Occultism underpins Christian Esotericism
The SAPS are actively promoting Satanic Panic and discrimination in South Africa. This is due to the biased sources they draw upon, poorly defined and outright wrong definitions of “Satanism” and the “Occult” and the fact that they reflect solely the opinions of Christian sources.
Mainstream Christianity is opposed to the “Occult” as certain occult practices are forbidden in the Bible (with passages open to interpretation and consideration of context). The term “Occult”, while meaning “hidden”, does not refer to clandestine, “evil” or illegal practices. It refers to the esoteric and inner traditions that lie behind all religions, including Christianity. Practices would include magic, divination, astrology, extra-sensory perception, spiritualism and alchemy – among these, are arts and sciences once considered sacred and held in esteem by early scientists.
While many religions forbade only certain occult practices, other practices were state sanctioned and considered holy mysteries. Egyptian religion contained open practices of magic and mysticism blended with religious practices. Therefore, not all religions or cultures/societies consider Occultism as “forbidden” or “taboo”, and doesn’t our constitution ensure us of freedom of religion and also that all religions should be treated on an equitable basis?
The Question of bias
The old Occult Unit founded by Kobus Jonker had to consist of only “born-again” Christians (Servamus Special Edition: Drugs and Occult Related Crime). Jonker has always been open about his Christianity and his fundamental beliefs in Biblical literalism as well as the literal existence of the devil. Mr. Jonker was involved with the training of new SAPS investigators in 2012 as he himself revealed in interviews with the press.
The magazine Servamus catering to law enforcement still sells the Special Edition: Drugs and Occult related Crime. This special edition, contributed to by Mr. Jonker, is still considered a serious resource when it comes to “Occult Related Crime”. Yet, this “resource” is outdated, religiously biased and contains material that is outright fraudulent, such as the so-called Satanic calendar.
The SAPS memo leaked in 2012 which dealt with the investigation of Occult related crime still makes the “spiritual nature” of such investigations clear and that “spiritual preparation” is necessary for those dealing with such crimes – in other words, the grounding in Christianity and thus bias is therefore still present. Those involved with the unit are still Christians or Christian ministers themselves.
The ORC Unit still draws upon outdated and debunked sources from the Satanic Panic of the 1980’s, which started in the United States and then spread to other countries including South Africa. Anecdotes of so-called “Occult or Satanic survivors” are considered in a serious light – while these claims were largely debunked years ago. In answer to the growing satanic panic hysteria, the 1991 Lanning report of the FBI, debunked the notion that Satanic or Occult crime or ritual abuse was prevalent or common. The Lanning Report warned against police officers entering crimes with a strong belief that they have to “engage the forces of evil”. The report further warned officers against “seeing what they want to see”, mainly due to their religious beliefs in the literal nature of the devil.
The SAPS contain within themselves what amounts to a Christian evangelical unit or even a warfare ministry.
One investigator on a scene may ignore the fact there were candles or some unidentified symbol, while someone who is actively looking for Satanism or Occultism may claim links where none exists.
Poorly defined definitions and constructing “Satanic/Occult Crime”
The so-called “Satanic Calendar” contains a mixture of Pagan holidays and various Christian holy days along with several days which appear to be complete fabrications. Hundreds of days out of the year can be linked to some form of “Satanic Ritual or Revel” or some form of “preparation for human sacrifice”. Convenient connections can be made linking any crime to “Satanism” or the “Occult” due to this outdated and fraudulent calendar. The recent theft and recovery of the piece of cloth stained with the blood of Pope John Paul II is a case in point. An attempt was made to link the theft to a “Satanic New Year” around February 2nd – which is a Pagan festival of light, Imbolc (Northern Hemisphere) or the Christian Candlemas, the link to Satanism and criminal activity is completely fabricated and yet the media called the act “Satanic”.
The SAPS had a list of “Signs of Satanic Involvement” on their website which was removed in 2006 and is now archived. This page re-emerged in 2013 and was quickly removed again, perhaps due to discussions/criticisms on social media– does this erratic behaviour by the SAPS suggest that they have something to hide?
