The Gallows Pole By Benjamin Myers: A Playlist – The Quietus

The Gallows Pole is a novel inspired by a real gang of criminals who lived in the Upper Calder Valley of West Yorkshire in the 18th century shortly before the industrial age reshaped the landscape and lifestyles of a nations. They were the Cragg Vale Coiners and are every bit as important to the occultist history and narrative of this country as the tails of Beowulf, King Arthur, Robin Hood or Dick Turpin, but much less widely known. Theirs is as story of survival, enterprise, community, grand folly, rich versus poor, crime and class warfare. Some early reviews have mentioned comparisons to The Wire, Deadwood and The Sopranos had they been filmed in the windswept uplands of the Pennines.

It is also a walking novel. It was conceived, research and partly written on foot, at an average of 5 miles per day through woods and across moors around West Yorkshire. The real life protagonist of The Gallows Pole is King David Hartley, a folk anti-hero who is prone to delusions of grandeur, extreme hallucinations featuring stag-headed men and supreme acts of cruelty and violence.

In the prose I hope to convey movement and drag the reader through the mud of the Pennines in the same way that film director Alan Clarke often had his characters always on the move think of The Firm, Scum, Elephant or Made In Britain. I was aiming for a steadicam-style narrative, so some of my musical choices are included for their rhythmic or repetitive qualities, or perhaps because they evoke landscape. The title for the book came quite late in the day and was inspired by the traditional folk song The Maid Freed From The Gallis Pole, which was later recorded many times over as The Gallows Pole.

This playlist was put together during a very early draft of the book.

Odetta The Gallows Pole

There are dozens of versions of this song but Odettas voice is a revelation, so dark and ominous but soothing too, and with a restraint and subtlety that Led Zeppelins more famous version lacks. The themes of the song money, poverty, betrayal, execution run alongside themes of the book too. A perfect fit.

Matt Berry Gather Up

I cant say Im particularly a fan of the over-inflated thespian routine that Matt Berry seems to employ in all his TV characters, but the tone of this song matches that whcih I was aiming to achieve in the novel a sort of haunted and ethereal earthiness, which draws on a limited vocabulary and heavy use of repetition. The Gallows Pole features the names of people and places repeated over and over again almost to absurd and annoying levels, in an attempt to induce a trance or evoke a rural reverie within the reader. Berry achieves that here by listing various indigenous plants and herbs in a song that is definitely a homage to a lot of the folk-horror films that I am also a fan of.

Donovan The Song Of The Wandering Aengus

True music snobs seem to despise Donovan, and it is a hatred that I suspect is partly based on the humiliation he suffered at the hands of Bob Dylan in the biopic Dont Look Back. But Ive always gravitated towards the bands youre not meant to like for that very reason The Doors are another example and though his hippy-dippy shtick can grate, actually Donovan did his own thing. This track was recorded for an album aimed at children and is an adaptation of a WB Yeats poem that is elemental and feverish. Set to music it is unnerving, beautiful, dream-like and stands knee-deep in the fast-flowing waters of some forgotten rural backwater: And when white moths were on the wing / And moth-like stars were flickering out / I dropped the berry in a stream / And caught a little silver trout.

Stealing Sheep Not Real

Stealing Sheep have carved a sound of their own intricate arrangements, amazing playing, perfect harmonies. Theyre a rare band who actually sound better live than on record and somehow manage to find a common ground between futurist electro-pop and traditional folk music, with shades of Scouse psychedelia in there too. The last time I saw them play a friend who happens to be an amazing guitarist in a pretty successful band was utterly baffled as to how they were achieving certain sounds. I like their entire presentation: theyre an ideas band.

Winterfylleth The Divination Of Antiquity

The musical equivalent of a raging moorland tempest, a storm twisting down a fecund gulch. Sometimes you have to unleash your inner black metal bastard.

Noel Coward The Stately Homes Of England

An unexpected inclusion perhaps, but the flipside to the story of the rise of the Cragg Cale Coiners, who were uneducated peasants, weavers and landworkers, was their downfall, which was brought about by the intervention of one Lord Rockingham, former Prime Minister, and owner of the largest and most opulent house in England. As much as anything The Gallows Pole is a story about class divide and working class insurrection. Im a big fan of Noel Coward (who was neither upper nor working class); his lyrics are acerbic, catty and often unapologetically offensive, and the way that certain songs such as Mad Dogs And Englishmen scan and flow is not a million miles away from some of todays hip-hop and grime and There Are Bad Times Just Around The Corner could have been written for today.

The Stately Homes Of England perhaps encapsulates a Britain that very few of us will ever get to see though that of mad toffs, clinging to old ideas and past glories, a life preserved in aspic. Im quite fascinated by the landed gentry from an anthropological standpoint those people with old money, as opposed to the tasteless nouveau riche, who think that style and taste can be bought.

Marmaduke Duke Blunder & Haggis

This is just pure lo-fi electro malevolence, a piece of bad mood music created by Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro the side of him that his day-job probably doesnt reveal. Im quite confident that it hasnt been covered on The X-Factor.

Richard Dawson - The Ghost Of A Tree

Richard Dawson can do as much with his voice and the stamping of his feet than an entire orchestra. Theres a sense of confrontation and courage to what he does, and a timelessness to his lyrics, but also a lot of humour which is perhaps overlooked in the clamour dissect his output. Its folk music delivered with a court jesters sensibility. I often wonder who the legends of the future might be, those who transcend genre and era to stay the distance; people like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen or John Martyn. I think Richard Dawson will one of them and The Ghost Of A Tree is the closest sound to the stories in my head, a modern gothic novel set to minimal music that digs deep into our DNA as humans who once roamed the earth in small tribes.

Various Hanging Johnny

Id not heard this old sea shanty, traditionally sung a capella, until The Futureheads did a rendition on their Rant album a few years back. Its a dark story about snapped necks, gibbets and nooses, and can I imagine it being sung as King David Hartley was lead from York Castle to Tyburn, where he was hung in front of a crowd of several thousand in 1770, and consequently hailed as a martyr by many.

The Memory Band When I Was On Horseback

I dont really know anything about The Memory Bank, nor how I even discovered their music, but their 2013 album On The Chalk (Our Navigation Of The Line Of The Downs)is another record whose feel, pace and atmospherics sits right. Its heavily topographical, a flaneurs collection that rolls along like clouds; foreboding and portentous one moment and then shot-through with blinding bursts of sunbeams the next. Also, I wanted to include a song that influenced a horseback riding scene in the novel.

Black Widow Come To The Sabbat

Ive a fascination for that period in the late 1960s and early 70s when a confluence of old and new ideas mythology, literature, folklore, drugs, paganism, Satanism, sexual liberation, black magick and other esoteric practices emerged and, for a short time, suggested a bold anything goes direction for society. Out of that period so much good music emerged, such as this mock-baroque anthem by Leicesters Black Widow. Like all good rock songs it borders on the ridiculous and with its Jethro Tull-inspired flutes and Brian Blessed-like satanic chant actually offered a gentle face of devil worship. Ah, England. What a stupid and brilliant place.

The Horse Loom Lie Here

The Gallows Pole was partly written with the big screen in mind its structure follows that of a film, and I knew that an imaginary soundtrack should include this. The Horse Loom is Steve Malley, who played guitar in a number of north-east bands including The Unit Ama, Kodiak and Crane, who were like Newcastles own Fugazi when I was a teenager. Now he plays very intricate and intimate guitar music that is part of the same lineage as Bert Jansch, John Renbourne and Nick Drake and, for me, captures something unspoken about the north of England. Its very cinematic, timeless and technically dazzling, in a very understated and humble way.

Lead Belly The Gallows Pole

Its almost embarrassing the amount of white artists who have covered Huddie Ledbetter, and almost certainly always to greater financial reward. But along with Odetta, his is the only other version of The Gallows Pole worth listening to.

The Gallows Pole is out now, published by Blue Moose

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The Gallows Pole By Benjamin Myers: A Playlist - The Quietus

In literature and art from over 100 years ago, images of the cow as mother – The Indian Express

Written by Radhika Iyengar | Updated: April 5, 2017 8:52 am

The first known cow protection movement began in the 1800s when Hindus were rallied in hordes to stop the slaughter of cattle. Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati emerged as an early proponent of cow protection, who first published Gokarunanidhi (http://bit.ly/2nzf6fA), a pamphlet in 1881, which circulated his concerns against cattle slaughter. In it, Saraswati stated the economic favourability of cow protection, arguing that a cow was more beneficial to people alive, as opposed to it being dead, since it gave milk and eased agricultural labour. Saraswati later on went to establish a committee for the protection of cows called Gaurakshini Sabha in 1882.

While Saraswati had given economic reasons to support his demand for cow protection, over the years, the cow gained political-religious popularity and prominence. In context to religion, the cow was looked upon as a mother gau-mata for she performed the role of a foster mother, feeding milk to each Hindu. Thus, the Hindu nationalists used the maternal metaphor to sculpt a strong Hindu identity, similar to the one evoked through the image of the country as a maternal figure, that is, Bharat Mata or Motherland. It was the job of a Hindu man therefore, to defend his mother in this case, the cow. The strength of a Hindu man therefore, became inextricably linked to his ability to protect the body of his nurturing mother goddess from non-Hindus.

Of course, the image of a cow as mother then was not useful independently. The image would only be considered functional when it worked towards rallying Hindu men to converge into an army of strong men vigilantes who could defend their gau-mata and their country. In fact, bhajans back in the day fiercely associated a Hindus manhood to his strength in defending the cow. Historian Charu Gupta observed in her paper titled, The Icon of Mother in Late Colonial North India: Bharat Mata, Matri Bhasha and Gau Mata, that bhajans like those by Swami Alaram Sanyasi, fiercely associated a Hindus manhood to his strength in defending the cow. The lyrics stated, Mard unhi ko janen hum jo rakshak hain gau mata ke (We consider as men only those who are the protectors of mother cow).

Even today, there are several bhajans that associate absolute male strength, bravery and vigour with protecting cows. A bhajan sung by Bajrangi Sonji goes like this: Veer-Pandavo kisantano phir maidano mein aao, gau-mata ke praan bacaho inn paapi gadhaaro se. (Children of Veer and Pandavas, return to the arena and protect our mother cow from these treacherous traitors!)

Dutch historian Peter van der Veer explored this relationship drawn between the image of cow and Hindu manliness and authority, in his book Religious Nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in India. He wrote, the image of the cow as a mother, is a crucial image, since as a mother the cow signifies the family and the community at large. She depends on the authority and protection of the male of the family. While mother cow refers to family and nation alike, her protection refers to patriarchal authority and to the Hindu state, the rightful kingdom of Rama. It is within the logic of religious discourse that the protection of the cow become the foremost symbol of the Hindu nation-state.

In the late 1800s, the accessibility of the press, too, assisted in the proliferation of the pro-cow-anti-Muslim ideology. The cow-protection propaganda gained momentum, primarily distancing the Muslims from the Hindus. At that time, handbills and pamphlets began being distributed advocating cow protection, which also pushed Hindus to boycott products sold by Muslims. A 1933 handbill, Charu Gupta noted, which was circulated at the time stated: Gaumata ka Sandesh: Gauraksharth Harek Vastu Hinduon se hi Kharid, which translates to, Message from Mother-Cow: For the Protection of the Cow, Buy Every Item from Hindus Alone.

In addition to the handbills and pamphlets that were widely circulated, newspapers such as Gausewak (in Varanasi) that were sold at railway stations and on the streets, fiercely advocated cow protection, along with bhajans like the Bhajan Gauraksha Gopal Darpan and Bhajan Gauraksha Updesh Manjari (1892), which were written to mobilise Hindu solidarity through the symbolic cow.

While the rift between Hindus and Muslims grew wider, violent riots broke out between the communities regarding cow slaughter. In response, Mahatma Gandhi pointed out the hypocrisy Hindus carried in his piece titled, Let Hindus Beware (dated 1921) where he wrote, To attempt cow protection by violence is to reduce Hinduism to Satanism, and to prostitute to a base end the grand significance of cow protection. In the same piece he said that Hindus were responsible for causing more harm to cows than Muslims, since it were the Hindus who first sheltered their cows and then sold them for export.

