Friday, September 10, 2010

Oklahoma Satanists to Exorcise God

Most people think of Oklahoma as part of the Bible Belt, but on October 21st a Satanic church plans to hold an "exorcism of God" at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. No, really!

The Church of the IV Majesties is inviting members and the public to view the ritual, in hopes of erasing a lot of the unfounded fears many have about Satanism.

"We don't kill animals, we don't kill children," James Hale, the church's Lord High Master, told

"We just decided that being right here in the middle of the Bible Belt, it wasn't a good idea to keep the secrecy you see in the traditional Satanist churches," he said. "Because secrecy breeds fear. And we're not looking to scare anyone."

In my opinion running around and calling yourself a "Satanist" when you're a LaVey Satanist and thus pretty much an atheist who likes being spooky doesn't serve much of a function aside from shocking people. So if you then turn around and say you're not trying to scare anyone that seems pretty self-defeating.

Citing concerns for privacy and safety, Hale declined to say how many members the church has besides the seven members who are named on the church's state listing as a tax exempt religious organization, a designation they were awarded this spring.

Those seven members will take the stage Oct. 21 for the ritual, which Hale described as an exorcism to extract the gods of what he called the "right handed path" or traditional religions, such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

"It's a parody of the Catholic rite of exorcism. It's just a blasphemy ritual," Hale said.

As an occultist you would never see me getting involved with an event like this. If the ritual is really just a big parody, why bother? I have plenty of other things to do with my life besides joke rituals. I suppose this could make sense as a piece of performance art, which may be what they are going for, but I've never seen the point of such things. I want my rituals to work, not just make people laugh, and they do. I'm left wondering if someone who sees magical rituals as nothing more than performance art has any magical power at all.

Hale, who co-wrote the exorcism and has attended similar private ceremonies, said he's welcoming of anyone who wants to watch, as long as they aren't there to stir up trouble based on their own misconceptions.

"We get a lot of sacrifice garbage," he said of the public's perception. "Satanism is not, does not and has not involved sacrifice."

Hale, the son of an all-faith Christian minister, has been a practicing Satanist for more than 30 years. Though there are varying threads in Satansim, including some who believe in spirits, all modern Satanists believe in one god -- themselves, he said.

"Satanism is pretty much your own god. I am my own god," Hale said. "We don't worship anyone but ourselves."

Is it just me, or is it totally cliche that Hale is a minister's kid? Unlike a lot of occultists, I never had any bad experiences with Christianity growing up aside from thinking that for me a lot of their theology didn't make much sense. But it seems like there's this whole subset of occultists who seem to get interested in magick because they want to shock their parents or people in general who follow their parents' faith.

Now, if Hale has really come up with a ritual form that can exorcise gods I'd be very interested in checking it out to see how it works - but I'm not holding my breath.

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