Satanic church here to stay - leaders
The SA Satanic Church is trending across social media platforms after co-founders Dr Adri Norton and Reverend Riaan Swiegelaar publicly addressed misconceptions about their belief system via Facebook Live.
The church is based in Century Way, Cape Town.
Norton and Swiegelaar said their church is not affiliated to any satanic movements or churches, including the US-based The Church of Satan.
"We have never insinuated or given the impression that we are part of The Church of Satan or any other part of satanic movement or association. We are our own unique entity."
The church has been criticised across social media platforms as some called for its closure but for Norton, the negative response is due to lack of religious education and tolerance among South Africans.
"People must ask themselves, 'what scares me? Why can't I accept another religion? What scares me? What's wrong inside me that I can't be OK with someone being different to me?'"
Swiegelaar said the church does not worship the devil, but the church reveres Satan as an archetype for the church's nature, and a symbol for joy and pride. He said the church's name simply means that they question beliefs "that which is being forced as true beliefs".
The church does not register non-SA citizens as members. This as many countries still deem Satanism as illegal. Norton said the expansion of the church will take time as there is also still confusion between devil worshipping and the satanic church.
"We can't allow you to practise something that is illegal in your country."
Non-South Africans can only stream the services until they can fully join.
Members of the church undergo rituals which the public is not allowed to attend due to their sensitive nature.
Swiegelaar added that this decision was taken by the church's council.
"When a ritual takes place, it can be a very emotional situation for certain people involved and as a satanist, you understand the context in which it happens. Sometimes we're manifesting something or we have a group-therapy session," said Norton, who also added that people who don't understand the concept of satanism may not be able to grasp what happens during rituals.
Swiegelaar added that the church is obligated to protect its members, some of whom are "well known and are on TV".
He said this is sensitive because some members don't have the support of their families and the church is obligated to protect them.
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