Against Satanic Panics > Cultural paranoia > fear of "de-Christianization"

Satanism and Roman Catholic fears of "de-Christianization"

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2006 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

In 2004, a Church of Satan member named Chris Cranmer became the first British Satanist to win his right to practice his religion in the British Navy. Soon afterward, the Roman Catholic news agency Zenit published The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Consequences of De-Christianization - London, 13 Nov. 2004 (Zenit). This "Daily Dispatch" begins by mentioning the British Navy's recognition of a Satanist's right to practice his religion, and then proceeds into typical religious right wing fear-mongering about the alleged dangers of de-Christianization.

Ever since Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire back in the 300's C.E., the Catholic Church has never been particularly fond of the idea of religious freedom for non-Christians in Christian countires - or even religious freedom for Protestants in Catholic countries, for that matter. So, naturally the recognition of a law-abiding LaVeyan Satanist's right to practice his religion in the British Navy is cause for huge alarm.

Sophie Masson, in a commentary published Oct. 27 in the Sydney Morning Herald, considered the religious implications. The Church of Satan, she noted, says that "we are our own gods." Moreover, they hold that all traditional sins are virtues, that altruism is a myth and that the Christian virtues are just hypocrisy.

"The most frightening thing is that our society has seemingly become so disconnected from meaning that it no longer takes seriously the very building blocks of its culture," she added. "To worship the principle of evil itself is to invite it into your life and the lives of those around you, sometimes in unpredictable and horrifying ways."

The Church of Satan does not worship Satan as a deity at all, let alone as the "Principle of Evil."

The article goes on to worry not just about Satanism, but also about the spread of non-Christian religions in general in the U.K. As usual, these worries are inescapably tied together in the minds of conservative Christians - even without directly equating those other religions with Satanism, as the Zenit article does not do.

The Zenit article is vague about the alleged dire "consequences of de-Christianization." For example, it refers vaguely to an alleged rise in crime in the U.K., without providing any statistics or considering other possible reasons for the alleged rise. And the article buttresses its religious bigotry by appealing to homophobia as well.

Regarding the Zenit article's typical religious right wing worries about an alleged "death of morality," see my page on Promoting religious tolerance.

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