Along with the texts, visual images were used to ingrain Hindu fanaticism with relation to the cow. In her paper, Charu Gupta writes that during the period between 1893-1894, apart from handbills and pamphlets, pictures of the cow were also circulated and exhibited at many meetings. One depicted a cow in the act of being slaughtered by three Muslim butchers, and was headed The present state. Another exhibited a cow, in every part of whose body groups of Hindu deities and holy persons were shown. A calf was at her udder, and there was a woman sitting before the calf holding a bowl waiting for her turn. The woman was labelled The Hindu. Behind the cow was a representation of Krishna labelled Dharmraj. In front, a monster was assailing the cow with a drawn sword entitled Kaliyug, but which was largely understood as typifying the Muslim community.

Around the late 1800s, calendar art gained prominence as well. Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was one of the first to put the image of a cow on a calendar, painted to work in tandem with the cow protection movement.According to historian Christopher Pinney (who wrote in his book, Photos of the Gods: the Printed images and Political struggles in India) the riots of 1893 between Hindus and Muslims, which stemmed from anti-cow slaughter movement, assumed an overtly communal flavour. That reflected in the way the Hindu cow was depicted in calendars.

In a calendar that carried a painting titled Chaurasi Devata Auvali Gay (The Cow with Eighty Four Deities, 1912), for example, Hindu gods were shown to be residing within a hapless mother cow, which was being attacked by a toothed, demonic cow-slayer this monstrous matricidal figure, captioned Kaliyug (the demon Kali, personifying evil) in the Varma print, is readily identifiable with the Muslim community (Pinney 1997); or more broadly, with Muslim, Christian and Hindu low-caste beef eaters, observed historian Dilip M. Menon in Cultural History of Modern India. With reference to the same image, Pinney wrote: In the use of these images, a more discriminatory message was stressed in which the cow came to represent a Hindu identity and nationality that required the protection from non-Hindus.

Its important to note how images and text played a significant role in building the narrative of the cow as a mother whose protection by Hindu male was imperative. He was the assigned protector. In the same context, the narrative of the other with regard to the Muslims and Christians, was woven in. This, of course, is not an extensive collection of examples, but it is sufficient to offer a crucial insight.

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In literature and art from over 100 years ago, images of the cow as mother - The Indian Express

‘Bible torching,’ ‘neo-satanic’ college group planned ‘lamb sacrifice’ at Clemson University – TheBlaze.com

A college group reportedly planned to hold a neo-satanic ceremony at Clemson University on Saturday.

According to a flier found in Clemsons Brackett Hall, students were invited to attend the Clemson Unorthodox Neo-Satanic Temples C.U.N.T. Afterlife Party on March 11. The flier, which features two satanic symbols, promises students a lamb sacrifice and live bloodletting, a public satanic ritual in which people draw blood from a live animal.

In addition to sacrificing lambs, the flier promised students a Bible Torching Ceremony at 7 p.m. and promised the C.U.N.T. sucker who brings the most bibles wins $25!

The Clemson Unorthodox Neo-Satanic Temple claims in the flier the event was planned to help summon Baphomet, a goat-headed satanic figure with horns.

Baphomet is a popular image in modern satanism. In 2014, a satanic group in New York designed and built a one-ton statue of Baphomet and attempted in vain to have the statue placed near a statue of the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol. However, that attempt failed when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the Ten Commandments statue violated the states prohibition on using public property for religious purposes.

Its unclear whether the Clemson Unorthodox Neo-Satanic Temple truly held the event or where the event was scheduled to occur.

This isnt the first time a college group has attempted to hold a satanic ritual on or near a college campus. In 2014, a Harvard University student group, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, planned a large, satanic black mass on Harvards campus, but it was canceled after significant backlash from parents, students and faculty. Foxnews.com reported nearly 400 students and 100 alumni petitioned against the event.

The same organization that helped plan the event, the Satanic Temple, announced in May 2016 its plan to roll out an after-school satanic club for public elementary school students. According to a report in USA Today, the group is more interested in promoting rebellion against tyranny and authoritarian rule, as the group defines it, and places science above all religious ideas.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 religious groups have the right to use public school spaces as any other after-school club would.

(H/T: Campus Reform)

(Photo by Ken Lund)

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'Bible torching,' 'neo-satanic' college group planned 'lamb sacrifice' at Clemson University - TheBlaze.com

The Awolowo legacy and its message for Nigerian youths – Tribune – NIGERIAN TRIBUNE (press release) (blog)

Being the 2017 Obafemi Awolowo memorial lecture delivered by Professor Banji Akintoye on March 6, in Lagos.

WE gather today, the sixth day of March 2017, as we have done unfailingly and dutifully every year for decades, to celebrate the birthday of our father and benefactor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Each celebration is our way of thanking him for the glistering heritage which he bequeathed to us; it also a way of reminding ourselves that we possess a great heritage, and that we can achieve whatever we set our hearts and minds upon to achieve.

Todays lecture is a message to our youths in these terrible times in the life and history of Nigeria. I will try to keep it as simple and brief as possible. Indeed, I want it to be as close as possible to a university classroom lecture, because I want my chosen audience, the youths of our country, to benefit fully from it.

Our father, Obafemi Awolowo, was an unrelenting searcher for information and knowledge about his society, country and world, a philosopher, a man of consistent efficiency and steadily high ideals in his private and public life, a man of titanic courage, an accomplished development planner, an endowed nation builder, an astute administrator, a great motivator, a wonderful leader of men and, above all, an inspired and inspiring teacher. It is one of the greatest joys of my life that, in my generation of Nigerian youths, I belonged to the select group of youths who were privileged to be close to Chief Awolowo as to a father, who were fortunate to learn at his feet, and who were called upon, under his leadership, to attempt great exploits towards the improvement of the quality of the lives of our people, and towards the prosperity and greatness of our country.

Chief Awolowo remains very much alive today, because his legacy continues to impact the lives of millions of his countrymen for good. I was in a get-together of old friends some weeks ago in a town in our Southwest. In the course of the evening, we in the gathering got into recounting our memories and reminiscences about our childhood lives. The few of us who were in our eighties told stories about how, when we were children, only a few of us in our towns and villages were going to school while the vast majority of our friends, brothers and cousins were not going, mostly because their parents could not afford to send them. But most of us in the gathering who were in our seventies and below told stories of how life suddenly changed for all children in their towns and villages in 1955, the year in which Chief Awolowo introduced Free Primary Education in the Western Region. Most of the men and women who are senior professors, senior administrators, senior statesmen, senior engineers, senior architects, senior lawyers and so on in our Southwest today, are so because Chief Awolowo opened the door of schools to all children from 1955 on in our Western Region. All these senior citizens are parents of highly educated families that today occupy very important places in the life of our region, our country, and other countries in the wide world families that will, probably many centuries from now, continue to be important in the lives of our communities and of the world.

Some years ago, while traveling in some countries of Southeast Asia, I met a Yoruba man who was Dean of Technology in his university there. He told me that his place of origin was a small village in a remote part of our Southwest. I jokingly asked him how he had managed to come from his remote village to the position of Dean in a university so far across the world, and he laughed and answered in one single word, Awolowo. What he meant is that it was Chief Awolowo that had made it possible for his poor parents to send him to the small school in his small village home, and that it was Chief Awolowo that thereby opened the paths across the world before him.

Chief Awolowo changed the life, the capabilities and the prospects of the whole Yoruba nation in Nigeria, a nation that now numbers about 50 million in population. I returned home a few months ago, after many years of living and working as a professor abroad, mostly in the United States of America. America is a country of thousands of universities; and there is hardly any one of those universities that does not have some Yoruba professors. These days, since my return home from abroad, when I wake up in the morning, I love to stand at a discreet street corner and watch streams of our children going to school. Many of the children are so young that their older sisters or brothers have to hold their hands or even carry them. The one sure thing that every Yoruba mother does for a child of school age today is to send him or her to school. Unknown to those mothers, they are building the Yoruba nation into a mighty nation in the world. In all the future, whenever the story of the greatness is written or told, it will always be remembered that it all started when Obafemi Awolowo opened the door to schools to all the children of his people. Free Education in our Western Region under Chief Awolowo was the very first in all of Africa.

The gift of Free Education was the greatest single gift given by Chief Awolowo to us his people, but it was not the only gift. Under his leadership, the Western Region stood out as the number one Region, the pace setter in development, in Nigeria. The wide-ranging development achievements included many miles of solidly surfaced roads all over our Region, pipe-borne clean water to many of our towns, the first television station on the African continent, the first public-owned sports stadium, the first industrial estate, imaginative support systems for our cocoa farmers (as a result of which our cocoa farmers became the most productive African farmers on the African continent), farm centres training our youths in modern farming, technical training centres teaching modern job skills to our youths, a broad-based investment corporation with investments in industries, commerce, banking, and real estate (the largest agglomeration of African-owned investment capital in Africa). Very importantly too, our Region was the leader in Nigeria in the development of a democratic society, and a government responsive to its people. On the whole, we in the Western Region were led to dream dreams of greatness in the world, we began to see ourselves as soon able to catch up with industrial world leaders like Japan. And we gave our Region the name First in Africa.

I need to add that Chief Awolowo did not intend to limit all these to the Western Region. No. When parents from other Regions brought their children across Regional borders to our free schools, Chief Awolowos government did not try to stop them. Moreover, he made dedicated efforts to give these goods to the whole of Nigeria. First and foremost in this regard, he was the leader who promoted most clearly and most consistently the idea that a country like Nigeria, comprising many different nationalities, in order to be able to live in harmony and make progress, needs to establish a rational federal system based on respect for the various nationalities. Other Nigerian leaders resisted this, and some castigated him for it, but he never gave up. His words have proved true in the course of the nearly sixty years of Nigerias independence. By concocting Nigeria into a country with an all-controlling central government, those who reject Chief Awolowos federalist ideas have led Nigeria into evil times times so evil that Nigeria may ultimately, or may even soon, break up.

Moreover, from 1959, Chief Awolowo embarked on efforts to take his development ideas to the Nigerian federal government and thereby to the whole of Nigeria. He fought titanic election campaigns, and reached the hearts of ordinary Nigerians far and wide. But, as we all know, most elections are won in Nigeria not through the votes of the common people but through the manipulations of powerful and influential citizens, especially powerful and influential citizens holding the machinery of the Federal Government. At federal election after federal election, Chief Awolowo won the majority of votes and lost the elections.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the rubble into which Nigeria has been reduced, the quality of the education which Chief Awolowo established for us is suffering today. Our children are not learning as much or as well as they should be learning in their schools. Most of the old school environments are run down and depressing and do not inspire the children to learn. Support for schools are generally poor across Nigeria, teachers are irregularly paid their salaries and are demoralised, and many teachers are forced to seek survival in all sorts of side ventures. Therefore, our youths are graduating from our schools, colleges and universities with very low levels of educational competence. The reasons for this sad state of affairs is well known. The persons who have been controlling most of the affairs of Nigeria through the Federal Government since independence are apathetic or even downright hostile to modern education. And, unhappily, the Federal Government which these people control has been gradually turned into the controller of all of Nigeria, with power and influence to determine what states may or may not do. The United Nations agency, UNESCO, estimates that a country that would have an efficient, effective and result-yielding educational system needs to be spending at least 26 per cent of its GDP (or annual budget) on education. Nigeria spends only about eight per cent on education. Moreover, federal policies, and federal dictation of the nature, contents, and direction of education at all levels throughout Nigeria, have had disastrous effects on education in all parts of Nigeria.

But I must hurry to add that, happily, we are beginning to see welcome changes in our educational system. Some of the school premises being built today for primary schools in some of our states deserve our commendation and our gratitude. While thanking our elected public officials for these, however, we must also urge them to venture into deeper changes in the education of our children. What we Yoruba people want for ourselves is to belong in the ranks of the most educationally, scientifically and technologically advanced peoples of the world. In addition, we want our children to learn, and become proficient in, our language and our history. Chief Awolowo put our feet on the path to all these; we must now resume the journey with all the vigour at our command.

But, as we gather here today, we are living in a Nigeria that has declined to its lowest levels of societal disorder, immorality, and hopelessness. All the negative inputs that have been fed into our countrys life since independence, all the crookedness, all the hatred and vileness and viciousness, all the involvement of the darkness of the occult and of Satanism into the affairs of Nigeria, all the murderous intent and the mass murdering of the weak and vulnerable, all the religious and inter-ethnic violence, all the sub-human greed and corruption in the ranks of the political and bureaucratic elite, all the impunity in the management of Nigerian affairs all have now converged and concatenated to make Nigeria a land of utter hopelessness for the vast majority of Nigerians, a land of poverty, hunger, disease and destitution, a land of desperation, fear and terror, a land in which rivers of human blood flow day by day, a land in which human life has become pitifully discounted.

