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In the News

Radio preacher Bryan Fischer, while talking about demonic possession in the Bible, suddenly switched gears and declared that the full moon has a diabolic influence on us because (for some reason) that is the time Satan chooses to exert his control over us. Source: Right Wing Watch

Walter Slonopas of Clarksville, Tennessee resigned from his job as a maintenance worker at Contech Casting LLC only because his W-2 tax form was designated with the number 666. He feared that if he continued his employment, he would go to Hell. This is not the first time Slonopas has resigned over that number. Two years ago, Contech changed its time clock system and Slonopas was assigned the number 666. He quit his job, but apologized and returned to work a few days later. Source: Newsday

An Alabama Congressman, Shadrack McGill, is sponsoring a personhood bill for an interesting reason: He fears that unborn babies who are aborted might go to Hell, since they are considered (by his interpretation of the Bible) to be extensions of the mother’s body…and if the mother has an abortion, she’s probably destined for Hell. Source: The Daily Sentinel

Some anti-occult nonsense

  • After their failed bid to cast their daughter as the girl martyr of Columbine, the parents of Cassie Bernall are now giving public addresses in which they describe their daughter as a Satanic would-be murderer (because she wrote angry study hall letters and had some “occult” stuff in her bedroom). I don’t quite understand how disparaging their murdered daughter will accomplish…well, anything.
  • A very strange anti-occult site called Satan’s Fake Apocalypse asks some very strange questions, like “Criss Angel: Black Magician or Illusionist?” (is this where Sheldon got his info?), and “Was Bertrand Russell Possessed?”. Other articles include “Programming Kids for Satanism with Video Games”, “SRA: the appalling and pervasive reality hidden in plain sight”, and “Demonic possession: sociopathy on steroids”. A blog post by the same person asserts that kidnapping-for-ransom victim Eduardo Valesca was probably abducted by Satanists. Something to do with Satanists controlling the real estate market, and the “fact” that letters usually featured on maps of Mexico convert to the number sequence 9969, which translates to 666 if you remove a 9 and invert the others (without inverting the 6). This person believes his former housemates were ritualistically torturing him with sleep deprivation because they belonged to a Lucis Trust offshoot known as Triangles, which he read about in one of the Satanic panic pamphlets Lyndon LaRouche’s organization cranked out in the ’80s. Evidence for this plot included triangular decals on one roomie’s vehicle, a bag of Mission Triangle tortilla chips left on a countertop, and a secret code employed on Lucis Trust websites. He “translated” these websites, “which was one of the more mentally draining efforts of my life because they were deliberately written to be highly ambiguous”.

*Refreshing Subtlety*

That venerable gray lady of the London press, The Sun, has printed a sober and thoughtful piece on a series of Satanic crimes in Russia, titled “Knifed 666 times each and eaten“. It explores the nuances of Satanically inspired murders and teenage violence with its characteristic reserve, while conveying only the most salient facts.

The pals, three girls and a boy aged 16 or 17, were all Goths.”

Locals said they all knew [alleged leader Nikolai] Ogolobyak, whose grandmother revealed he had sung in the local church choir as a boy.”

The dad of victim Andrei [Sorokin] said: ‘My son said he had Goths and Satanists among his friends‘.”

Moscow alone has 15 [Satanic cults] whose worship is thought to revolve around symbols such as 666, an upturned five-pointed star within a circle and the swastika.”

“Devil worshippers believe in putting themselves first and their core values include pride, indulgence, ambition and meeting sexual desires. [emphasis in original]

“In Britain, about 400 people list their religion as Satanism. Followers meet at a “Grotto” for rituals with candles and swords run by witches and warlocks.”

Blogger Selwyn Duke at The New American, commenting on the case, warns us not to dismiss the Satanic angle of these horrific murders, as morally relativistic and “philisophically sloppy” people like me are inclined to do. “To them, these are just some bad kids who did a very bad thing. End of story.”

