ANTON LAVEY and the church of satan

Satanic-goatAlex Mar at The Believer:

LaVey became known as the “black pope” with good reason: his church, from a Christian perspective, is extravagantly blasphemous, using the format of Catholic high mass to create its own brand of gothic theater. If the substance of religious ritual is guilt-­inducing reactionary nonsense, Satanists believe, the form of ritual can still tap into some primal truths about man. And so Satanists use high-mass drama to get the blood flowing (though, as far as I know, not in the literal, open-wound sense). “Hail Satan!” they chant, over and over: Satanand evil and hell are trigger words to encourage members to embrace a freethinking, contrarian, wildly egocentric life outside the mainstream—​a life-affirming mantra. “When we say ‘Hail Satan,’” says Peter Gilmore, the church’s current high priest, “what we really mean is ‘Hail Ourselves.’”

These nuances, however, were lost on the media during the Panic years, when the stakes were high for associating with the Devil—even in name alone. Throughout the ’80s, major outlets fed the paranoia, from ABC’s 20/20 and NBC News to The Oprah Winfrey Show. The material covered ranged from the ridiculous—20/20 correspondent Tom Jarriel, after listening to “Stairway to Heaven” played backward, announced that Robert Plant was singing “My sweet Satan!”—to the unverifiable. What these high-­profile media reports all had in common was the insupportable logic that these “Satanic” networks were impossible to uncover, which only proved how wily they were. As Jarriel announced, in a bizarre call to action, “Nationwide, police are hearing strikingly similar horror stories—and not one has ever been proved!” Without proof, what exactly was anyone reporting?

more here.