Dept. Education and SADTU continue to scapegoat religious minorities

With reference to the following media reports:

Satanism cases in township schools | 23 March 2014

Townships need educating on government policy
Times Live | 23 March 2014

Stamp out satanism in schools, parents plead
The Citizen | 24 March 2014

There are essentially two forms of modern Satanism (as religion). The first is classified as atheistic Satanism. The second is referred to as theistic Satanism. The Church of Satan is the publicly recognized face of atheistic Satanism and is the largest Satanic movement. Modern Satanism can only be traced back to 1966 when an American named Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in the U.S. . Prior to 1966, Satanism as a religion did not exist. LaVey is the author of The Satanic Bible [1969]. The Temple of Set is one of the most popular theistic Satanism organizations and was founded by Michael A. Aquino in the U.S. in 1975.

Satanism in both forms specifically prohibit the commission of murder and crime. Media reports of alleged “Satanic” crimes in this country therefore constitute nothing but hysterical scapegoating of a religious minority. Those found guilty of committing crimes labelled as “satanic” by the SAPS and media were / are not real / actual Satanists at all. Media speculation on alleged but unproven Satanic ritual crimes, primarily promoted by the SAPS Occult Crime Unit, constitute in our opinion, a deliberate attempt to propagate hate speech and prejudice against a constitutionally protected religious minority.

Exorcisms are certainly not the answer to the apparent growing tendency among South African teenagers to resort to violence. We believe this violence is a symptom of a deeper social malady that requires professional counseling, not faith-based religious quackery which will only serve to inflame hysteria and fantasy.

Occultism is an integral esoteric aspect of mystical religious experience. To the Occultist, Occultism is conceived of as the study of the inner nature of things. Occultism study includes belief in magic, alchemy, extra-sensory perception, astrology, spiritualism, divination. Occultism is the study of the supernatural, including belief in the existence of God. Occultism is a religious philosophy, not a criminal practice.

Crimes are crimes. They need not be categorized as Occult or Christian, Jewish or Muslim… they are simply crimes. Crimes do not constitute evidence of religion, and minority religions such as Satanism, one of many Occult religions in this country, do not advocate that their adherents should commit crimes in order to belong to these religions.

The Bill of Rights guarantees religious equality and freedom to everyone, including Occultists, whether they be Satanists, Witches, Wiccans or Pagans. The Department of Education has failed dismally to uphold its own constitutional mandate to treat all religions fairly. Ministers and MEC’s alike have been repeatedly swayed by religious fanatics to identify Occult religious belief systems as allegedly “harmful practices”. The Department of Education has already admitted to this Alliance that it actually does not know anything about these religious minorities and beliefs.

The SAPS and the Department of Education has no constitutional mandate to regulate the practice of minority religions in this country!

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