A Satanic Temple group is petitioning Florida's State Capitol to include a display depicting the angel Lucifer descending into hell among other holiday stands. Florida denied the group's same request last year, deeming it "grossly offensive."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent the letter Wednesday on the Satanic Temple's behalf, arguing that the group deserves representation under the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
"Members of the religious majority are sometimes offended by the beliefs of religious minorities, and vice/versa," the letter states. "But the Satanic Temple is not required to censor itself in order to take advantage of a forum supposedly open to all." more >>
It would seem the practice of witchcraft would have somehow banished by now – reduced to the image of a cartoon character thus minimizing it to mere fantasy, perhaps in an effort to eliminate man's fears or an attempt to dismiss its spiritual validity. Yet, with each generation we see its subtle influences shed, then re-emerge in a new skin.
Witchcraft has been around for centuries. It's forbidden practice under suspicion and persecution from the Old Testament through the Early Modern Witch Trials and beyond.
Once considered the wise one who lived at the edge of town, the witch was known as the village healer, midwife and storyteller. Many feared this woman who practiced the forbidden arts and who it was said, had the power to summon the dead at the risk of her own life. Yet ironically, when it seemed one's own faith came up short of their wanted desires, they sought answers from what many saw as a peculiar woman. Some even resorted to her counsel, believing God had turned a deaf ear to them as was the case with King Saul. more >>
Three people allegedly practicing a form of Satan worship were arrested in North Carolina earlier this month and charged with murder after skeletal remains were found in their backyard.
Pazuzu Illah Algarad, 35; Amber Nicole Burch, 24; and Krystal Nicole Matlock, 28 were all charged with murder and accessory after the fact in the deaths of Joshua Frederick Wetzler, 37 and Tommy Dean Welch, 36. The three reportedly worshipped Satan and took their lifestyle cues from Charles Manson and Alistair Crowley, Anton LaVey.
LaVey was the founder of the Church of Satan, while Manson was the leader of a cult known as The Family. Crowley founded a religion known as Thelema, which is based on a law that states, "Do what though wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will." Crowley believed he was the prophet of a new age and wrote The Book of the Law, which outlines all the traditions of Thelema. more >>
The spread of the deadly Ebola outbreak throughout West Africa is leaving hundreds of children orphaned, and a number of them are reportedly marginalized by some tribal communities due to the fear of witchcraft and black magic.
"There's a strong belief in witchcraft that Ebola is contracted through a curse or in some cases that it is a white man's fabrication," said Jamie Bedson, charity Restless Development's Sierra Leone country director, according to The Financial Times.
"There is a mistrust of foreigners, and in one place everyone threw away soap given out by the government because they thought it was poisoned." more >>
The 2005 Louisiana church molestation case that inspired the plot for the first season of HBO's "True Detective" series involved a so-called youth pastor sexually abusing his own daughter and the lead pastor dedicating children to satan.
Details of the case, which involved pastor Louis Lamonica Jr., and youth pastor Austin "Trey" Bernard of Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, were revealed in a new VICE media documentary, "The Real 'True Detective.'"
Lamonica's initial confession to local police opened up the case in 2005. The detectives who worked the case, captain Stuart Murphy of the Tangipahoa Sheriff's Office and Tom Tedder, a special agent with the FBI, discussed it in greater detail with VICE and revealed some horrifying details. more >>
Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley has warned that demonic activity and evil forces are "very real" ahead of Sunday's satanic "black mass" scheduled to take place at the Civic Center Music Hall. Over 215,000 people in total have signed petitions against the sold-out mass, but local officials are set to allow the satanic ceremony to take place.
"In spite of an overwhelming outcry of alarm from around the world, our city leaders will allow this outrage to take place in a publicly supported facility. They will not accede to the reasonable requests of local citizens to stop this outright mockery of the Catholic mass nor the reasonable concerns of so many that this satanic ritual invokes powers of evil and invites them into our community," Coakley wrote on the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City website under an article titled "The Hour Has Come."
"Even though our city leaders apparently do not take this threat seriously, I do. As a Catholic priest and bishop I have witnessed in my ministry the battle between forces of good and evil in both ordinary and extraordinary ways," the bishop's message continued. more >>