A recent report by a United Nations agency described Nigeria as one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world. Another UN report warned that if certain situations in Nigeria were not urgently changed, as many as 140 thousand children could die in a certain part of Nigeria in the next few months. Various reports are informing Nigeria and the world that the charitable money and other items sent by international organisations and individuals from across the world for the care of Nigerians internally displaced by Boko Haram violence are being stolen and shared by Nigerian officials, and that the camps where the internally displaced persons are being kept has become a horrible place of mass starvation and mass deaths. A report in the news media about two weeks ago alerted Nigeria to the fact that instances of mental sickness have risen to frightening heights, and are rising more and more sharply, in our country, and indicated that the cause of this is the condition of our country the hopeless poverty that reigns over the lives of masses of Nigerians, and the insensitive and utterly immoral governance of our country.

Instances of the vilest and most grotesque crimes, and of the most shockingly inhuman treatments of man by man, are reported daily from various parts of our country. The whole world has been watching videos of Nigerians calmly cutting the throats of hundreds of fellow Nigerians, and of Nigerians gathering groups of other living Nigerians together, dousing them with gasoline, and setting them on fire. Nigeria is becoming a strangely barbarous and repulsive spectacle in the world.

Not surprisingly, the outside world is already showing signs of rejecting Nigeria and Nigerians. About two weeks ago, towards the end of last January, some countries of the world issued warnings and advisories to their citizens, some urging their citizens to desist from going to Nigeria, some advising their citizens who are already in Nigeria to watch out for danger, and some advising their citizens to stay clear of certain parts of Nigeria. In the Union of South Africa, a member country of the African Union, the people are showing very definitely that they no longer want Nigerians in their country. In town after town in that country, crowds of citizens are rising up, attacking Nigerians, chasing Nigerians from their communities, killing some Nigerians in the process, and destroying the businesses and properties of Nigerians. This has been going on for some time, but it has reached a peak in recent months. And similar developments have occurred in some other African countries such as Kenya. Thousands of Nigerians regularly try to reach Europe through the Sahara Desert country of Libya in North Africa, another member of the African Union. According to official reports in recent months, Libyan citizens now commonly attack the arriving Nigerians, steal their money and other belongings, and then kill them.

As we all know, it is the youths of Nigeria that suffer the most from all these rot and ruin of Nigeria. By our youths I mean those Nigerians who belong to the age bracket of 18 to 40. As I said recently in a lecture which I delivered to Igbo Youths in Enugu, the people aged 18 to 40 are always the most dynamic sector of the population of every nation in the world. People below 18 are still children, mostly still schooling or learning in some other way. People in the age bracket 18 to 40 are usually graduates of schools, colleges and universities. In Nigeria, they constitute a majority of our countrys total population they are believed to be about 55 per cent of our population. Even more importantly, they are the most educated and most skilled sector of our adult population. They produce and raise most of the children that are being born into our population. They dream up most ideas in business; and they are the starters of most business ventures. They lead in all fields of adventure, sports, and arts. In short, they bear the biggest share of the burden of pushing our country forward in economic, business, professional, intellectual, cultural, social and artistic pursuits.

But since independence, planning for the empowerment of our youths has never been a serious and sustained feature of Nigerias national development. Even the programmes for youth empowerment started in the Western Region under Chief Awolowos Regional government in the 1950s have not survived in the era of federal control and federal fiats. For decades now, the rate of unemployment among our youths has been one of the highest in the world. It has often been estimated as ranging between 54 per cent and 70 per cent among our educated youths, and even higher among the uneducated ones. For even the best university graduates, working the streets for years without a job is the common experience all over Nigeria. Most of our educated youths are unemployable partly because their basic education is grossly defective, partly because they lack modern job skills, and partly because the overwhelming majority lack acceptable job ethics. At the same time, poor infrastructures, poor public administrative services, and insensitive financial services, drastically inhibit the spirit of entrepreneurship among our youths. In most countries in the world, a youth can sit at his mothers kitchen table or in his fathers garage and put together a business idea that can develop into a big winner in the market place; he does not have to fear for lack of electricity, lack of water, lack of good roads, lack of a supportive public administration, or lack of sensitive and helpful banking services. In Nigeria, even the most creative youth is deterred by such fears from going forward with his ideas; for those who choose to go forward, failure and drop-out are the very common outcomes.

However, even in these terrible times, I bring the message that any youth who chooses to learn from Chief Awolowos legacy stands a very good chance of acquiring for himself or herself a purpose-driven life, a life of success, and a life that impacts society, country and world in very positive ways. That is the central purpose of this lecture to invite and motivate our youths to benefit from the Awolowo legacy and use it to enrich, strengthen and beautify their lives and if possible, to use it to earn for themselves an image as bright and as enviable as Chief Awolowos in the world and for a long time in the future.

First then, I urge you to learn this first thing about Chief Awolowo. He was only a youth like many of you in my audience today when he started to give his life to great exploits. The decisions he took then any of you can take today. At a tender age, he tried his hand at a business of his own, and he also gave some of his time to the emerging nationalist politics of Nigeria. His first great achievement was his founding of the pan-Yoruba organisation, Egbe Omo Oduduwa, in 1945. He was only a student in London when he did this, and he was only 37 years old. At only 37, he thus stepped boldly into greatness. Then, two years later, he published his first book proposing the best direction for the constitutional development of Nigeria.

Any youth who chooses to do something like these along lines of his or her own interest has a fair chance of achieving success. World history is copiously dotted with stories of youths who stepped out early and achieved greatness early. Develop interest in such stories and then boldly choose your own line of action, instead of just roaming the streets for job opportunities that do not exist, or following and yelling after politicians, or attaching yourself to a group of area boys, or even blindly rushing away to other countries. To your surprise, you may acquire some highly valuable skill, or become the owner of an enterprise of your own, your own kind of enterprise. Though things are tough in Nigeria today, roads to success still exist for those who would decide and launch out with serious dedication as our father, Awolowo, did.

And then, one of the most impressive features Chief Awolowoslife was his love of learning, his dedication to finding information and knowledge. His central interest in this was to find out how a country is developed, how this country called Nigeria can be best developed, how to improve the quality of the lives of his countrymen, how to make himself a better and more informed servant of his people. Of course, he gave some time to other kinds of study for instance, he engaged in some scientific researches, and he set up a small laboratory for that purpose. But the subject of development and progress was his main interest, and he always went at it with almost superhuman energy, zeal and concentration. I and others of my age were only school boys during most years of his revolutionary premiership of the Western Region in the 1950s, but when he came back from his unfair political incarceration, followed by some years of service in the federal war cabinet, and after he returned to full politics in the 1970s, we were already fairly mature intellectuals, and we were among the closest persons in his circle for the rest of his life. He relentlessly pushed himself and us in the search for knowledge and that meant that he was constantly reading, constantly demanding clearer explanations and new writings and books, constantly doing very incisive writings of his own, constantly drawing us into discussion, frequently asking us to travel to other lands where there might be development information that could help to make our plans for Nigeria better, frequently urging us to take advantage of our academic travels to acquire information about our great central charge the development and beauty of our Nigeria. It is true, as he said in one of his most famous statements, that while other men slept, he kept working into the deep hours of the night, delving deeper and deeper into knowledge about how to make Nigeria a great country. He was truly the deep calling to the deep.

I believe that Chief Awolowo knew Nigeria more comprehensively and more deeply than any other Nigerian of his time. He was not merely another Nigerian politician. He understood more of Nigerias problems, and Nigerias economic and political life and prospects, and had clearer and more constructive ideas about the development and future of Nigeria. He fully deserves the deep respect, and the gravity, that he is receiving from us his children and from generations of other Nigerians. Again, I say to my youthful audience of today: any of you can start from this moment to include in your lives a search for knowledge in some field of interest of yours. Any of you who does that stands a fair chance of acquiring at least some of the kind of respect and immortality that Chief Awolowo now enjoys.

I now direct my youthful audience to one special issue over which Chief Awolowo never stopped writing and explaining till his last days. I refer to the issue of a rational and harmonious federation for this country and the fact that a terribly warped and over-centralized structure has been gradually foisted over our federation since 1966. This over-centralization is the root of all the evils that are now wrecking Nigeria, and the root of all the sufferings of all Nigerians, especially our youths. Our youths must not leave the fight against this destructive federal structure to scattered politicians and intellectuals. You must all rise up and fight it relentlessly, until the advocates and supporters of it yield to the demands for the rational restructuring of our federation.

As part of this war, it is crucial that the nations of Nigeria must be defended by all Nigerian youths. Some people who want a more or less unitary state in this multi-ethnic country have been perversely claiming that Nigerias nations are mere myths, that there is no Igbo nation or Yoruba nation or Igala nation or Ijaw nation or Urhobo nation, etc. Some treatises written in 2000-2001 under the auspices of a federal agency (Centre for Democratic Development Research and Training) stated these things explicitly and strongly. They are wrong; and they are deliberately propagating a dangerous falsehood. The youths of Nigeria must confront them powerfully and force them to give up their falsehood.

That demands also that our youths must all begin to propagate respect for the many nations of our country, large or small. Our youths must give up old tendencies whereby persons of one nation denigrate other nations. It is true that, in the complex and confusing politics of Nigeria, some of our nations have hurt one another in some ways in the past. But we must resist the temptation to keep wallowing in the mud-pits of the past; we must give concentration to the fight for a great future for our peoples. Every one of our nations must feel respected and wanted in our country. Every nation in our country, no matter how small, must feel confident in the assurance of protection by the collective will of Nigeria. That is what Chief Awolowo lived much of his life seeking the structural environment for. The kind of genocide now going on in parts of South Kaduna and other parts of the Middle Belt should be met with stout resistance by youths who call Chief Awolowo their father.

To achieve such noble purposes, our youths must develop very strong confidence in themselves, as Chief Awolowo developed great confidence in himself. You must stop the habit of thinking that you are weak, that you are weaker than, and subordinate to, the present class of politicians. Much of Chief Awolowos success was due to his confidence that the British white rulers of Nigeria were not superior to Nigerians, and that Nigerians can indeed achieve great things that the British rulers cannot. You are much stronger than you think. Sure, you do not have the kind of money that the corrupt politicians of these days have; but if you use your head, mobilize your huge numbers and your education sensibly, and if you operate purposefully and with discipline as Chief Awolowo would do in circumstances such as these, you can change the destiny of your peoples for the better even in a country like Nigeria.

Well, at any time, I can speak about Chief Awolowo for hours on end. He means that much to us, and much more. But I must remember my promise to make this a brief speech. Therefore, I will now round this speech up by bringing the youths of my audience to this final subject which Chief Awolowo always stressed very much in our circle.

Chief Awolowo always gave emphasis to the need for leaders and rulers to respect their people. In conversations with the young ones like me, he would often say, You must always take care to respect our people. If any of you find yourself in a governing position over any part of our people, your first line of survival and success is to respect them. They may be illiterate and poor, but they are members of ancient civilizations and they are more understanding than you think. If you are arrogant and overbearing, they will find ways to stop you and those ways may hurt your further chances. You must take care to explain things to them, and you must not falsely promise them what you know you cannot do. It is disrespectful to do that. Whatever you do as ruler, do it with our people, dont merely do it for them. We are not foreigners ruling our people, we are their kith and kin. Make sure to enhance their feeling of self-respect.

Because Chief Awolowo had such respect for our people, they trusted him. In many towns and villages in Yorubaland, there were old folks whom the local people called Awolowos father or Awolowos mother. In the 1970s when some of us Awolowos children were scattered all over Nigeria putting the Unity Party of Nigeria together, we were often surprised to find friends of his in even remote places. In a village called Ankpa in the then Benue State, one such old friend of Chief Awolowo took care of me like a son; and in Uyo in the then Cross River State, another old friend of his received me the same way. Many of my friends had similar experiences in the field.

