the times when they can be adopted?”Apparently superstitions about black cats are not uncommon in the US:
Black cats tend to be adopted less often than other felines, Buchwald said. “Behaviorally, there’s no difference from the color of the cat. It’s tied into this whole mythology about the animal — don’t let it cross your path or some foreboding or foreshadowing of evil — and that’s an outdated superstition,” she said.
It's official: a US district court has ruled that household product manufacturer Procter & Gamble are not Satanists, despite the persistent urban legends: More specifically, the ruling smacked down four representatives of Amway, a rival product manufacturer allegedly connected with the US Religious Right and/or operating in a cult-like fashion, of deliberately spreading this rumour and urging a boycott. The defendants denied malicious intent, saying that their goal was merely to "fight the Church of Satan".
To the best of my knowledge the Church of Satan has not issued any statement on the ruling.
After Italy saw a spate of gruesome murders carried out by self-professed Satanists (who, apparently, indulge in "a lethal blend of black magic, hard drugs, sex and heavy metal"), the Italian police are planning to set up a "Satan squad". The special task force will include psychologists and a priest and will investigate "potentially dangerous religious movements". Some are concerned, though, that such a squad would become a hammer of Catholic majoritarianism and persecute harmless minority religions.
Meet the Partridge Family Temple, a parody religion/bunch of hipsters/creepy religious cult in Portland, Oregon, who dress in flamboyant 1960s fashion, hang around in bars, and seem to be partial to a spot of the old ultraviolence.
Although the idea of basing a religion on a sappy 1970s sitcom sounds like a joke, Fairlee insists he's serious. As he explains it, The Partridge Family was, in fact, the living embodiment of religious archetypes which have echoed through humanity from the earliest days. Shirley Jones is the virgin mother earth goddess; she had children, but no father was ever mentioned in the show. David Cassidy was the satyr or male sex god, a fact supported by his legendarily large phallus. Danny Bonaduce, the constant trouble-maker, was the loki or devil character. And Bobby Sherman, a one-episode guest, was the grim reaper, driving a hearse in his own spin-off series, "Getting Together."Incidentally, Shaun Partridge appears to be part of the same vaguely Satanistic hipster-misanthrope hate-is-great milieu as Boyd Rice and Jim Goad.
After three decades, veteran American fringe publisher Loompanics is closing down, and is liquidating its entire catalogue at half price. Their works include from conspiratological alternative history, anarchism, atheism, Satanism, extremism, visionary/crackpot ideas, drug literature, criminal how-tos (for educational purposes only, of course), various 1960s-vintage utopianisms, and a lot of freaky shit; well-known titles published by Loompanics include the Principia Discordia and How To Disappear Completely.
On New Year's Eve, Malaysian police raided a rock gig over accusations of "Satanic black metal" activities, detaining numerous fans, who were then drug-tested and paraded before tabloid journalists. (It appears that Malaysian tabloids look like the Herald-Sun or Daily Star, only written in Malay; I guess some things are universal.) It is unclear what the attendees are being charged with, though the tabloids have recounted all sorts of sensational stories of Devil worship, sex orgies and fanzines with "elements of violence, pornography, Judaism, and curse words like 'fuck'".
The bands insist that they weren't "black metal", though, to be fair, given the fact that they had names like Force Vomit (who are from Singapore, of all places; is potentially offensive music actually legal over there?), Devilica, Triple6Poser and 360 Degree Head Rotation, it's probably safe to say that they weren't easy-listening or inoffensively sugary pop. What it looks like is the local wowsers and busybodies using religious legislation to crack down on any subculture with a whiff of adolescent rebellion and shock value about it, such as all forms of metal, punk and That Godawful Racket Kids These Days Listen To.
(via bOING bOING)
In January 1998, two teenage death-metal fans in Milan disappeared after drinking at a pub popular with the local metalheads. The father of one of them started making inquiries at concerts and festivals, and uncovers a Satanist death cult in the metal scene, one which has been linked to a number of murders (mostly of other teenage headbangers, by the sound of it):
One of Fabio's school friends, Mario Maccione, confessed to having beaten Fabio to death with a hammer. He also revealed that the boys had been part of a wider satanic sect called the Beasts of Satan. It was revealed Andrea Bontade, a drummer, had been terrorised into committing suicide. Soon, other mysterious deaths were being linked to the Beasts.
An inquest into the suicide of two young people in Sydney blows the lid off the Goth subculture threatening your children. Goths, who are recognisable by piercings and a liking for Marilyn Manson and Korn, are into magic and the occult and given to self-harm and even suicide pacts:
Late yesterday, a school friend - a member of a Goth clique at the South Coast high school the girl attended - told the inquest her friend had been into white magic, Wicca, not the dark magic she said some Goths followed.I wonder what the serious Wiccans make of teenage angstpuppies appropriating their religion as a badge of hormonal alienation.
She said while some "heavy Goths" were into self-harm and talked of suicide, it was only once - on the night her friend ran away and came to stay at her house - that she mentioned suicide.I think I've witnessed the "heavy Goth" phenomenon. They'd be the ones hanging around shopping centres in size-XXXL Marilyn Manson/Cradle of Filth T-shirts, pale flesh bulging out from fishnet tops.
