Rapport fires columnist for objective opinion on Satanism

The sad state of freedom of expression in South Africa: columnist Deon Maas was just fired after his article provoked readers to threaten a boycott of the paper. What was it that this columnist said that so sparked the ire of the public?

In his article, Maas wrote that satanism is “just a different philosophy”.

“Satan does not necessarily represent evil; it is just a different philosophy. You still pray, but only to another god. If Muslims think they are having a hard time, they should look at satanism. They really have a bad deal.”

He said the Constitution gives people the freedom to practise the religion of their choice.

Yes, that’s right, Maas dared to point out the hypocrisy of people who call for freedom of religion and denounce Satanism in the same breath. He dared to explain that along with freedom to practice your religion comes the freedom of others to practice theirs, no matter how much you might not like it. And I’m sure the Christian readers didn’t like that one bit.

The Rapport has of course made it impossible to search for this article on their site, but they didn’t do a very good job of actually removing the page, and luckily Google’s habit of caching pages made it easy for me to resurrect the link. Here it is, although in Afrikaans. And, because I’m sure the Rapport will be toasting it as soon as they realise it’s still up there and people can still get to it, I’ve reproduced the entire article below the fold. If anyone is interested in providing a translation into English, I’d be very happy to post that too (update: English translation here courtesy of andrewdotcoza, and another in the comments below courtesy of residentRsole).

Nuut! Die Deon Maas Blad

Iewers in Pretoria-Noord is daar ’n jong vrou wat haar vasgeloop het in die sterk arm van die gereg. Duidelik het sy iemand ontstel. As die polisie sê dat sy vasgetrek is ná “die opvolging van inligting” beteken dit die bure, iemand vir wie sy ’n middelvinger gewys het of een van haar vriende wat ’n deal moes maak, het haar verklik. Sy is vasgetrek vir die besit van heroïen en kokaiën.

Dis goed om te sien dat in die tye waarin ons lewe daar nog suksesvolle arrestasies deur die polisie is. As een van die polisiemanne nie die bewyse self gebruik of verkoop nie en niemand verloor, verkoop of verlê die lêer nie, kan ons dalk ’n suksesvolle vervolging sien vir die besit van dwelmmiddels.

So far so good.

Wat wel ontstellend is, is dat die polisie nadat hulle haar slaapkamer deurgesoek het, haar nou ook ondersoek vir Satanisme. Hulle het beslag gelê op Satanistiese dokumentasie wat in bloed geskryf is, kerse, menshare, DVD’s, bloedmonsters, swart klere en Bybels wat vernietig is en met bloed besmeer is.

Nou kyk, dis ’n ernstige situasie dié. Dis veral die beslaglegging op kerse en swart klere wat my sou bekommer.

Swak beplanning

In my huis is daar ook kerse. Dit help as Eskom weer besluit dat dit my buurt se beurt is om te ly onder hul swak beplanning. Daar is ook heelwat swart klere in ons huis, want as ek die slag na ’n ordentlike plek toe genooi word, is swart maar die maklikste oplossing.

Wat iemand duidelik vergeet het om vir die polisiewoordvoerder insp. Paul Ramaloko te vertel, is dat Satanisme ’n godsdiens is en dat ons Grondwet bepaal dat almal die vryheid het om die godsdiens van hul keuse te beoefen. As Moslems dink dat hulle ’n harde tyd het, moet hulle ’n bietjie na Sataniste kyk. Hulle het rêrig ’n bad deal. Satanisme maak steeds ’n beter lamppaal-plakkaat as Moslems, selfs al blaas hulle minder goed op en rig meer skade aan hulself aan as diegene rondom hulle.

Ekself is nie ’n groot aanhanger van georganiseerde godsdiens nie. Maak nie saak in watter vorm dit aan my aangebied word nie, massa-opsweping was nog nooit my ding nie. As jy gaan probeer om my te oortuig om na ’n kerk van die een of ander aard te gaan deur ’n vuurwapen teen my kop te druk, sal Satanisme die laaste ding op my lys wees.

Dit lyk vir my na heeltemal te veel moeite. Die slag van vreedsame huisdiere, die skeur van Bybels, die algemene beswaardheid waarmee jy moet saamleef, swart geverfde vingernaels en die feit dat jy gewoonlik ná middernag moet wakker wees om jou geloof te beoefen, is alles faktore wat Anton LaVey se filosofie effe onaanvaarbaar vir my maak.