And, now, I will close this with a story about this wonderful respect of our father for our people. In 1983, in preparation for the 1983 presidential election, Chief Awolowo was doing a campaign tour of Kano State, and I was leading a small team on a special part of our campaign in the then Plateau State. Chief Awolowo sent for me to come and see him for some information he needed to pass to me. I started off that afternoon with my team and, after a night in Kaduna, we reached Kano next morning. Papa had gone out on his campaign in parts of Kano State before we arrived, and he was scheduled to return to Kano City at about 4p.m to address the people of the city. Huge crowds were already gathering by noon. But 4p.m came and Papa did not arrive; then 5p.m, 7p.m, 9p.m, and he still had not come. Finally, between 9p.m and 10p.m, he and his large entourage arrived. What had happened is that at many villages along his way, where he had not been billed to stop, the villagers had come to the road and asked him to stop and speak to them. And each time he so stopped, he took his time to speak fully to the villagers and to answer their questions. He respected them too much to do any less. But the result of such strenuous exertion is that he looked fearfully tired when he arrived in Kano City. I went to his room in the house provided for us by the governor of Kano State; but he looked so terribly weak that I quietly gave up the attempt to discuss with him. Some medical doctors were always in our group, and these were hurrying in and out to attend to him. That night, many of us feared that we were going to lose our leader and father. It was a hard and sleepless night for many of us. Mercifully, however, he revived considerably before morning and was strong enough to talk with me and my team, and to address the large cheering crowd of Kano City people.

That is our father. His life is a whole book of instructions and lessons for us his children. I urge you all to take full advantage of the lessons and instructions.

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The Awolowo legacy and its message for Nigerian youths - Tribune - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE (press release) (blog)

The Awolowo Legacy And Its Message For Nigerian Youths | The … – The News

Banji Akintoye

Obafemi Awolowo

By Banji Akintoye

We gather today, the 6th day of March 2017, as we have done unfailingly and dutifully every year for decades, to celebrate the birthday of our father and benefactor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Each celebration is our way of thanking him for the glistering heritage which he bequeathed to us; it also a way of reminding ourselves that we possess a great heritage, and that we can achieve whatever we set our hearts and minds upon to achieve.

Todays lecture is a message to our youths in these terrible times in the life and history of Nigeria. I will try to keep it as simple and brief as possible. Indeed, I want it to be as close as possible to a university classroom lecture, because I want my chosen audience, the youths of our country, to benefit fully from it.

Our father, Obafemi Awolowo, was an unrelenting searcher for information and knowledge about his society, country and world, a philosopher, a man of consistent efficiency and steadily high ideals in his private and public life, a man of titanic courage, an accomplished development planner, an endowed nation builder, an astute administrator, a great motivator, a wonderful leader of men and, above all, an inspired and inspiring teacher. It is one of the greatest joys of my life that, in my generation of Nigerian youths, I belonged to the select group of youths who were privileged to be close to Chief Awolowo as to a father, who were fortunate to learn at his feet, and who were called upon, under his leadership, to attempt great exploits towards the improvement of the quality of the lives of our people, and towards the prosperity and greatness of our country.

Chief Awolowo remains very much alive today, because his legacy continues to impact the lives of millions of his countrymen for good. I was in a get-together of old friends some weeks ago in a town in our Southwest. In the course of the evening, we in the gathering got into recounting our memories and reminiscences about our childhood lives. The few of us who were in our eighties told stories about how, when we were children, only a few of us in our towns and villages were going to school while the vast majority of our friends, brothers and cousins were not going, mostly because their parents could not afford to send them. But most of us in the gathering who were in our seventies and below told stories of how life suddenly changed for all children in their towns and villages in 1955, the year in which Chief Awolowo introduced Free Primary Education in the Western Region.

Most of the men and women who are senior professors, senior administrators, senior statesmen, senior engineers, senior architects, senior lawyers and so on in our Southwest today, are so because Chief Awolowo opened the door of schools to all children from 1955 on in our Western Region. All these senior citizens are parents of highly educated families that today occupy very important places in the life of our region, our country, and other countries in the wide world families that will, probably many centuries from now, continue to be important in the lives of our communities and of the world.

Some years ago, while traveling in some countries of Southeast Asia, I met a Yoruba man who was Dean of Technology in his university there. He told me that his place of origin was a small village in a remote part of our Southwest. I jokingly asked him how he had managed to come from his remote village to the position of Dean in a university so far across the world, and he laughed and answered in one single word, Awolowo. What he meant is that it was Chief Awolowo that had made it possible for his poor parents to send him to the small school in his small village home, and that it was Chief Awolowo that thereby opened the paths across the world before him.

Chief Awolowo changed the life, the capabilities and the prospects of the whole Yoruba nation in Nigeria, a nation that now numbers about 50 million in population. I returned home a few months ago, after many years of living and working as a professor abroad, mostly in the United States of America. America is a country of thousands of universities; and there is hardly any one of those universities that does not have some Yoruba professors. These days, since my return home from abroad, when I wake up in the morning, I love to stand at a discreet street corner and watch streams of our children going to school. Many of the children are so young that their older sisters or brothers have to hold their hands or even carry them.

The one sure thing that every Yoruba mother does for a child of school age today is to send him or her to school. Unknown to those mothers, they are building the Yoruba nation into a mighty nation in the world. In all the future, whenever the story of the greatness is written or told, it will always be remembered that it all started when Obafemi Awolowo opened the door to schools to all the children of his people. Free Education in our Western Region under Chief Awolowo was the very first in all of Africa.

The gift of Free Education was the greatest single gift given by Chief Awolowo to us his people, but it was not the only gift. Under his leadership, the Western Region stood out as the number one Region, the pace setter in development, in Nigeria. The wide-ranging development achievements included many miles of solidly surfaced roads all over our Region, pipe-borne clean water to many of our towns, the first television station on the African continent, the first public-owned sports stadium, the first industrial estate, imaginative support systems for our cocoa farmers (as a result of which our cocoa farmers became the most productive African farmers on the African continent), farm centres training our youths in modern farming, technical training centres teaching modern job skills to our youths, a broad-based investment corporation with investments in industries, commerce, banking, and real estate (the largest agglomeration of African-owned investment capital in Africa). Very importantly too, our Region was the leader in Nigeria in the development of a democratic society, and a government responsive to its people. On the whole, we in the Western Region were led to dream dreams of greatness in the world, we began to see ourselves as soon able to catch up with industrial world leaders like Japan. And we gave our Region the name First in Africa.

I need to add that Chief Awolowo did not intend to limit all these to the Western Region. No. When parents from other Regions brought their children across Regional borders to our free schools, Chief Awolowos government did not try to stop them. Moreover, he made dedicated efforts to give these goods to the whole of Nigeria. First and foremost in this regard, he was the leader who promoted most clearly and most consistently the idea that a country like Nigeria, comprising many different nationalities, in order to be able to live in harmony and make progress, needs to establish a rational federal system based on respect for the various nationalities. Other Nigerian leaders resisted this, and some castigated him for it, but he never gave up. His words have proved true in the course of the nearly sixty years of Nigerias independence. By concocting Nigeria into a country with an all-controlling central government, those who reject Chief Awolowos federalist ideas have led Nigeria into evil times times so evil that Nigeria may ultimately, or may even soon, break up.

Moreover, from 1959, Chief Awolowo embarked on efforts to take his development ideas to the Nigerian federal government and thereby to the whole of Nigeria. He fought titanic election campaigns, and reached the hearts of ordinary Nigerians far and wide. But, as we all know, most elections are won in Nigeria not through the votes of the common people but through the manipulations of powerful and influential citizens, especially powerful and influential citizens holding the machinery of the federal government. At federal election after federal election, Chief Awolowo won the majority of votes and lost the elections.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the rubble into which Nigeria has been reduced, the quality of the education which Chief Awolowo established for us is suffering today. Our children are not learning as much or as well as they should be learning in their schools. Most of the old school environments are run down and depressing and do not inspire the children to learn. Support for schools are generally poor across Nigeria, teachers are irregularly paid their salaries and are demoralized, and many teachers are forced to seek survival in all sorts of side ventures. Therefore, our youths are graduating from our schools, colleges and universities with very low levels of educational competence. The reasons for this sad state of affairs is well known. The persons who have been controlling most of the affairs of Nigeria through the Federal Government since independence are apathetic or even downright hostile to modern education. And, unhappily, the Federal Government which these people control has been gradually turned into the controller of all of Nigeria, with power and influence to determine what states may or may not do. The United Nations agency, UNESCO, estimates that a country that would have an efficient, effective and result-yielding educational system needs to be spending at least 26% of its GDP (or annual budget) on education. Nigeria spends only about 8% on education. Moreover, federal policies, and federal dictation of the nature, contents, and direction of education at all levels throughout Nigeria, have had disastrous effects on education in all parts of Nigeria.

But I must hurry to add that, happily, we are beginning to see welcome changes in our educational system. Some of the school premises being built today for primary schools in some of our states deserve our commendation and our gratitude. While thanking our elected public officials for these, however, we must also urge them to venture into deeper changes in the education of our children. What we Yoruba people want for ourselves is to belong in the ranks of the most educationally, scientifically and technologically advanced peoples of the world. In addition, we want our children to learn, and become proficient in, our language and our history. Chief Awolowo put our feet on the path to all these; we must now resume the journey with all the vigour at our command.

Obafemi Awolowo

But, as we gather here today, we are living in a Nigeria that has declined to its lowest levels of societal disorder, immorality, and hopelessness. All the negative inputs that have been fed into our countrys life since independence, all the crookedness, all the hatred and vileness and viciousness, all the involvement of the darkness of the occult and of Satanism into the affairs of Nigeria, all the murderous intent and the mass murdering of the weak and vulnerable, all the religious and inter-ethnic violence, all the sub-human greed and corruption in the ranks of the political and bureaucratic elite, all the impunity in the management of Nigerian affairs all have now converged and concatenated to make Nigeria a land of utter hopelessness for the vast majority of Nigerians, a land of poverty, hunger, disease and destitution, a land of desperation, fear and terror, a land in which rivers of human blood flow day by day, a land in which human life has become pitifully discounted.

A recent report by a United Nations agency described Nigeria as one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world. Another UN report warned that if certain situations in Nigeria were not urgently changed, as many as 140 thousand children could die in a certain part of Nigeria in the next few months. Various reports are informing Nigeria and the world that the charitable money and other items sent by international organizations and individuals from across the world for the care of Nigerians internally displaced by Boko Haram violence are being stolen and shared by Nigerian officials, and that the camps where the internally displaced persons are being kept has become a horrible place of mass starvation and mass deaths. A report in the news media about two weeks ago alerted Nigeria to the fact that instances of mental sickness have risen to frightening heights, and are rising more and more sharply, in our country, and indicated that the cause of this is the condition of our country the hopeless poverty that reigns over the lives of masses of Nigerians, and the insensitive and utterly immoral governance of our country.

Instances of the vilest and most grotesque crimes, and of the most shockingly inhuman treatments of man by man, are reported daily from various parts of our country. The whole world has been watching videos of Nigerians calmly cutting the throats of hundreds of fellow Nigerians, and of Nigerians gathering groups of other living Nigerians together, dousing them with gasoline, and setting them on fire. Nigeria is becoming a strangely barbarous and repulsive spectacle in the world.

Not surprisingly, the outside world is already showing signs of rejecting Nigeria and Nigerians. About two weeks ago, towards the end of last January, some countries of the world issued warnings and advisories to their citizens, some urging their citizens to desist from going to Nigeria, some advising their citizens who are already in Nigeria to watch out for danger, and some advising their citizens to stay clear of certain parts of Nigeria. In the Union of South Africa, a member country of the African Union, the people are showing very definitely that they no longer want Nigerians in their country. In town after town in that country, crowds of citizens are rising up, attacking Nigerians, chasing Nigerians from their communities, killing some Nigerians in the process, and destroying the businesses and properties of Nigerians. This has been going on for some time, but it has reached a peak in recent months. And similar developments have occurred in some other African countries such as Kenya. Thousands of Nigerians regularly try to reach Europe through the Sahara Desert country of Libya in North Africa, another member of the African Union. According to official reports in recent months, Libyan citizens now commonly attack the arriving Nigerians, steal their money and other belongings, and then kill them.

As we all know, it is the youths of Nigeria that suffer the most from all these rot and ruin of Nigeria. By our youths I mean those Nigerians who belong to the age bracket of 18 to 40. As I said recently in a lecture which I delivered to Igbo Youths in Enugu, the people aged 18 to 40 are always the most dynamic sector of the population of every nation in the world. People below 18 are still children, mostly still schooling or learning in some other way. People in the age bracket 18 to 40 are usually graduates of schools, colleges and universities. In Nigeria, they constitute a majority of our countrys total population they are believed to be about 55% of our population. Even more importantly, they are the most educated and most skilled sector of our adult population. They produce and raise most of the children that are being born into our population. They dream up most ideas in business; and they are the starters of most business ventures. They lead in all fields of adventure, sports, and arts. In short, they bear the biggest share of the burden of pushing our country forward in economic, business, professional, intellectual, cultural, social and artistic pursuits.

