Committee Against Satanic Panics
(an ad hoc task force overlapping with
New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry)
We oppose sensationalistic propaganda about mostly imaginary forms of "Satanism," as promulgated by some Christian evangelists, by right wing populist political leaders, and even by some feminists and leftists.
Such claims typically scapegoat groups of people who aren't actually Satanists of any kind, e.g. Pagans, occultists, atheists, Freemasons, and even RPGers, as well as law-abiding Satanists. And the people actually harmed by "Satanism" scares have included many ordinary mainstream folks too. In 1980-1995, Satanic panics resulted in accusations, prosecutions, and even convictions and imprisonment of many probably-innocent people who, for the most part, were just ordinary middle-class and working-class folks. (See the page about "Satanic Ritual Abuse" on the website of the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.) The "Satanic ritual abuse" scare had a mini-resurgence in 2002-2006 and seems to have died down again, although today's grand conspiracy ideologists still keep its smoldering remnants alive.
Today's worst form of Satanic panic isn't 1980's style SRA, but rather the literal witchhunts that are happening now in Africa and Asia, motivated by an unfortunate blend of traditional local beliefs and some new, rapidly growing forms of evangelical/charismatic Christianity. Sarah Palin's pastor, Thomas Muthee, has been an active participant in today's witchhunts.
One of our aims will be raise public awareness about, and if possible raise some money for, the victims of witchhunts overseas. We aim also to counteract "Illuminati" claims which are, alas, growing in popularity these days.
Our target constituency will be the various categories of people who, here in the West, are scapegoated by "Illuminati" claims and by other kinds of "Satanist"-baiting. One of our aims will be to encourage people in these categories to avoid further scapegoating of "Satanists" and, instead, to develop better responses to "Satanist"-baiting.
- No events currently scheduled
NYARBB itself will be holding many other meetings dealing with other topics. For up-to-date listings, see NYARBB's Meetup site.
- Witchhunts in Africa and Asia , Thursday, March 11, 2010.
- "Know Your Enemy" Project: Christian demon beliefs and the religious right wing, Thursday, February 18, 2010
- Civil rights law for Pagans, occultists, and other religious minorities, Thursday, October 8, 2009.
- NYARBB Committee Against Satanic Panics, Thursday, October 9, 2008.
- NYARBB Committee Against Satanic Panics, Thursday, September 25, 2008.
Information and resources
- Pamphlets and leaflets
- Links to other sites - coming soon