Momus opines on recent attempts to promote Satanistic occultism as a key part of "alternative culture":
Yes, Satanism just strikes me as... silly, I'm afraid. Why abandon the idiocy of God if you're not also going to abandon the idiocy of The Devil? Sure, I love mystery, and I love "the old religion", the Greek pantheon, the Celts, Shinto, all that stuff. What I hate, though, is the way Christianity vilified fertility religions and made them "evil". You can still see the result of that in the way various speakers at the Disinfo conference, included on the DVD, have a certain "evil glow" in their eyes, or believe they possess an "evil charisma". America's idiotic binary culture forces you to be good or evil, with or against, constructive or destructive. The result is that alternative culture people internalize the stigma of otherness, becoming Fashion Goths and Slayer fans.
I dislike Satanism for aesthetic reasons too. Occult sections in bookstores are usually magnets for the spottiest, stupidest, most badly-dressed people. Occultist websites are appalling cautionary tales, evidence that, whatever else he does, Satan makes you commit every graphic design sin known to man. But I particularly resist precisely this thing that Jason Louv is advocating in Generation Hex, the stringing together of Satanism and alternative culture. I resist it because it's just fucking boring to see the counterculture summed up with a skull. But also because alternative culture has some important work to do, work it needs rationality and clear-headedness to carry through, and work which it needs to believe in its own ethical goodness to bring to mainstream acceptance. Wouldn't it be terrible if everyone, for instance, who thought there were other shibboleths than endless economic growth, all turned out to go to secret meetings and make secret signs to each other and think they were "evil"?
Impaled Northern Moonforest is an Acoustic Black Metal act, and has songs for downloading, with titles like "Lustfully Worshipping The Inverted Moongoat While Skiing Down The Inverted Necromountain Of Necrodeathmortum" and "Entranced By The Northern Impaled Necrowizard's Blasphemous Incantation Amidst The Agonizing Abomination Of THe Lusting Necrocorpse". They sound exactly as you imagine them to.
What do Norwegian Black Metal and American Neo-Conservatism have in common? See here.
The similarities dont stop there. Whereas Vikernes and other Black Metalists saw heathen Norway in a life-or-death struggle for existence with the Semitic tribes Judeo-Christianity, Perle and Frum see Judeo-Christian America under threat from Islam. And both have the same solution: War, dude!
To be fair, Vikernes and another Black Metalist murderer, Hendrik Mobus, come off as far more interesting, intellectual and complex with their second-rate Nietzschean ideas mixed up with D&D mythology, whereas Perle and Frums war manifesto is surprisingly dull and sparse. Indeed, on each page the words are spaced so far apart you could drive a fertilizer-packed white van between each line. I read it in one sitting and came away with only one memorable line, in which they disparagingly called Belgium "Frances pilot fish." On the other hand, Perle and Frum have used their influence over Bush to rack up a far, far higher corpse-count than the hapless Norwegian dirtheads, so they more than make up for their lack of aesthetic flair or stylized corpse paint with genuine blood on their hands.
A page written by an outfit calling themselves "Objective: Christian Ministries" and detailing why Apple Computer is a tool of Satan; from their new Darwin OS, based on Communist open-source software and demonic BSD UNIX to notorious atheist Richard Dawkins' preference for Macintoshes, it's all here.
Mind you, I'm not sure whether these people are a joke or a genuine group of honest-to-goodness religious fruitcakes. For what it's worth they also have a campaign to shut down Landover Baptist as an "anti-Christian hate crime".
A new menace is threatening the impressionable youth of Malaysia; the menace of black metal, heavy-metal music with Satanic subtexts. It is not clear how Malaysian Black Metal differs from the Norwegian variant (presumably it'd be more anti-Islamic than anti-Christian, for one), or whether the menace is so far just headbangers getting down to imported Burzum CDs, but clerics say thay have found evidence of heavy metal fans being involved in Satanic activities. the Malaysian government, meanwhile, is taking firm steps to nip the problem in the bud, including ordering radio stations to play less heavy metal and requiring touring bands to submit videotapes before playing concerts. A committee of government-appointed clerics has called for a total ban on black metal music and associated imagery, and some schools have reportedly began strip-searching students for tattoos linked with the subculture.
A church in Canberra, alarmed at those wicked Harry Potter books seducing children away from the truth of Christianity, has distributed a leaflet to its members about the dangers these books pose to children, and their contribution to the rise of juvenile devil worship in America. Unbeknownst to them, the text of the leaflet was taken from a piece in the Onion.
Childrens' literature sensation Harry Potter has been blamed for introducing children to the occult:
Educators nationwide are praising the books for getting children excited about reading. "It's almost impossible to find a book that can compete with those PlayStation games, but Harry Potter has done it," said Gulfport (MS) Middle School principal Frank Grieg. "I have this one student in the fifth grade who'd never read a book before in his life. Now he's read Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner Of Azkaban, Chamber Of Secrets, Goblet Of Fire, The Seven Scrolls Of The Black Rose, The Necronomicon, The Satanic Bible, The Origin Of Species--you name it."
A Christian Fundamentalist warning about how Pokemon leads to role-playing and necromancy:
Strange as it may sound to American ears, demonic possession is no longer confined to distant lands. Today, government schools from coast to coast are teaching students the skills once reserved for the tribal witchdoctor or shaman in distant lands. Children everywhere are learning the pagan formulas for invoking "angelic" or demonic spirits through multicultural education, popular books, movies, and television.