Elke keer as ek ’n pentagram probeer maak is dit skeef. Om die een of ander rede kan ek net nie die simmetrie daarvan onder die knie kry nie. Dis miskien maar omdat ek sleg was met wiskunde of dalk gee ek net nie genoeg om nie.

Terselfdertyd is dit ’n godsdiens wat die reg het om beoefen te word.

Satan verteenwoordig nie noodwendig boosheid nie, dis maar net ’n ander filosofie. Jy bid nog steeds, maar net tot ’n ander god.

Net soos enige ander geloof het Satanisme reëls. In plaas van tien gebooie, het hulle nege. Hul nege gebooie sê nie vir jou wat om te doen nie, maar eerder hoe jy nie moet wees nie.

Dwaasheid: Dít is soos die groot boetie van alle sondes vir hulle. Hulle moedig jou aan om na die storie agter die storie te kyk sodat jy kan besef wat rêrig aangaan in plaas daarvan om net alles te aanvaar wat jy met die paplepel gevoer word. Klink nie vir my na so ’n slegte idee nie.

Dan is daar pretensie. Wees wie jy is en moenie voorgee dat jy iets of iemand is wat jy nie is nie. Dit het sin.

Solipsisme: Doen aan ander wat hulle aan jou doen of gaan doen. Miskien ’n bietjie hectic as jy uit enige ander geloof se standpunt van draai die ander wang kom, maar dit klink na standaardgedrag in die sakewêreld of Johannesburg vir my.

Selfbedrog: Moenie jouself aan jou eie neus rondlei nie. Weer eens ’n regmerkie.

Kudde-onderwerping: Wees jou eie mens, neem jou eie besluite en moenie toelaat dat ander mense jou dwing om goed te doen wat jy nie wil doen nie. As jy hierdie idee prakties toepas, beteken dit dat tieners nie sal swig onder groepsdruk om te rook, dwelms te gebruik of hul maagdelikheid te verloor net omdat hulle voel dat dit moet gebeur nie. Dit moedig vrye denke aan en ondersteun die strewe na opinies wat gebaseer is op kennis wat jyself inwin. Daar is nog van hulle, maar ek is seker teen die tyd verstaan jy die punt wat ek probeer maak.

Sover as wat geloof gaan, het Satanisme nog altyd aan die kortste end getrek wat die media betref. Terselfdertyd is dit die beste vriend wat die Christene nog ooit gehad het synde dat die duiwel die kerk in besigheid hou. Die aantrekkingskrag daarvan vir veral tieners is natuurlik dat dit die nodige kop-aan-kop-botsing is met die idees wat hul ouers propageer en daarom so ’n aantreklike opsie is.

Die Rooms-Katolieke vervolg nie priesters wat kinders molesteer nie, maar betaal eerder miljoene uit as kompensasie, is steeds teen geboortebeperking en ontmoedig die gebruik van kondome in ’n era van vigs. Die Anglikane se besluit om homoseksuele predikers te aanvaar, bedreig hul eenheid, ons eie susterkerke sukkel om hul voete te vind in ’n nuwe bedeling en party van die Apostole weier om swart mense in die kerk te aanvaar. Die Christelike kerke hou aan om die reëls te verander om aan te pas by ’n samelewing wat vorentoe beweeg in die hoop om hul lede te behou. Mense wat kerk toe gaan, raak ouer en pogings om jonger mense in die kerk te hou het dieselfde sukses as klein dorpies wat probeer keer dat die kinders na die groot stede trek. As kerke belasting moes betaal het, sou baie min van hulle oorleef het.

Propageer hierdie rubriek Satanisme? Nee. Maar as ons wil hê ander mense moet ons punt insien en ons idees respekteer, moet ons hul punt insien en hul idees respekteer. Om iemand anders se idee te verstaan, beteken nie dat jy daarmee hoef saam te stem nie.

Dit beteken dat jy luister na wat hulle sê en dan kan saamstem dat julle nie saamstem nie. Dit beteken dat jy leer wat in ander mense se koppe aangaan en hulle dieselfde vryhede toelaat wat jy verwag dat hulle aan jou moet gee. Klink vir my na ’n wen-wen-situasie en een wat vreedsame naasbestaan kan bevorder.

15 Responses to “Rapport fires columnist for objective opinion on Satanism”

  1. I’m not sure that “Satanism” as practised in this country is so much a philosophy as an act of rebellion against the NG Kerk by bored teenagers.

  2. Nevertheless, Sarah, that is no reason to criminalise it. The NG Kerk, after all, originated in an act of rebellion against the Catholic Church by bored monks.