But since independence, planning for the empowerment of our youths has never been a serious and sustained feature of Nigerias national development. Even the programmes for youth empowerment started in the Western Region under Chief Awolowos Regional government in the 1950s have not survived in the era of federal control and federal fiats. For decades now, the rate of unemployment among our youths has been one of the highest in the world. It has often been estimated as ranging between 54% and 70% among our educated youths, and even higher among the uneducated ones. For even the best university graduates, working the streets for years without a job is the common experience all over Nigeria. Most of our educated youths are unemployable partly because their basic education is grossly defective, partly because they lack modern job skills, and partly because the overwhelming majority lack acceptable job ethics.

At the same time, poor infrastructures, poor public administrative services, and insensitive financial services, drastically inhibit the spirit of entrepreneurship among our youths. In most countries in the world, a youth can sit at his mothers kitchen table or in his fathers garage and put together a business idea that can develop into a big winner in the market place; he does not have to fear for lack of electricity, lack of water, lack of good roads, lack of a supportive public administration, or lack of sensitive and helpful banking services. In Nigeria, even the most creative youth is deterred by such fears from going forward with his ideas; for those who choose to go forward, failure and drop-out are the very common outcomes.

However, even in these terrible times, I bring the message that any youth who chooses to learn from Chief Awolowos legacy stands a very good chance of acquiring for himself or herself a purpose-driven life, a life of success, and a life that impacts society, country and world in very positive ways. That is the central purpose of this lecture to invite and motivate our youths to benefit from the Awolowo legacy and use it to enrich, strengthen and beautify their lives and if possible, to use it to earn for themselves an image as bright and as enviable as Chief Awolowos in the world and for a long time in the future.

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The Awolowo Legacy And Its Message For Nigerian Youths | The ... - The News

Modern Satanism | Prometheism.net – Part 2

Before Anton LaVey compiled the philosophy of Satanism and founded the Church of Satan in 1966, who upheld its values? It is always debated whether or not these people were or were not Satanists and what they would have thought of Satanism if it existed during their lives. In The Satanic Bible, Book of Lucifer 12, it name-drops many of these groups and mentions many specific people, times and dates. I do not want to quote it all here, so if youre interested in more of the specifics buy the damned book from Amazon, already. These are the unwitting potential predecessors of Satanism.

The Satanic Bible opens with a few references to groups that are associated with historical Satanism.

In eighteenth-century England a Hell-Fire Club, with connections to the American colonies through Benjamin Franklin, gained some brief notoriety. During the early part of the twentieth century, the press publicized Aleister Crowley as the wickedest man in the world. And there were hints in the 1920s and 30s of a black order in Germany.

To this seemingly old story LaVey and his organization of contemporary Faustians offered two strikingly new chapters. First, they blasphemously represented themselves as a church, a term previously confined to the branches of Christianity, instead of the traditional coven of Satanism and witchcraft lore. Second, they practiced their black magic openly instead of underground. []

[Anton LaVey] had accumulated a library of works that described the Black Mass and other infamous ceremonies conducted by groups such as the Knights Templar in fourteenth-century France, the Hell-Fire club and the Golden Dawn in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England.

Burton Wolfes introduction to The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey (1969)

This page looks at some groups, some individuals, but is nowhere near a comprehensive look at the subject, just a small window into which you might see some of the rich, convoluted history of the dark, murky development of the philosophies that support Satanism.

There is a saying that history is written by the winners. The victors of a war are the ones who get to write the school books: they write that the defeated are always the enemy of mankind, the evil ones, the monsters. The victors are always fighting desperately for just causes. This trend is historically important in Satanism. As one religion takes over the ground and the demographics of a losing religion, the loser has its gods demonized and its holy places reclaimed. For example the Vatican was housed on an old Mithraist temple, and Gaelic spirits became monsters as Christianity brutalized Europe with its religious propaganda.

There are groups, therefore, that were wiped out by the Christians. The Spanish Inquisition forced, in duress and torture, many confessions out of its victims, confessions of every kind of devil worship. Likewise its larger wars against Muslims, science, freethought, etc, were all done under the guise of fighting against the devil. In cases where their victims left no records of their own we will never know what their true beliefs were. So the legacy of Christian violence has left us with many associations between various people and Devil Worship, and we know that most of these accounts are wrong, barbaric and the truth is grotesquely forced in them.

We know now that most the Christian Churches previous campaigns were unjustified. Various groups and individuals through have become called Satanists. Such claims are nearly always a result of rumours, mass paranoia and slanderous libel. The dark age victims of this kind of Christian paranoia were largely not actually Satanists, but merely those who didnt believe what the orthodox Church wanted them to believe. Thus, history can be misleading especially when you rely on the religious views of one group, who are clearly biased against competing beliefs!

The Knights Templar were founded in 1118 in the growing shadow of the Dark Ages. They were the most powerful military religious order of the Middle Ages. They built Europes most impressive ancient Cathedrals and were the bankers for practically every throne in Europe1. Some historians trace the history of all globalised multinationals to the banking practices of the Knights Templar2. They had strong presence in multiple countries; Portugal, England, Spain, Scotland, Africa (i.e. Ethiopia) and France. They were rich and powerful, with members in royal families and the highest places including Kings. King John II of Portugal was once Grand Master of the Order. They explored the oceans, built roads and trade routes and policed them, created the first banking system, sanctioned castles, built glorious buildings, and had adequate forces to protect their prized holy places and objects. Their fleet was world-faring, and their masterly knightly battle skills were invaluable to any who could befriend them or afford their mercenary services.

The Knights Templar fell into disrepute with the powerful Catholic Church and the French kingdom, and the Catholics ran a long campaign against them, accusing them of devil worship, of immorality, subversion, and accused them of practicing magic and every kind of occult art. The organisation was finally destroyed and its members burned from 1310. Nowadays, although the accusations are thoroughly discredited, they are still equated with the Occult and sometimes with Satanism, sometimes even by practitioners of those arts themselves.

The Knights Templar: 1. The Rise of the Knights Templar by Vexen Crabtree (2004)

The Satanism-for-fun-and-games fad next appeared in England in the middle 18th Century in the form of Sir Francis Dashwoods Order of the Medmanham Fanciscans, popularly called The Hell-Fire Club. While eliminating the blood, gore, and baby-fat candles of the previous centurys masses, Sir Francis managed to conduct rituals replete with good dirty fun, and certainly provided a colorful and harmless form of psychodrama for many of the leading lights of the period. An interesting sideline of Sir Francis, which lends a clue to the climate of the Hell-Fire Club, was a group called the Dilettanti Club, of which he was the founder.

The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey (1969)

The Hell-Fire Clubs conjure up images of aristocratic rakes outraging respectability at every turn, cutting a swath through the village maidens and celebrating Black Masses. While all this is true, it is not the whole story. The author of this volume has assembled an account of the Clubs and of their antecedents and descendants. At the centre of the book is the principal brotherhood, known by the Hell-Fire name Sir Francis Dashwoods notorious Monks of Medmenham, with their strange rituals and initiation rites, library of erotica and nun companions recruited from the brothels of London. From this maverick group flow such notable literary libertines as Horace Walpole and Lord Byron. Pre-dating Medmenham are the figures of Rabelais and John Dee, both expounding philosophies of do what you will or anything goes. Geoffrey Ashe traces the influence of libertarian philosophies on the world of the Enlightenment, showing how they met the need for a secular morality at a time when Christianity faced the onslaught of rationalism and empiricism. He follows the libertarian tradition through de Sade and into the 20th century, with discussions of Aleister Crowley, Charles Manson and Timothy Leary, delving below the scandals to reveal the social and political impact of doing your own thing which has roots far deeper than the post-war permissive society.

Amazon Review of The Hell-fire Clubs: A History of Anti-morality by Geoffrey Ashe

An informal network of Hellfire Clubs thrived in Britain during the eighteenth century, dedicated to debauchery and blasphemy. With members drawn from the cream of the political, artistic and literary establishments, they became sufficiently scandalous to inspire a number of Acts of Parliament aimed at their suppression. Historians have been inclined to dismiss the Hellfire Clubs as nothing more than riotous drinking societies, but the significance of many of the nations most powerful and brilliant men dedicating themselves to Satan is difficult to ignore. That they did so with laughter on their lips, and a drink in their hands, does not diminish the gesture so much as place them more firmly in the Satanic tradition.

The inspiration for the Hellfire Clubs [also] drew heavily from profane literature such as Gargantua, an unusual work combining folklore, satire, coarse humour and light-hearted philosophy written in the sixteenth century by a renegade monk named Francois Rabelais. One section of the book concerned a monk who [] has an abbey built that he names Thelema [which is] dedicated to the pleasures of the flesh. Only the brightest, most beautiful and best are permitted within its walls, and its motto is Fait Ce Que Vouldras (Do What You Will).

Lucifer Rising by Gavin Baddeley (1999)3

Gavin Baddeleys book opens with a long, fascinating and awe-inspiring chapter on histories Satanic traditions, following such trends through enlightenment, the decadents, through art, aristocracy and nobility, before concentrating the rest of the book on modern rock and roll devilry. It is a highly recommended book!

The magical and occult elements of Satanism have parallels with previous groups and teachings. Frequent references and commentary are made on certain sources. None of those listed here were Satanists except possibly Crowley:

The Knights Templar (11th-14th Centuries; France, Portugal, Europe) have contributed some symbolism and methodology but not much in the way of teachings.

Chaos Magic has contributed magical theory and psychological techniques to magical practices.

Quantum Physics has contributed high-brow theory on such areas as how consciousness may be able manipulate events.

The New Age (1900s+) has contributed some of the less respectable pop-magic aspects to Satanism such as Tarot, Divination, etc. Although Satanism was in part a reaction against the new age, some aspects of it have been generally adopted.

John Dee and Kelly (17th Century) created the Enochian system of speech used for emoting (sonic tarot) and pronounciation in any way the user sees fit. LaVey adopted the Enochian Keys for rituals and includes his translation of them in The Satanic Bible.

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947, England) was an infamous occultist and magician, and has lent a large portion of his techniques and general character to magical practice and psychology, as well as chunks of philosophy and teachings on magic and life in general.

The Kabballah, as the mother-text of nearly all the occult arts, has indirectly influenced Satanism, lending all kinds of esoteric thoughts, geometry, procedures, general ideas and some specifics to all occult practices.

See:

Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844 Oct 15 1900 Aug 25, was a German philosopher who challenged the foundations of morality and promoted life affirmation and individualism. He was one of the first existentialist philosophers. Some of Nietzsches philosophies have surfaced as those upheld by Satanists.

Life: 1875 1947. Scotland, United Kingdom.

Infamous occultist and hedonist and influential on modern Satanism. Some hate him and think him a contentless, drug-addled, meaningless diabolicist with little depth except obscurantism. Others consider him an eye-opening Satanic mystic who changed the course of history. His general attitude is one found frequently amongst Satanists and his experimental, extreme, party-animal life is either stupidly self-destructive or a model of candle-burning perfection, depending on what type of Satanist you ask.

Some Satanists are quite well-read of Crowley and his groups. His magical theories, techniques and style have definitely influenced the way many Satanists think about ritual and magic.

As far as Satanism is concerned, the closest outward signs of this were the neo-Pagan rites conducted by MacGregor Mathers Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and Aleister Crowleys later Order of the Silver Star (A A Argentinum Astrum) and Order of Oriental Templars (O.T.O.), which paranoiacally denied any association with Satanism, despite Crowleys self-imposed image of the beast of revelation. Aside from some rather charming poetry and a smattering of magical bric-a-brac, when not climbing mountains Crowley spent most of his time as a poseur par excellence and worked overtime to be wicked. Like his contemporary, Rev.(?) Mantague Summers, Crowley obviously spent a large part of his life with his tongue jammed firmly into his cheek, but his followers, today, are somehow able to read esoteric meaning into his every word.

