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Religious leaders react to opening of Satanic Church

Riaan Swiegelaar and Adri Norton Co-Founders of the South African Satanic Church. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban – SOME of South Africa’s religious heavyweights have voiced their opinions on the South African Satanic Church that has seen people around the country reacting in different ways to the church having its own place of worship and its founders clearing up misconceptions about what the church actually is ad stands for in various media platforms.

The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council’s chairperson Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said: “In the Christian principle the only person who can be worshipped is God.” He said in South Africa what needed to be done was to get an understanding of what was religion and how it affected values across various communities in the country.

The Muslim Judicial Council’s first deputy president Sheikh Riad Fataar it was important how people reacted to this as people could end up breaking the South Africa’s constitution in terms of religious freedom. 

“From a Muslim perspective it is unacceptable,” he said. 

Fataar said he believed that people who went to the Satanic Church were misguided. 

“We welcome them to come to us to give them guidance,” he said. 

Fataar said he had been left “flabbergasted” at the opening of the church in Cape Town. 

University of Johannesburg’s Department of Religious Studies’ Professor Maria Frahm-Arp said in some ways South Africa had become more tolerant. She said during this time of the coronavirus people were looking for answers as to why this was happening. 

She said some churches used this as an opportunity to convert people to God. 

Frahm-Arp said during times of crisis religiosity increased. 

“Historically where there is a crisis we look for scapegoats,” she said. 

Frahm-Arp said some of these scapegoats sometimes were fringe groups who were not part of the traditional religions. 

“There is a rise in religiosity due to socio-economic situations. But now it is also because of Covid-19,” she said. 

As times have changed people were now asking more questions and with the rise in social media people which has changed the religious landscape people were now able to stand up and say that they belonged to churches like the Satanic Church of South Africa which was not the case 30 years ago when there was no social media, she said.

Frahm-Arp said that people were also looking for answers that they could not find in traditional religions like Christianity, Islam or Hinduism among others.

On their website, co-founders of the SA Satanic Church, Dr Adri Norton and Reverend Riaan Swiegelaar clear up misconceptions about Satanism.  

They said they do worship Satan and only revere him as someone who is a symbol of their true nature. 

“We are NOT anti-God, anti-Allah or anti-Buddha,” they said. 

The church also did not practice human or animal sacrifices and people who were under-18 were not allowed to join the church. 

“Freedom and personal choice is at the foundation of our philosophy, therefore we let people come and go as they please,” they said.

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