  3. I have an English translation for those who are interested, over here.

  4. A facebook group protesting the firing has already been created: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8730715995&ref=nf

    Let’s hope something can be done.

  5. Oh and I forgot to mention, people are so misinformed about Satanism it’s not even funny. Yes, religious Satanism, usually that espoused by Anton LaVey, especially in his book the Satanic Bible, is a religion that is practiced by many people in SA and overseas. It does not advocate any criminal behaviour, and does not, like Maas said, require the killing of pets. In fact, Satanists are not allowed to kill animals for any reason other than for food or in self-defence.

    The “teenage rebellion satanism”, where you get stupid teens who go and kill a cat because they read about it in some Christian “spiritual warfare” book, that sort of satanism isn’t “Satanism”. The big boogeyman satanic network the churches promote DOES NOT EXIST. Do a google search on the FBI Lanning Report.

  6. Does Satanism even qualify as a religion? According to a recent interview with Peter Gilmore (High Priest of the Church of Satan) on the Point of Inquiry podcast, Satanists are little more than atheists with an anti-religious bent and a flair for the dramatic.

    Surely the SAPS (alledged to have the most experienced and knowledgeable Occult Unit in the world) would know that this is the case?

  7. What is an occult crime unit anyway? There are no such things as occult crimes. Practicing the occult is not a crime. If people claim to commit crimes in the name of occultic ceremonies, certainly those crimes, be they murder or whatever, are then covered by other specific laws and police units, being the law against murder and the serious and violent crime unit?

    The Occult Crime Unit is unconstitutional. It uses taxpayers money to enforce a narrow-minded interpretation of Christianity. Sickening.

    And yes, they should know that the Satanism they talk about does not exist. Even the FBI found that when they commissioned an investigation during the USA’s own Satanic Panic.

  8. Hi there, I’m new to your blog. Landed here whilst searching for more info concerning Deon Maas that was NOT full of blathering idiots bolstering each other’s incredible stupidity.

    In general I’m quite positive about the human race, this incident definitely makes me doubt my optimism. Not so much Rapport’s apparently commercially motivated reaction, but more the initial vociferous response of the religious idiocracy.

    Oh well.

  9. residentRSole Says:

    Moonflake, I gave it a shot. The author makes heavy use of idiomatic expressions so a direct translation is not possible. Not all of it makes sense but it is better than nothing. I hope that some first language Afrikaans speakers can correct it for me.

    New ! The Deon Maas Page

    Somewhere in Pretoria-North there is a young woman who has run headlong into the strong arm of the law. Clearly she has shocked somebody. Since the police state that she was arrested “after an investigation” this means that either the neighbours, someone which she showed the middle finger to or one of her friends who had to make a deal, snitched on her. She has been arrested for the possession of heroin and cocaine.

    It is good to see that in the times in which we live, there are still successful arrests by the police. As none of the policemen sold the evidence nor used it for themselves and no one lost, sold or mislaid the docket, perhaps we can yet see a successful prosecution for possession of drugs.

    So far so good.

    What is shocking, is that the police, after they searched her bedroom, are now also investigating her for Satanism. They have come across Satanic documents which have been written in blood, candles, human hair, DVD’s, vials of blood, black clothes and bibles which have been destroyed and smeared with blood.

    Now look, this is a serious situation. Especially this siezure of candles and black clothes which has me worried.

    Bad planning

    There are also candles in my house. This helps when Eskom once again decides that it is my neighbourhood’s turn to suffer due to their bad planning. There are also pitch black clothes in our house, for if I am invited to the sacrifice near a decent place, it may be black but it is the easiest approach.

    What someone clearly forgot to tell police investigator Inspector. Paul Ramaloko, is that Satanism is a religion and that our Constitution guarantees that everyone has the freedom to practice the religion of their choosing. If Moslems think that they’re having a hard time, they should take a little look at Satanists. They really have a bad deal. Satanism still makes a better lamp-pole placard than Moslems, they even catch the wind better and direct more damage to themselves than to those around them.

    I myself am not a big fan of organised religion. But it makes no difference in whatever form it takes in my view, mass-worship is not really my thing. If you’re going to try to convince me to go to a church of the one or another place by holding a gun to my head, Satanism will be the last thing on my list.

    It appears to me to be entirely too much effort. The sacrifice of docile pets, the tearing of bibles, the overall burden where you must live together, black painted fingernails and the fact that you usually wake up after midnight in order to practice your belief, are all factors which makes Anton LaVey’s philosophy unacceptable to me.

