SA Satanic Church has been the latest topic on social media lately after co-founders Dr Adri Norton and Reverend Riaan Swiegelaar publicly addressed misconceptions about their belief system via Facebook Live.
The church is located in Century Way, Cape Town.
Here’s what you need to know about the church:
SA Satanic Church is independent
Norton and Swiegelaar made it clear that the church is not linked with any satanic movements or churches including the US-based ‘The Church of Satan.
“We have never claimed or given the impression that we are part of The Church of Satan or any other part of the satanic movement or association. We are our own different entity.”
Religious education and tolerance
The church has been bashed across social media platforms as some are calling for its closure but for Norton, this backlash is because of a lack of religious education and tolerance among South Africans.
“People must ask themselves what are they afraid of? Why can’t I embrace another religion? What scares me? What’s wrong inside me that I can’t be OK with someone having a different view from me?”
Swiegelaar shoot down claims that the church worships the devil, but the church regards 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, because many countries still regard satanism as illegal. Norton said the growth of the church will take time as there is also still confusion between devil worshipping and the satanic church.
“We can’t permit you to practise something that is illegal in your country.”
Swiegelaar added that this decision was made by the church’s council. Non-South Africans can only watch the services until they can fully join.
Members of the church perform rituals which the public is not permitted to attend due to their sensitive nature.
“When a ritual is being conducted , 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 went on to say that people who don’t understand the concept of satanism may not be able to comprehend what happens during rituals.
Swiegelaar added that the church is obligated to protect its members, some of whom are “popular 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.