The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hello Satan

Apparently, a Vatican university is to offer a diploma course in Satanism. I decided to find out if the myths of ritualistic child abuse, human and animal sacrifice and devil worship usually associated with the religion were true. According to the website of the Church of Satan, they're not. "Satan is an archetype, a representation of certain qualities that the Satanist embodies, including rational self-interest, avoidance of oppressive mentalities, the questioning of all, and a perseverance towards success and human potential." Sounds ok so far.

Some of the nine Satanic statements encapsulated in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, are actually quite appealing. "Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence…Satan represents all of the so-called sins as they all lead to physical, mental or emotional gratification." High priest Peter Gilmore says: "We see the Christian Church's teaching about sin to be an insidious plot. They named seven deadly sins (lust, pride, greed, envy, anger, gluttony, sloth), which are things that everyone will do to some extent, and thus they made sure that every normal human could be defined as a 'sinner'. Then they set themselves up as being the only way to be saved from these 'sins'. So that is certainly one of the greatest con games in all recorded history." Well, he's got a point. Satanism, however, does have its own 'sins' which include pretentiousness, herd conformity and stupidity.

And while sectors of many religions condemn or forbid same-sex love and marriages, the Church of Satan welcomes people of all sexual orientations into its ranks, and despite accusations of racism and even fascism, which it refutes, the organisation also opens its doors to people from all races and ethnicities. Provided you are "truly beautiful and magnificent" that is.

Yes, like most religions, it has its dodgy side, although in this summary of contemporary Satanism by Gilmore, it's easy to see the similarities with some factions of fundamentalist Christianity: "A brutal religion of elitism that seeks to re-establish the reign of the able over the idiotic, of swift justice over injustice, and for a wholesale rejection of egalitarianism as a myth that has crippled the advancement of the human species for the last two thousand years." In essence, you can't be a Satanist if you're weak, stupid, suffer from constant life failures and self-loathing, and fail to appreciate the works of artists such as Beethoven or Da Vinci. But if you're a woman who feels a bit nervous walking the streets alone at night or a queer person needing a motto on how to deal with potential gaybashers, the 11th Satanic Rule of the Earth may come in handy: "When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him."

Satanism may not be everyone's cup of tea, but in many ways it's no worse or better than other religions. And as Gilmore helpfully points out: "Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years."

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