    Every time I try to make a pentagram it comes out skewed. For some or other reason I cannot get the symmetry correct of that under the knee. Maybe this but because I was bad at maths or perhaps I did not put enough effort into it.

    At the same time it is a religion which has the right to be practiced.

    Satan does not represent inevitable wickedness, but this is just another philosophy. You still pray, but it is just to another god.

    Just like any other belief Satanism has its rules. In place of ten commandments, they have nine. Their nine commandments do not say what you must not do, but rather how you must not be.

    Foolishness : For them, this is like the big brother of all sins. They encourage you to look at the story behind the story so that you can decide what is really going on instead of just accepting what you have been spoon-fed with. Does not sound like such a bad idea to me.

    Then there is pretension. Reveal yourself for what you are and do not pretend that you are something or someone that you are not. This has {untranslatable}.

    Solipsism: Do to others what they have done to you or are going to do. Perhaps a bit hectic as you go against another religion’s maxim of turning the other cheek, but this sounds to me like the standard practice in the business world of Johannesburg.

    Self-deceit: Do not lead yourself around by the nose. Another brownie point.

    Herd conformity: Be your own person, make your own decisions and do not
    allow other people to force you to do good deeds which you do not wish to do. As you practice this idea, this means that teenagers will not, due to peer pressure, smoke, use drugs or lose their virginity because they feel that this is how things should be. This promotes free will and support of opinions upon which it is based on knowledge which you gain. There are more of them, but I am sure in time you will understand the point which I am trying to make.

    As far as belief goes, Satanism has still always got the shortest end when concerning the media. At the same time it is the best friend that the Christians have ever had since it is the devil that keeps the church in business. The lure that it has over teenagers means that it is natural that it butts heads with the ideas that their parents are trying to pass on to then and therefore makes it makes it an attractive alternative.

    The Roman Catholics do not impeach priests that molest children, but rather they pay millions out as compensation, is still against abortion and discourages the use of condoms in an era of AIDS. The Anglicans’ decision to accept homosexual ministers , threatens their unity, our own sister churches are trying to find their feet in a new era and a group of the Apostles decline to bring black people into the church. The Christian Churches love to change their rules in order to fit into a progressive society in the hope of retaining their members. People who go to church, become parents and attempt to keep young people in the church have the same success as small towns which try to keep children from going to the big cities. As church’s operating costs must be met, very few of them will survive.

    Should Satanism be spread ? No. But if we insist that other people see our point of view and respect our ideas, we must see their point of view and respect their ideas. Understanding someone else’s ideas does not necessarily mean that you have to agree with them.

    This means that you listen to what they have to say and then can you agree to disagree. This means that you learn what other people think and they grant you the same freedoms that they must give to you as you expect. It sounds to me like a win-win situation and one which peace-loving folk can promote.

  10. George: actually the occult related crimes unit was disbanded years ago for being unconstitutional! Police are still taught to deal with occult related crimes though, because in SA these are a reality. I’m not talking about so-called ‘satanic’ crimes, but rather muti killings by local witchdoctors – a very real and serious problem in SA. Certain areas like the Limpopo Province still have dedicated task teams to deal with muti murders and witch killings, the vast majority of which have absolutely nothing to do with satanism or paganism, but a hell of a lot to do with african witchcraft, which is of an entirely different nature and subscribed to by the majority of the population (most people in SA will go to a witchdoctor before a medical doctor according to statistics from the DoH). Interestingly enough, I think SA is the only country in the world where it is illegal to accuse someone of witchcraft – not that it doesn’t still happen with disturbing regularity and fatal consequences for the ‘witch’.

    andrewdotcoza and residentRsole: thanks for the translations🙂 much appreciated.

  11. residentRsole Says:

    andrewdotcoza and moonflake: Doh ! I am so embarrassed. I didn’t see Andrew’s link to his translation.

  12. […] Steve Hofmeyr covered the issue as well, as did the Dispatch Online and some others. […]

  13. […] Steve Hofmeyr covered the issue as well, as did the Dispatch Online and some others. […]

  14. Would the birth defect of cats-eye syndrome be a taboo in SA and are some poor children killed because they are seen as a bad omen there?

  15. arcangel: I don’t believe there are any recorded cases of something like that happening here (the taboo I mean, not the syndrome). The syndrome is very rare, and also not all sufferers present the iris coloboma that the name refers to. So it seems that there have not been enough cases in SA for there to be a structured reaction to that sort of thing. Then again, we have very little record of what goes on in the rural areas, so for all we know this may very well be the case.

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