The list contains vague references on how a Satanist can be identified including, rebellious behaviour, interest in computers, fantasy role-playing games, heavy metal music, being secretive, reading occult literature, being withdrawn, self-mutilation, thoughts about death and suicide, poor performance in school, wearing black etc – these signs can refer to real unrelated problems or they may apply to many teenagers. Such broad, loosely defined signs can lead to suspicions of Satanism where none exists. The list contains many of the old hobby horses from the days of Satanic Panic.
The signs also include the dubious claim that “gender confusion” indicates satanic involvement – revealing the religious agenda against certain forms of sexual expression. The “sign” that a child may use a “Satanic Alphabet” is also vague as there is no such thing. Various Occultists may use various forms of “magical alphabets”, runes, Hebrew, Enochian, Ogham etc. Any “strange or unknown” sign can basically be interpreted as “Satanism”.
Servamus Special Edition Drugs and Occult Related Crime and other sources confound various symbols with “satanic symbols” which has nothing to do with Satanism at all. Several Pagan symbols are called Satanic.
Satanism was defined by Hennie De Jager (claimed ORC member) as the “worship of Satan” and by Attie Lamprecht as “against Jesus Christ”, while in truth most of Satanism is represented by an atheistic philosophy founded by Anton Szandor LaVey in the 1960’s. Even Theistic Satanists are not necessarily actively against Christianity or Jesus Christ even if they don’t like or agree with the belief system.
It is becoming very clear that the SAPS fails to distinguish between what Satanism really is and what Satanism is believed to represent within the religious beliefs of Christians. The SAPS fail to distinguish between real Satanism as religion/philosophy and those acting out on the Christian Myth of Satanism, “Legend Trippers” – a termed coined by academics such as Bill Ellis, psychologist Gavin Ivey calls it “Pseudo-Satanism”. When the police and media label a crime as Satanic or Occult, they imply that all of Satanism or Occultism is also involved, they imply that Satanism or Occultism leads to crime or must involve crime. They are actively discriminating against the rights of religious minorities due to the Christian idea that the Occult/Satanism must be equal to “Evil”. The SAPS fail to draw a distinction between criminal fringe elements and legitimate religious/philosophical systems. We don’t blame all of Christianity for the actions of fringe elements – mother drowns her baby because “God told her to”, we would call the murderess “disturbed”. We don’t label crimes as Christian crimes because there was a cross on the scene. In the media release by the SAPS of 26th February 2014, they make the claim that drugs must be linked to Satanism – while drugs are not an actual requirement in any Occult or Satanic belief system and usage depends on individual preferences. In the same media statement they list what appear to be Muti-murders as if such crimes are also linked to Satanism or Western Occultism.
The notion of a vast underground and organized Satanic conspiracy has been debunked by the Lanning Report of the FBI – the SAPS still partly wants to rely on such old myths, which cannot be supported by the facts. Satanism is not a homogenous organized activity but an umbrella term for various forms of contemporary religious/philosophical systems.
To illustrate a case of how an “Occult” label is falsely attached to a crime, I can think of a case from 2011 where the media claimed an “Occult group wanted to blow up churches”. Yet, this wrongly labelled “Occult group” was actually a right-wing and Christian group. Gunther Jurgens the so-called “Boer Viking” was involved with this group and Jurgens does keep information on Satanism and Occultism on hand as he is strongly opposed to it and thinks he will one day get to kill Satanists and Luciferians in the name of God. Why was this group called an occult group? It was labelled as such because police found supposed occult signs. Considering Jurgens anti-occult stance such a discovery was not surprising. Clearly there is bias involved here.
The SAPS blatantly lied about engaging with SAPRA with regards to “Occult Related Crimes” or “Harmful Religious Practices. They have continuously ignored the objections made by SAPRA since 2012. Their nature as a biased Christian evangelical group is apparent and it is against the Constitution and Bill of Rights for one religion to receive such favouritism. Occultism is not equal to criminal activities it is a religious philosophy. Where is the evidence that Occultism or Satanism actually leads to and causes crimes? All we see is religious propaganda against religious minorities. Crimes have to be constructed as Satanic or Occult crimes by those who find what they want to find – these are the so-called “Occult Experts” with their religious agenda.