Book of Air 12 The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey (1969)

Links to other sites:

Europe has had a history of powerful indulgent groups espounding Satanic philosophies; with the occassional rich group emerging from the underground to terrorize traditionalist, stifling morals of their respective times, these groups have led progressive changes in society in the West. Satanists to this day employ shock tactics, public horror and outrage in order to blitzkreig their progressive freethought messages behind the barriers of traditionalist mental prisons.

When such movements surfaced in the USA in the guise of the Church of Satan, it was a little more commercialist than others. Previous European groups have also been successful businesses, the Knights Templar and resultant Masons, etc, being profound examples of the occassional success of left hand path commerce. The modern-day Church of Satan is a little more subdued as society has moved in a more acceptable, accepting, direction since the Hellfire Clubs. As science rules in the West, and occultism is public, there is no place for secretive initiatory Knights Templar or gnostic movements; the Church of Satan is a stable and quiet beacon rather than a reactionary explosion of decadence.

It is the first permanent non-European (but still Western) Satanic-ethos group to openly publish its pro-self doctrines, reflecting the general trends of society towards honesty and dissatisfaction with anti-science and anti-truth white light religions.

Popular press and popular opinion are the worst sources of information. This holds especially true with the case of Satanism. Especially given that the exterior of Satanism projects imagery that is almost intentionally confusing to anyone unintiated. From time to time public paranoia arises, especially in the USA, claiming some company, person or event is Satanic. The public are nearly always wrong and nearly always acting out of irrational fear, sheepish ignorance and gullibility. Public outcries are nearly always erroneous when they claim that a particular group, historical or present, are Satanic.

Similar to this is the relatively large Christian genre of writing that deals with everything unChristian. The likes of Dennis Wheatley, Eliphas Levi, etc, churn out countless books all based on the assumption that anything non-Christian is Satanic, and describe many religious practices as such. These books would be misleading if they had any plausibility, but thankfully all readers except their already-deluded Christian extremist audience cannot take them seriously. Nevertheless occasionally they contribute to public paranoia about Satanism.

In the press and sociology, the phenomenon of public paranoia about criminal activities of assumed Satanic groups is called Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) Panic. SRA claims are equal to UFO, abduction, faeries and monsters in both the character profile of the manics involved and the lack of all evidence (despite extensive searching!) to actually uncover such groups.

More:

Historical Satanism dpjs.co.uk/historical.html

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Modern Satanism | Prometheism.net - Part 2

Witchcraft is the new feminism – NME.com (blog)

Leonie Cooper on witches, beehives and Lana Del Rey.

Its hard out here for a witch. Well, at least it was 400-odd years ago when women were regularly hanged, drowned and burned to death after being accused of sorcery, Satanism and doing suspicious things with herbs. This fear of witchcraft was, in essence, a fear of womens power, sexuality and general awesomeness.

Thankfully, women are no longer persecuted when crops fail and odd things happen in the village theyre persecuted for their weight, their clothes and their work instead but witches seem to be firmly back in the public eye and this time theyre not going to be dragged off to the stake. Theyre going to put on a s**t-tonne of black eyeliner and sort out everything thats rubbish in the world.

This isnt simply about the fact that loads of new bands, from moody electronica trio MUNA to Manchester indie-poppers Pale Waves, look like theyve stepped out of 1996 teen witch movie The Craft. A-listers are also getting in on the sweet occult action and taking their witchy business straight to the top. Last week Lana Del Rey attempted to organise her coven of fans into using magic to get rid of Donald Trump. The high priestess of noir-pop tweeted the days of the next waning crescent moons and instructions to find a spell online, to be performed at midnight on the proposed dates. All you need to join in is an unflattering photo of Trump not difficult, to be fair a tower tarot card, an orange candle, a bowl of water and some salt. See you down the homeware aisle of Tesco, then.

But the best bit of modern magic comes in the shape of a new film called The Love Witch, which goes on general release in the UK on March 10. Directed by LA-based auteur Anna Biller, it uses the Technicolor gloss and retro style of cult and camp thriller movies like Vertigo, Rosemarys Baby, The Wicker Man and Suspiria to take a sledgehammer to the patriarchy. The film tells the story of Elaine, a woman who uses sex magic to make men fall in love with her while wearing some fabulous vintage-styled frocks also made by the multitalented Biller.

Yet beyond the beehives, it cleverly deconstructs the idea of women as marriage-obsessed hysterics with style, sass and an excellent tampon joke. Witchcraft in 2017 is about women coming together, not about being torn apart. Whether its Lana Del Rey getting her goth on or thousands coming together for the Womens March in January, the witches are rising excuse me while I go and fetch my broomstick.

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Witchcraft is the new feminism - NME.com (blog)

How Does the New Turkish Curriculum Look Like? Conservative Changes Dominate – PoliticalCritique.org

There has been another upgrade to the national education curriculum in Turkey. Among these changes, philosophy lessons have been reduced and the single-party rule applied to classes in the 1940s have been cut. The latest coup attempt has been added under philosophy and the social sciences.

On 16 January, the Ministry of National Education announced the new education curricula for secondary and high schools in Turkey.

The national curriculum has been a recurring topic of debate in Turkey for decades. It has always been controversial, given that all governments and political bodies have wanted to reinvent the educational system in the ideological image of the ruling party.

The number of chapters in the philosophy course books has been generally reduced, while keeping political philosophy and philosophy of science. According to the new curriculum, class hours will remain the same at 72 hours per term, while the expected learning outcome for philosophy has been slashed from 58 to 20 points on Turkeys assessment scale.

This major reduction of philosophys significance in the curriculum echoes the debate from a few years ago on the possibility of studying philosophy in the modern Turkish language. Recep Tayyip Erdoan, the prime minister at the time, said that this was inadequate, insisting that one needs to use the Ottoman Turkish, which borrows the alphabet and most of its vocabulary from Arabic and Persian, or English in order to study philosophy.

If we were to teach philosophy for 20 years, it would be a different country.

Istanbul-born philosopher and President of Philosophical Society of Turkey, Ioanna Kuuradi, said We make philosophy but he does not recognise us as philosophers. In an interview with Szc in March 2016, Kuuradi claimed that ignorance is at root of Turkeys current social and moral crises and that they could be overcome through proper philosophical education: If we were to teach philosophy for 20 years, it would be a different country.

A pro-government conservative education union, Eitim Bir-Sen, recently proposed the removal of Ataturkism, the official ideology describing the founding principles of modern Turkey, from the social sciences curriculum, and starting religious education at first grade.

While Eitim Bir-Sens proposal on compulsory religion classes for first grade students was not introduced, Ataturkism has indeed been scrapped, and the principle of encouraging the observance of religious holidays adopted. In line with the spirit of Eitim Bir-Sens proposal, Darwin & Evolution Theory was also purged from the school syllabus. It had been a controversial matter in Turkey for some time, especially since the Turkish Science Institutes prohibition of publications about evolution.

The new approach will now rely on values education, e.g. the notions of national unity & solidarity as well as national, moral and universal values. The new curriculum refers to values education as having a cultural impact, claiming that it is significant in turning these values into new norms and daily behaviours for society in the future. As part of the new elective course for secondary schools Basic Religious Teachings, jihad will be taught as part of religious values. Positivism and secularism will be categorised under the Problems of Faith chapter, dedicated to the promotion of individualism and the separation of state and religion. Also under the problems of faith heading, students will be taught about deism, agnosticism, atheism, nihilism, satanism, reincarnation and false prophets.

The coup attempt on 15 July 2016, which had a major impact on social and educational life in Turkey, has also been brought into the curriculum. Students will start learning about the coup attempt starting at sixth grade as a part of social science and philosophy classes. However, it is not certain whether previous coups will be referred to in the same classes.

At high school level, the students will now be asked to write essays on Social Resistance against the Anti-Democratic 15 July Coup Attempt within the framework of national-will, rule of law, and democratic understanding. National Will is a common reference in AKP (the ruling Justice and Development Party) campaigns, referring to the strong support behind the party in elections.

Contemporary Turkish and World History classes that focus on World War II will no longer refer to the anti-war efforts of Ismet Inonu, the president of the republic at the time and leader of the single-party CHP (Republican Peoples Party) regime. Nor will it refer to his contributions to Turkeys political and economic activities in the 1940s. Inonu was a general during Turkeys War of Independence, a friend of the founder of republic and was declared National Chief during World War II, while keeping Turkey out of the war at all costs. As Inonus efforts at neutrality are being erased from history books, the transition to a multi-party system and the history of the Democrat Party is put under the spotlight.

The class on contemporary history, which has a chapter on the Cold War Period, will now include topics on Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Developments in Turkey during the Time of the Democrat Party. This in itself was a controversial period, with the start of a multi-party system that brought about the grasp of power by the Adnan Menderes government, starting in 1946. The new topic will focus on the election systems that were initiated in this period, which was heavily criticised for authoritarian tendencies and gerrymandering, due to the Democrat Partys post-election downgrading of urban entities that did not predominantly vote for the ruling party.

The revised educational curriculum will honour Turkish citizens that have had international success. High school chemistry books will now have a topic on Prof. Dr. Aziz Sancar in the chapter on Relations between Inter Chemical Species with his Nobel Prize-winning study on DNA-repair. Contemporary History will include Galatasarays winning of the UEFA Cup in 2000, as well as the national football teams finishing third in the World Cup.

Rewriting the history books from a centre-right political perspective only replaces the existing problems with new ones.

Students will be informed about scientific and technological developments in Turkey, about its satellite programme and communications technologies.

While the new curriculum is being championed by some media outlets in Turkey as the new system that will generate geniuses and inventors, many critical eyes see the decreasing presence of philosophy in the curriculum and hostile approach to secularism and positivism as a problem.

Even though the AKPs efforts to erase ideological traces from national education may appear to modernise the education system through a more results-oriented approach, rewriting the history books from a centre-right political perspective only replaces the existing problems with new ones.

**

This piece was originally published on Katoikos.eu

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How Does the New Turkish Curriculum Look Like? Conservative Changes Dominate - PoliticalCritique.org

Delusions of Antiquity – Splice Today

I dont preach peace and love.

Voltaire famously quipped, Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Religion is the ultimate absurdity, and with the noteworthy exception of the Bolshevik genocide against Russian Orthodox Christians, the most horrific atrocities in history have been committed in the name of God. Belief in an anthropomorphic creator God who takes a keen interest in the minutiae of everyday human affairs is completely irrational and clear evidence of derangement. Unable to comprehend adult human beings praying to an invisible friend for favors and protection, I took a keen interest in religion at an early age.

Raised as an American Baptist, I began my inquiry with Christianity. I found out pretty quickly that modern Christianity was at best a very distorted series of mistranslations and selective editing of the ravings of a mad Palestinian mystic attempting to overthrow the authority of the Sanhedrin Rabbinate, and at worst a pastiche of the various regional dying god myths associated with the development of agricultural society crafted to reinforce existing social hierarchies and injustice by promising that well-behaved slaves will receive pie in the sky when they die.

I next examined the staggering complexity of Hinduism. The sacred texts read more like an alternative history than a religion. The Upanishads consist of sound straightforward philosophical ideas, but the Mahabarata reads like a science fiction novel describing a war between two highly advanced civilizations. My studies of Hinduism resulted in a lifelong fascination with the missing millennia of human history and the notion that theres a lot more to our past than the simple narrative that civilization begins at Sumer. Standing on the summit of Mount Meru, one can almost glimpse the shores of Atlantis.

Of all the sacred texts I examined, the Dhammapada made the most sense. The tenets of Buddhism are less concerned with an external deity or afterlife than the basics of living a satisfactory and rewarding life. Its a very practical set of rules that boil down to Dont be an idiot. The best modern exponent of Buddhism is Alan Watts. Lately Ive listened to his lectures on YouTube, and recommend them as an antidote to the hysteria currently raging across the globe.

By comparison, the three great Semitic traditions are insanely paranoid and relentlessly genocidal. Judaism is predicated on the idea that only the Jews are fully created in the image of God, and that gentiles are mere beasts of burden, created by God to serve the Chosen, like donkeys or cattle. The Talmud is unquestionably the most viciously racist religious text Ive read yet. You wont find it at Barnes & Noble, with very good reason. Gentiles are forbidden to study it, under penalty of death by stoning. It goes a long way toward understanding why the Jews have been expelled from 109 countries. It codifies and enshrines hypocrisy and deception as social strategies.