Well, yes, it is the end of the story. The Sun and other tabloids may milk it for a few more days, but it’s already clear that if these teens are guilty of killing other teens, their Goth sensibilities and half-baked attempts at Satanism had little to do with their crimes. Anyone disturbed and amoral enough to murder others in cold blood doesn’t need Satan as an excuse. (Case in point: The “Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs”, three non-Satanist teenaged boys, brutally tortured and killed about 20 people just for the hell of it.)
Also, there have been more Christian serial killers and mass murderers than Satanic ones. But plain old Judeo-Christian crime doesn’t make suitably lurid newspaper material, just as real breasts on a Sun girl will never do.

And with that thought, I return to The Sun to read their captivating, front-page thought piece on the global implications of Katy Perry’s new bikini.

6/6/06: A Cinematic Perspective

Tomorrow, on the dreaded June 6, 2006, two movies will be released that present diametrically opposed – yet eerily similar – religious viewpoints. The paradox is all the more interesting, falling on a date that provokes such a wide range of reactions from people: Total apathy to stark, raving fear.

The big-budget release is a 100% fictional horror movie that paints organized Satanists as the enemy of mankind, even (potentially) its ultimate destroyer. It’s a remake, and though the original film was part of a series that fleshed out the aims of the Satanists, I have a feeling this movie will be a stand-alone work. Meaning a new generation of filmgoers will see nothing but the scare-mongering, creepier-than-hell first installment of the story. The one that reinforces just about every rumor and lie ever told about Satanism.

The second film is a spin-off of a speculative documentary, hence supposedly more grounded in fact than the horror remake. The documentary and the movie seek to demonstrate that there is no evidence Christ ever walked the earth, that his life story is just an amalgamation of previous legends about heroes that were murdered and magically resurrected (Osiris, Orpheus, etc.). The documentary was self-indulgent and derivitive. The movie might be better. But I was dismayed to learn that it follows the same religion-as-conspiracy pattern popularized by The Da Vinci Code. In fact, it sounds like a knockoff of TDVC: A woman searching for her missing father discovers that he had stumbled onto a Christian cover-up of Christ’s non-existence. Meaning the film essentially props up the idea that high-level Christians have formed some kind of sinister, subterranean cabal to despatch anyone who discovers that their religion is built on sand. Sounds a bit like those rumors and lies about Satanists and occultists, doesn’t it?

The point is, religious intolerance is religious intolerance. Whether you’re trashing a mosque because you’re fed up with a handful of Muslim terrorists, making an inane horror film that lampoons religious Satanism, or artily implying that Catholics still like to whack anyone who questions their worldview…you’re being a jerk. It’s one thing to seriously, cautiously question religious tenets that you don’t really understand, and quite another to hype your summer movie with scary billboards and 666 stamps. We can say that The Da Vinci Code and The Omen and the above-mentioned films of Brian Flemming open up dialogue and minds, but at base we all know this is about mocking and degrading the other guy for entertainment.

You want respect? Give respect.

666 Billboards

Black billboards and sky banners with the message “6 + 6 + 06: You Have Been Warned” and “6 + 6 + 06: The Signs Are All Around You” have been popping up in major cities (see a photo here), freaking people out. A woman in Daytona Beach phoned the FBI after seeing one. I don’t think I’d react as strongly, since I grew up in Mennonite country with hand-lettered “GOD IS NOT MOCKED” signs planted in fields, but I can understand the unease.
I also understand that this is probably a promotional campaign for the remake of The Omen, which will be released – you got it – June 6. It stars Liev Schrieber and Julia Stiles. See the trailer here.
Incidentally, Brian Flemming’s feature film The Beast (www.thebeastmovie.com) will also be released on this date. Flemming’s documentary The God Who Wasn’t There (www.thegodmovie.com) poses the theory that Christ didn’t exist, period. I’ve seen it and will post a review soon.

Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number

Scholars have used a cutting-edge photographic technique to read a previously indecipherable fragment of the Book of Revelation, discovered years ago in Egypt. Based on the fragment, Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, suggests that the number 666 ascribed to the Beast may originally have been “616”, a simple gematric code for the name of the Emperor Caligula.

Numerologist Glynis McCants once told Coast to Coast AM with George Noory listeners that Reagan probably has Alzheimer’s because he once lived in a house with the address 666. Nancy Reagan allegedly changed the number to 664 or something, but McCants insisted that any location marked by the accursed number is uninhabitable. So – all you 616 people – get out, save yourselves!

Just kidding.