Monday, November 11, 2013

The Vestage Of Ignorance - AUKSANO & The SABC Sabotage Religious Freedom In SA

In a post on Facebook on the SABC's page, the SABC advertised a video of a recent appearance by AUKSANO as follows: 

"Satanism in South African schools is on the rise and incidents of that has puzzled communities. A learner was sentenced to 10 years for the murder of a friend in Randfontein. Three men and a minor are in court connection with the so-called satanic ritual killing of Kirsty Theologo. Yesterday a 17-year old Cape Town learner appeared at the Bellville Magistrate's Court for an alleged satanic murder case of a 15-year-old from Ravensmead. Recently distressed learners and educators at Moreri Secondary school in Tseoge Village West of Vryburg in North West are plagued by what is believed to be satanic attacks. There is a visible trend, with the consequences more than just alarming. In our Bloemfontein Newsroom we are joined by the Director of AUKSANO Johan de Beer. They are a trauma centre that counsel people involved in sub-cults including Satanism and devil worshiping."

The video pretty much echoed the sentiments above. I found this misrepresentation and rubber-stamping of fraudulent claims, the unquestioning acceptance of someone claiming to be an "expert" on the subject, and the white-washing of the violation of several points of the SA Constitution which protects freedom of religion to be particularly disturbing.

"Satanism in South African schools is on the rise and incidents of that has puzzled communities." First of all, actual Satanism as a religion is protected by the South African Constitution which outlaws discrimination against people on the grounds of their religious beliefs. Therefore, to be a Satanist or to identify as such publicly is NOT a crime. Secondly, to what "incidents of that" do you refer, SABC? Where you elaborate, you refer to crimes where people shown to have been under the influence of narcotics or of doubtful mental capacity have committed crimes as if they are de facto religious Satanists. The issue here is that the individuals portrayed as being "satanists" have (in some cases only) claimed to be 'satanists' while having committed acts which directly contradict principles of Satanist religion while demonstrating no actual working knowledge of Satanist religion itself. Oddly enough, we never hear the SABC put Christianity on trial whenever a person professing Christianity commits a criminal act at odds with Christian doctrine. Could you explain why that is?

The killers of Kirsty Theologo, mentioned by the SABC above as an example of "Satanism increasing in schools", by the evidence led and by their own admission, were "mythical satanists" or "legend trippers" - and not actual Satanists. Do you have statistics of ANY crimes proved in a court of law to have been committed by Satanists or to show that there is an increase in numbers of students actually filling out their forms and indicating "Satanist" in the appropriate field for "religion"? Or is this just another example of shoddy journalism which generates interest in itself and pushes up sales and rankings by means of poorly researched and sensation-seeking articles?

It's quite obvious from the kind of nonsense that gets put into articles like this, and from the comments that appear under such articles, that this kind of hysteria comes not only from a Christian quarter - but from a specific type of Christian - the type that doesn't like sharing space with people who differ from them in their beliefs and religious practices. And of course, central to this issue is the other bugbear of the Christian fundamentalist - schools and children - and even more typically, OTHER PEOPLE'S children.

Many Christians generally don't see any problem at all with Pagans and other alternative religions parents sending their kids to public schools that force Christian religion into the curriculum. Of course, parents do this because there are no alternative schools in their areas that provide secular education (as *should* be the case according to the Constitution since "the public" includes Pagans, Satanists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews etc)... all other religio-centric schools happen to be PRIVATELY OWNED - but for many years despite our 'new' Constitution, Christian religion has hijacked public educational facilities (ie SCHOOLS) as their own domain. Now imagine the furore if Christian parents had little option but to send their kids to a Wicca-focused public school... they would be drawing up petitions and protests left and right referring to the very same Constitution they ignore when it suits them... but when adherents of minority religions complain about having a religion other than their own rammed down their throats, then they are "persecuting Christianity". Victim-blaming. How quaint and unexpected. Isn't it time we had a little equity and mutual respect for other people and their beliefs in the public domain?

You wouldn't see articles or programs like this defaming Christianity, Islam or Judaism by attempting to connect them (with the assistance of alleged "experts") to criminal activity as a characteristic. There would be riots in the streets if a newspaper or public broadcaster dared to make such defamatory statements as a matter of fact, so why is it acceptable and "perfectly okay" to do the same to Pagans, Witches, Satanists and other occultists? Are our rights then to hold to whatever religion and beliefs we choose not protected by the law? Of course they are!

By what right, and with what proof, does the SABC infer that being a Satanist - i.e. being connected to any of the five major groupings identifying as Satanism is to be understood as being directly linked to "incidents" of criminal activity? 

Would you please provide the statistics demonstrating this? How about providing any empirical evidence of this "fact" as provided by AUKSANO? (Did you even ask them for any?) Otherwise, would you like to consider how this conforms to the description of hate speech as outlined by the Press Code which is drawn from the SA Constitution and Act No 4 of 2000? Would you be surprised if someone who found this habit of the media offensive and lodged a complaint?

