In April 2013, appalled by the complete lack of regard for the human rights and dignity of people of non-Christian/non-Abrahamic religions in the Media, Press and in para-statal bodies in terms of professional ethics, equal treatment under law and in journalism, several representatives of minority religious groups and alternative identities in South Africa formed the Alternative Religions Forum. Earlier this week, the ARF released its long-awaited edu-formative document: “Satanism: The Acid Test”, or STAT – a 469 page tome containing material contributed by Pagans, Satanists, a few Christians – and yes, Vampyres.
This forum was the initiative of the SA Vampyre Alliance and is jointly moderated by the SAVA and a Pagan body, the SA Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA). Numerous individuals participated in the ARF, including representatives of diverse religions and subcultures who have the common denominator of being frequently misrepresented as “Satanism”.
The aim of the ARF is to educate and enlighten others about the truths and lies endemic within false, biased and sensationalist reporting and decision-making which affects negatively, the lives of many members associated with any minority religion or identity group targeted by institutionalized religious prejudice, deliberate disinformation and ignorance on the part of majority religions in South Africa.
In the STAT document, numerous parallels are drawn between earlier and even current bouts of “Satanic Panic” hysteria around the world and that which is currently happening in South Africa, where people are being accused and summarily assumed to be guilty simply on the grounds of their religious or sub-cultural interests, whether real or perceived – which are viewed as criminal, and these views are built upon years and years of superstitions, misinformation, misunderstanding, untruths and blatant lies.
Finally, after 4 months of work, the document is available, providing explanations of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) hysteria, Satanism as diverse religions under a common label, other religions and subcultures mis-associated with Satanism and the Satanism stereotype, and finally, flaws in the stereotype itself.
The latest version of the project document is is freely available for download at the link below.
It is hoped that this document will create a change in awareness of how entrenched institutionalized prejudices have become, and that change is long overdue – positive change which will end stigmatization, stereotyping, persecution and the policing of the thoughts, beliefs of those who deviate from the mainstream on the principle of paranoia and fear based on ignorance.