The Koran is merely a revised version of the Bible, with an insanely expanded set of arbitrary rules and regulations and the same twisted concept of eternal punishment for disobedience to the impostor demon at the center of it, dumbed down for the kind of semi-literate peasant that needs just one book in his life. Its aimed at men who have trouble getting laid. It takes the inherent misogyny of Judaism and Pauline Christianity several steps further, relegating women to the status of cattle.

Ive studied Satanism and its variants at great length, and can say with some authority that theres nothing of value there. Its Ayn Rand in Goth drag, an empty sales pitch for selfishness and a never-ending cottage industry of occult trinkets and books.

I used to dismiss the Wicca as a clearly synthetic invention of no greater antiquity than the incandescent light bulb, but Ive come to admire them enormously. For all of their silly delusions of antiquity, the fact remains that they worship nature, and can prove that nature exists. That works.

I can tolerate Jews, Christians, and Moslems. If they cant tolerate me, thats fine. As the old saying goes, God made men, but Colt made them equal. The Semitic religions prance around preaching peace, love and killing people. I dont preach peace and love.

Originally posted here:

Delusions of Antiquity - Splice Today

Zeal & Ardor Devil is Fine: Album Stream – The Independent

There is a gross falsehood proliferated by those whose horizons stretch no further than the end of their nose. The fallacy is that all modern music is simply repetitions of ideas and concepts from yesteryear, that there isnt a single riff, lick, chord or note that has never been played before. Apart from the fact that this is an incredibly fatuous, narrow-minded view that completely ignores essential components of music such as craft, composition, personality, chemistry, technology, instrumentation, dynamics and tone (to name but a few), it also leads perfectly rationale people to spout nonsense;how many times have we heard the ridiculous notionthatThe Beatles invented every idea found in modern music and nobody's come up with a solitary original idea since?

Unless theres an unreleased album of Black Metal mixed with African-American Slave music by Messrs McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Starr hiding in a dusty Abbey Road vault, we can probably nip that particular falsity in the bud. Instead, this particular combination of disparate genres can be credited to songwriter Manuel Gagneux, the brainchild behind Zeal & Ardor. If you really do think youve heard every trick that modern music has to offer, you might want to listen to the stream of their debut album Devil is Fine above; its unlikely you will have heard anything quite like it before.

The genesis for Zeal & Ardor came when Gagneuxbecame frustrated workingon a different musical project, his incredibly diverse, difficult to define, alternative chamber pop projectBirdmask.Whenever Gagneux would run in to a creative stumbling block, he would go on to 4Chan, an internet bulletin board where anyone can post anonymously on a wide variety of topics, and ask people for two musical genres. He would then combine them and write a song within half an hour, purely as a means to get his creative juices flowing once again. It wasn'teven my idea to mix these two genres Gagneux says humbly I totally stole it! The first iteration of this combination was pretty horrible to be honest, but the idea stuck with me and I pursued it

Gagneuxs enthusiasm for black metal started, as it does for most fans of the genre, as a teenager. I was trying to listen to listen to the most extreme music I could find, you know how teens are. My friend introduced me to Burzum and Darkthrone and told me that they were the most evil people on the planet of course, I was intrigued! I became so enthralled by black metal because it's all enveloping sound; its very aggressive but even tender in some moments.

Chain gang music, whilst not something Gagneux listens to on a regular basis, was introduced to him as a child by his Swiss father and American mother. My parents listened to these old Lomax recordings for a while when I was growing up. They were something I'd totally forgotten about but recently re-discovered and I dove into them for this project.'

Mixing genres is all well and good but if the individual strands of the hybrid are no good, youll be falling at the first hurdle. Gagneux has efficaciously captured the essence and sentiment of African slave music; the authenticity is so convincing, accusations were made against him, saying hed stolen old Lomax recordings and sampled them without permission (he didnt, he just sang loudly into a shit microphone with too much signal to get that authentic, lo-fi recording sound of the 30s and 40s).

As Gagneux began putting the music together, images began to form in his head of African chain gangs rebelling against their Christian captors by invoking Satanism. He took this idea and ran with it as a thematic thread to pin on to the record. Devil is Fines artwork shows signs of the extensive research Gagneux put into the project; the photograph is of a real enslaved African-American, Robert Smalls, who managed to free himself and 17 other slaves during the American Civil War by commandeering a Confederate transport ship stacked with Howitzer guns and several hundred rounds of ammunition. It was a daring escape for such a young man; Smalls was just 22 when he put his perilous plan into action and he lived to the age of 75, very respectable for someone born in the 19th century. Once he was free, Smalls lived a very full life, serving as a civilian pilot and armed transport captain for the military and later got into politics as a member of the US House of Representatives.

Superimposed over the image of Smalls is The Sigil of Lucifer, sometimes referred to as the Seal of Satan. One of the lesser known symbols in modern Satanism, its believed to hold connections to a greater, supernatural power, in this case, Satan himself. I think superimposing Lucifers sigil over the image of Robert Smalls neatly sums up the intention and theme of this record to me says Gagneux. Without trying to sound too corny, its meant to represent these African slaves summoning something sinister and liberating themselves through Satan. Imagine if slaves in America had rejected the Christianity that was foisted upon them and embraced Satanism instead. Rather than being forced to accept the will of God, they choose defiance and rebellion; thats the world in which this album is rooted. Im an atheist, I dont really believe in God, but parts of modern Satanism do gel with me whilst other parts dont. Its fiction at the end of the day but it's well researched; I've put an embarrassing amount of time into reading occult books to get this stuff right!

The album artwork superimposes the Sigil of Lucifer over an image of freed slave Robert Smalls

Whilst the black metal and slave music hybridisation has got the most media attention thus far, theres actually a large pool of various genre influences that Gagneux is drawing from on Devil is Fine; elements of electronica, cradle songs, spiritual chanting, delta-blues licks and funk are all touched on throughout Devil is Fines 25minutes. Childrens Summon sounds like Dragonforce put through a Watain filter. Whats a Killer Like You Gonna Do Here? evokes a darker, more sinister Tom Waits. Given the somewhat purist attitude of a certain breed of metal fan, Zeal & Ardor have and will continue to provoke strong reactions, both positive and negative.

It's not a primary intention of mine to aggravate those people but it is funny to see some of the reactions says Gagneux. Black metal used to be the most extreme music known to man, but now, it's almost classical. It seems natural to want to evolve it and figure out alternatives and evolutions. There's been quite a few polarising opinions but actually I really appreciate them because some of them mention things where there might be room for improvement. Zeal & Ardor to me is not done, I'm still trying to figure out how it could be better and some of these negative comments are quite helpful because they point out what I could do better.

Zeal & Ardor is just the latest in a long line of developments in the world of music, an artform that continues to develop and metamorphose, despite the protestations of those stuck in the past or who fear change. Music is a force that is constantly changing and evolving; the notion that the well will run dry and that everythings already been done is an idea that says more about the person expressing it than it does about the state of modern music. Some may dismiss Zeal & Ardor as a gimmick but Gagneux is determined to not let that happen. As a live unit, the project will be expanded from just Gagneux to six musicians, including two backing singers. It's a fine line to walk because I don't ever want the music to be secondary to the show, but I have a few ideas. The record is only 25 minutes long but if we do a 25 minute set, people will kill us and will have every right to do so! So theres a few new ideas and songs for people that come to see us live. I'm in the process of distilling the project, making it more extreme in both directions and gelling the two elements together a little more precisely.

Devil is Fine is released through MVKA on 24th February on vinyl, CD and digitally. Zeal & Ardor commence a European tour in March including a date at The Underworld in Camden, London on 20th April

Excerpt from:

Zeal & Ardor Devil is Fine: Album Stream - The Independent

Coming to America: The History of Mail-Order Brides – Utne Reader Online

Mail-order brides have deep roots in American history, dating back to the colonial period.

By Marcia A. Zug February 2017

Modern mail-order brides are often stereotyped as young foreign women desperate to escape their homeland, but there was a time when mail-order brides were seen as strong pioneer women. There have been mail-order brides in America as long as there have been Europeans in America but the course of time has changed the perceptions of these women. In Buying a Bride: An Engaging History of Mail-Order Matches (NYU Press, 2016) author Marcia A. Zug traces the history of mail-order brides in America from colonial times to the present.

To find more books that pique our interest, visit the Utne Reader Bookshelf.

"As Catherine looks out across the water, she wonders what her life will be like when she reaches Virginia. She knows that conditions will be hard, but life in England was also hard. At least in the colony, there is the possibility of advancement. The Virginia Company has assured her and the other women that they will have their choice of marriage partners. They have promised that the men are wealthy, or at least will be with the womens help, and that the women will have a share of this wealth. Catherine knows it is a risk, but she has been assured she can always return home if she changes her mind. Regardless, Catherine expects to stay. There is little for her back in England. She will marry a colonist and help found a nation."

The above thoughts illustrate what I believe one of the first mail-order brides might have felt as she traveled thousands of miles from England to settle in the Virginia colony. There is no actual record of the hopes and fears of these young women. Nevertheless, we do know that their arrival in 1619 was eagerly anticipated and desired.

Marriage was vital to the success of the colony. Wives were needed to create stable family units, produce and care for children, and cement Americas racial and cultural hierarchy. However, the difficulty was that few European women were interested in immigrating. In fact, female immigration to the colonies was so rare that when a group of forty women from La Fleche, France, began boarding a ship for Canada in 1659, the townspeople tried to prevent their departure because they were convinced the women were being kidnapped. Mail-order marriage helped resolve this problem. These women immigrated when others would not, and consequently, their presence was considered critically important.

The risks the early settlers faced were substantial. Most potential colonists had heard frightening accounts of disease and famine, and many of these stories seemed to indicate that women were particularly vulnerable. One horrific tale from Virginia involved a colonist who slue his wife as she slept in his bosome, cut her in pieces, powedered her & fedd upon her till he had clean devoured all her parts saveinge her heade. In the northern colonies, settlers such as the Puritans and the Quakers accepted these risks as the price of religious freedom, and as a result, these areas had little difficulty attracting large numbers of family groups. In contrast, the southern colonies, which lacked this religious draw, had a much harder time finding families willing to accept the dangers and hardships of colonial life. A handful of women came to the colonies shortly after the first male settlers arrived, but their numbers were small, and even fewer came with their children. Moreover, some families, like that of Sir Thomas Gates, sent their daughters back to England if their wives died. As early as 1609, a broadside (poster) produced by the Virginia Company of London demonstrated that the colonys governing body recognized the need to recruit women. The broadside was directed at family groups and specifically emphasized that both men and women were needed for the better strengthening of the colony. Nevertheless, despite such appeals, few families immigrated to the southern colonies. Instead, the majority of southern colonists were single men, primarily individual speculators and fortune hunters, who came to profit from Americas abundant land and natural resources and then return home. As colonial historian Julia Cherry Spruill has noted, these men were not interested in building permanent homes in Virginia or in cultivating lands to be enjoyed by future generations. They simply planned to make their fortunes and then return to England.

The transient nature of the southern population was problematic, and it quickly became clear that the lack of women was threatening the future of the fledgling colony. In 1614, the Virginia Companys lawyer, Richard Martin, spoke before the House of Lords and highlighted the threat posed by the colonys gender disparity. He informed the members, a significant number of whom had shares in the com- pany,that Virginia desperately needed honest laborers, with wives and children. He then recommended the appointment of a committee to consider ways to increase family immigration. Other members of the Virginia Company shared Martins immigration concerns. However, class politics ultimately prevented consideration of his proposal. Martin was only a lawyer and not a lord, so his requests, which went beyond legal advice, were considered presumptuous. One contemporary described his speech as the most unfitting that was ever spoken in the house. Consequently, not only were Martins appeals ignored, they resulted in punishment. The day after appearing before the House of Lords, Martin was arraigned for contempt. He was brought before Sir Randall Crew, the Speaker of the House, forced to kneel, and given following admonishment:

"The case was this a petition relative to the Virginia Company had been presented, and an order for the Council to appear, that he as their Attorney had represented himself with diverse Lords. That the House at first was disposed to listen to him with all due respect and love; that the retrospect of the Virginia Plantation was acceptable, for it had been viewed with the eyes of love. But afterwards, he has impertinently digressed, for it was not his place to censure and advise. The House had therefore brought him before them, and although many were his acquaintances, yet all now looked upon him with the eyes of judges, and not as private friends."