How does AUKSANO (and by implication the SABC) know that "Satanism in SA schools is increasing"? Did they draw on statistics to come to this conclusion? How many practising Satanists live in South Africa? Even Statistics South Africa does not know the answer to that question! Right at the top of my list of doubts is the notion that actual Satanists would indicate on a school registration form that they are Satanists - precisely because of the hysteria we see here. They would be concerned for their safety - and judging by the hysterical and ignorant reactions visible on every single article dealing with occult belief systems, who could blame them?

So if they are not referring to an actual listing of verifiable statistics, then they have to be referring to how people are perceived in terms of stereotypes... and we know how that goes - people wearing black clothes or nail polish or listening to certain kinds of music or playing video games or spending time on the internet are assumed to be 'satanists' etc - when the actual Satanist is unlikely to draw such obvious attention to themselves... Ordinary rebellious teenage behavior - typically a passing phase - is made out to be a threatening phenomenon hinting at something darker and dangerous. This means that by it's own words, the SABC has just been shown to be perpetuating FALSE INFORMATION virtually verbatim, as if it is true.

AUKSANO are NOT "experts" in Satanism as a religion, nor in occult beliefs. If these people were in any way "experts" they would be able to tell the difference between 1) actual religious Satanism, other Occult religions and 2) mythical, media-created "legend tripping" and ordinary crimes as what they are referring to as "spike in acts of Satanism". If they were, they would not perpetually portray "legend tripping" criminals as being representative or even typical of real religious Satanism.

AUKSANO and De Beer are being quoted as if they are "experts" in anything but hysterical Christian evangelicalist propaganda. These people don't know what they are talking about - they are BIASED self-proclaimed "experts" who have NO experience with REAL occult religions, but are simply stooges who have been taught what Christian ignorance believes about other religions, and who foster the "satanic panic myth" as frauds and charlatans and propagandists playing to an ignorant public eager to swallow their improvable conspiracy theories. That the media plays to this tune is irresponsible and repulsive. People should get educated about alternative minority religions instead of just repeating the rubbish they hear from frauds like AUKSANO and minions of the ORC etc. They should ask more QUESTIONS and get suspicious when alleged "experts" refuse to answer satisfactorily or just smugly say "because I say so".

To sum up:

1) NO proof is offered that the murder was linked to REAL religious beliefs. 2) NO proof that any kind of crimes that can be linked to real religious Satanism or other occult religions even EXISTS or as alleged, is increasing, is offered. 3) De Beer is presented as an “expert” despite having NO CREDENTIALS to warrant such alleged “expertise”. 4) Instead, the youth who is likely to have held beliefs relating to MYTHICAL “satanism” – a myth perpetuated by the SRA hysterics (including AUKSANO and the SAPS ORC of which De Beer was a member) is portrayed as a defacto “satanist” and the difference between the two is never clarified.  5) The religion of Satanism itself is being connected directly with crime as a stereotype. 6) Once this is understood by the reader, it clarifies very much that this sort of reporting is a) UNPROFESSIONAL b) UNETHICAL c) creates an INCOMPLETE one-sided picture and d) amounts to nothing more than PROPAGANDA for those opposed to religious diversity and freedom. 7) A member of the Alternative Religions Forum noted that Auksano’s website has no credentials anywhere to be found. There’s nothing anywhere there that proves that they have any idea what they’re talking about, so how on earth can they be looked to as “experts”? You don’t hire a “professional chef” without making sure he can cook first, do you? He emailed them asking where are they getting the information that tells them that these crimes are ritualistic or linked to Satanism and such. Unsurprisingly, he never got a reply.

SABC, you should educate your journalists in matters of religious diversity - they should KNOW what it is they are reporting on - and then they will be more able to be objective ETHICAL reporters instead of just rubber-stamping and agreeing with the tripe being spewed by frauds and charlatans claiming to be "experts" on something they know absolutely nothing about.

Here's a tip: If a person claims to be an "expert" in Satanism, find out if they spent any real time studying Satanist literature, practising their religion etc or has any kind of working knowledge of what the 5 forms of religious Satanism ARE (odds are they don't). A BIG clue you should look out for is when the alleged "expert" has only the instruction provided to him/her in a Christian bible or seminary school to draw on when referencing occult religions and practices. How can Christian instruction in occult religions make someone who is an outsider and stranger to occult religions and practices EVER rightly be considered an "expert" in such subjects? Also if they peddle the already thoroughly debunked "occult calendar" you can be 120% certain they are a complete fraud who doesn't know a damned thing about occult religion or practices! If the person claims to have killed people or "sacrificed" animals or even people ask them why they are not in jail, right before you point out that actual Satanists don't believe in killing animals or people in the name of their religion. People who do are not Satanists - they are "legend trippers" or people who have swallowed the nonsense you and people like AUKSANO and the SAPS's ORC unit have been peddling as "gospel truth" for decades, thinking that is the "real satanism". That's right - this form of "satanism" - the mythical one with crime in it, flourishes because YOU spread it and encourage it. You keep it alive and make it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is of YOUR making.

[For more information about AUKSANO, Christian "warfare ministries", and the SAPS's Occult Related Crimes unit (ORC) download this document.]

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