An online petition opposing the existence of the SA Satanic Church is close to reaching its target of 1,000 signatories, with over 850 people having already signed it, saying the church is “not good for society”.
The petition was launched on Monday by Sfiso Mbatha, who says allowing the church to exist means South Africans are accepting “evil as something that is good for our society when in fact it is not”. Mbatha further adds that the future generation should not be exposed to the legacy and teachings of the church.
Among the signatories is Sallianne Greenfield who said, “As a believer in Christ, I cannot begin to think of the harm this satanic [church] can do.”
Maria Sebole echoed Mbatha’s views and wrote: “I am signing because the satanic church is not good for society.”
Smanga Kubheka says the church poses a threat to society and “our kids and community are in danger if we let them continue in our country”.
Many have criticised the country’s first satanic church on social media. In an effort to clarify the misconceptions the public may have about the church, co-founders Adri Norton and Riaan Swiegelaar, who is the presiding reverend, responded to questions via YouTube and Facebook.
Swiegelaar said contrary to popular belief, the church does not worship the devil or Satan “as a being” but rather as an archetype. Norton attributed some misconceptions about the church to a lack of education among South Africans about different religious groups and practices.
On its website, the church says it is on a mission “to educate the public to what legitimate satanism is, but also more importantly, to address the misconceptions that exist in SA as a result of the ‘satanic panic'.”
During the church’s address on Tuesday, Norton said membership registration is currently limited to SA citizens as some countries still consider Satanism illegal and/or unconstitutional.