After Martins censure, the issue of family immigration was dropped, but the lack of women remained a significant problem. Finally, in 1619, the Virginia Companys treasurer, Sir Edwin Sandys, who now controlled the company, decided to address the issue. He warned his fellow shareholders that if immediate action was not taken, the colonys gender imbalance would soon breed a dissolucon, and so an overthrow of the Plantation. Sandys recommended sponsoring the immigration of single women because he believed their presence would make the men more setled [and] lesse moveable and decrease the number of men who, because of the dearth of women, stay [in the colony] but to gett something and then return for England. This time, the recommendation to address the colonys female immigration problem was met with approval. After hearing Sandyss suggestion, Lord Francis Bacon, a founding member of the company, immediately expressed his public support declaring it time to plant with women as well as with men; that the plantation may spread into generations, and not ever pieced from without. Shortly after Sandyss request, the company began recruiting single women to marry the Jamestown colonists.

In the spring of 1620, ninety mail-order brides arrived in Jamestown. Their arrival was considered a success, and the next year Sandys requested funds to transport an additional one hundred women. By this time, the company was in financial difficulties and no longer had the necessary money. However, because Sandys insisted that more women were absolutely essential, the company agreed to raise the money by subscription. Due to these efforts, another fifty brides were sent to Jamestown. Altogether, the Virginia Company sponsored the immigration of 140 mail-order brides. The arrival of these women was intended to reduce the number of male colonists returning to England, but this was not the only reason female immigration was considered necessary. Despite the femaleless wasteland described by Sandys, the colony did not actually lack women. America was filled with indigenous women, and relationships between the male colonists and native women occurred almost immediately.

As early as 1608, after disease and starvation wiped out nearly a third of the original Jamestown colonists, a large number of the male survivors began taking Indian wives. By 1612, the Spanish ambassador to England reported that between 40 to 50 Englishman . . . had married Indian women. He also informed the company that nearly all of these men had abandoned the colony for their wives villages. Only two years earlier, the entire population of Jamestown consisted of sixty colonists. Consequently, the number of desertions described by the ambassador was shocking. Just as concerning was the fact that these desertions seemed unstoppable. Virginia Governor Dale had already decreed that deserters were to be hanged, some burned, some to be broke upon wheels, others to be staked and some to be shot to death. This law had little effect, and colonial men continued to leave the colony.

Desertions contributed to the already declining population, while also undermining the moral justification for the entire colonial endeavor. Virginia settlers had rationalized colonization by highlighting the supposed differences between themselves and the countrys native inhabitants. Captain John Smiths 1607 report on the native population of Virginia epitomized this trend, characterizing the local Indians as cruel, irrational, vengeful, treacherous, and barbaric. He also accused these tribes of Satanism. He described the Virginia Indians as devil worshippers who prayed to idols shaped with such deformity as may well suit with such a god and claimed they practiced child sacrifice. Such accusations seemed to confirm the English colonizers belief in their moral and religious superiority. However, intermarriage threatened these distinctions.

Britains recent colonizing venture in Ireland had demonstrated that settlers were extremely likely to adopt the customs and manners of native inhabitants with whom they intermixed. One typical report from the Irish colony bewailed the number of Englishmen who in small time have grown wild in Ireland, and become in language and qualities Irish. This report also noted the paucity of Irishmen who do in exchange become civilized and English. Virginias colonial leaders worried that marriage to Indian women would lead to similar results. Specifically, they feared that intermarriage would cause European men to abandon their civility and become indistinguishable from the heathen savages. This fear was then further exacerbated by the perceived sexual availability of Indian women. In John Smiths 1612 account of life in the early Virginia colony, he wrote about his visit to one of Powhatans (Pocahontass father) villages and noted that in any of these villages, an Englishman could expect a woman freshly painted red with pocones and oil to be his bed fellow. Smith also detailed his own experience. He claimed to have been greeted by 30 young women [who] came naked out of the woods (only covered behind and before with a few greene leaves), their bodies all painted, some white, some red, some black, some partie colour, but every one different. He then described being invited back to their lodging where they more tormented him than ever, with crowding, and pressing, and hanging upon him, most tediously crying, love you not mee? Similar, although less colorful, accounts were provided by colonist and company secretary William Strachey, who declared that the local women were most voluptious and eager to embrace the acquaintance of any Straunger.

In order to prevent desertions to the native villages and lessen the attractions of native women, colonial leaders described white/Indian relationships as religiously prohibited. In his 1609 sermon, the colonial Reverend William Symonds railed against the dangers of miscegenation. Symonds cited the biblical injunction that Gods people in Canaan keepe to themselves, and not marry nor give in marriage to the heathen, that are uncircumcized, and he warned that the breaking of this rule jeopardized ones chance for eternal salvation and risked all good succese of this voyage. Symondss religious admonishment did little to stem the flow of desertions, and even within the colony, some determined men found ways around this prohibition. The most famous intermarried colonist was John Rolfe. In his letter to Governor Dale seeking permission to marry Pocahontas, Rolfe acknowledged the heavie displeasure which almightie God conceived against the sonnes of Levie and Israel for marrying strange wives. Nevertheless, he argued that this concern was inapplicable to his own relationship, because Pocahontas was converting to Christianity and, thus, their marriage would actually be furthering Gods work and assisting with Rolfes owne salvation. Rolfes arguments were persuasive and earned Dales endorsement of the marriage.

By 1619, it had become clear that neither religious prohibitions nor capital punishment was a sufficient deterrent against intermarriage. The company, therefore, concluded that the best way to reduce desertions and ensure the colony remained racially and ethnically distinct was to provide colonial men with a viable marriage alternative to native women. Understandably, the women recruited to fulfill this important task were chosen with care. They were not prostitutes, criminals, or beggars. In fact, out of the thirty-eight women whose social status is known, eight had links to the gentry. According to the company records, four of the women were the daughters of gentlefolk; two others had uncles and one cousin (once removed) who were knights; and the eighth was described as the daughter of Mr. Gervase Markham, of the Nottinghamshire gentry. In addition, the company insisted that all the women had been received . . . upon good recommendation.

Originally posted here:

Coming to America: The History of Mail-Order Brides - Utne Reader Online

Deconstructing Pagan religions – Daily News & Analysis

Before the birth of Abrahamic religions and other monotheistic cultures, most parts of the world followed a variety of Pagan religions. These were mostly polytheistic religious practices with deities representing forces of nature as that is what man feared most. In what is commonly referred to as classical antiquity, and later in the middle-ages, Paganism, was widespread among Nordic, Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes.

Pagan cultures existed across the world. In fact, most traditional Indian religions that were brought under the umbrella of the common Hindu way of life shared many similarities with Pagan religions from regions as far as Greece and Central Asia. In fact, the Greek and Roman pantheon is identical, just the names are different.

Meanwhile, Indian goddess Saraswati has Greco-Roman counterparts in Athena/Minerva. Pagans also worshiped goddesses associated with rivers and water for their ability to create and sustain life. These include Anahita (Zoroastrian), Ganga (Indian), Tethys (Greek), Chalchiuhtclicue (Aztec) and Dewi Danu (Balinese).

The word Pagan comes from the Latin word Paganus which meant related to the country side or village dweller. It came to mean a person with little or no knowledge or what is popularly called village bumpkin. But the word Pagan wasnt used until the early Christian Church began using it to describe people from distant rural places who were considered backward because they did not practice monotheism.

Pagan was therefore considered a derogatory term until the early 20th century when Wiccans made Paganism cool and acceptable again and re-branded it as neo-Paganism. Neo-Paganism is a group of new religious movements inspired by historical Pagan beliefs of pre-Christian Europe. Polytheism and animism is common among all these movements, however, they do not share any common text and maintain separate identities. Lets take a look at some modern Pagan movements:

It is a worship of the sacred feminine, something that was lost to patriarchal religions. Here the female form, sexuality and maternity are celebrated. The followers of this movement see matriarchy as natural, egalitarian and pacifistic as opposed to destructive and aggressive patriarchal cultures. Goddesses worshipped vary from region to region and include Diana, Hecate, Isis, Ishtar, Saraswati and Kali.

This is also a neo-Pagan movement which aims at reviving the cultural beliefs and religions of Germanic people from the Iron Age and Early Medieval Europe. Heathen communities rely on historical records, archeological evidence as well as folklore for information about lifestyles in pre-Christian Europe. Scandinavian and Icelanding Old Norse mythological texts and old Anglo-Saxon folk tales are popular in this regard. Heathen communities are known as kindreds or hearths, who gather together in specially constructed buildings to conduct their rituals which always involve raising a ceremonial toast of an alcoholic beverage to their deities. Some Heathens have however, unfortunately become rather racist and started associating with white supremacist movements.

Druidry originated in England in the 18th century mainly as a cultural movement aimed at increasing appreciation for nature and how people are connected with it. The movement subsequently became spiritual and developed religious undertones with an increasing emphasis on nature worship and environmental protection. The neo-Druids adhere to no dogma and there is no central authority, it is just a form of nature-centred spirituality. Almost all Druids are animists, but some have elaborate ancestor worship rituals. Their festivals include celebrating the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes and Winter and Summer Solstice. Most rituals are carried out in day light outdoors. Neo-Druidry is popular in Britain and North America.

It is the fastest growing religion in the world. It was developed in England in the early twentieth century by Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente. While Wicca has no central authority, its core values are similar across various traditions (sects and denominations). Wicca is duotheistic, i.e., it has two deities, the Moon Goddess and the Horned God. You have probably seen the five point star or pentacle associated with witchcraft. It is just a harmless image depicting the five elements: Earth, Fire, Air, Water and Spirit. While Wicca talks about magic as a part of its rituals, it is actually defined as channelising ones will to achieve a goal. An important Wiccan rule is that a follower of Wicca can never do any harm to another person. There is also the concept of Threefold Return, according to which if you do good or bad, it will ultimately come back to you with thrice its original intensity. This is a bit like the Indian concept of Karma. Though often used interchangeably with witchcraft, Wicca is distinct from Satanism and Luciferianism, whose followers also call themselves witches and wizards.

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Deconstructing Pagan religions - Daily News & Analysis

Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Large swastika painted on car in Florida Jewish neighborhood

(JTA)A large swastika was spray-painted on the side of a car in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Boca Raton, Florida.

The incident occurred early Sunday morning, according to local report. The white swastika took up the entire drivers-side door of the black Ford Mustang.

The owner of the car is a teenager who is visiting Israel, the Miami Herald reported. It is not know if the teens visit to Israel made him the intended target.

This is a direct hate message, Yona Lunger, an activist in South Floridas Jewish community, told the Miami Herald. We are shocked, devastated.

Many Holocaust survivors live in the neighborhood, residents told local media.

The Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office has launched an investigation into the incident. Residents have asked the local police for increased patrols and some plan to install surveillance cameras, according to reports.

The swastika comes on the heels of several bomb threats on Jewish community centers in South Florida, part of a wave of bomb threats on JCCs across the country.

Poll: Americans nearly split over support for Palestinian state

(JTA)Americans are nearly evenly divided over support for a Palestinian state, according to the latest Gallup poll.

Some 45 percent of Americans back the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 42 percent oppose it, according to the poll taken during the first week of February. Some 13 percent said they have no opinion.

One year ago, support for a Palestinian state was at nearly the same level, 44 percent, but a lower percentage, 37 percent, opposed it. At that time, 19 percent said they had no opinion.

Broken down by political party affiliation, 61 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Independents are in favor of a Palestinian state.

The results are from Gallups annual World Affairs poll conducted Feb. 1-5. A random sample of 1,035 Americans over 18 was polled. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

The poll also asked respondents if their sympathies lie more with the Israelis or the Palestinians.

Some 62 percent of Americans said they sympathized more with the Israelis and 19 percent with the Palestinians in numbers that are similar to the past several years. Another 19 percent responded with no preference, broken down into 5 percent who say they sympathize with both equally, 6 percent who sympathize with neither, and 8 percent who responded that they have no opinion.

In the splits by political party, 82 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Independents said they sympathized with Israel.

Asked about their opinions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, some 49 percent of respondents said they viewed him favorably and 30 percent unfavorablyboth figures the highest recorded in the pollwith 13 percent saying they never heard of him and 8 percent saying they have no opinion.

Broken down by party, 32 percent of Democrats viewed Netanyahu favorably and 41 percent unfavorably, and 73 percent of Republicans viewed Netanyahu favorably and 11 percent unfavorably. In 2015, before Netanyahu spoke against the Iran nuclear deal in Congress, a speech that was boycotted by several Democratic members of Congress, 31 percent of Democrats viewed him favorably and 31 percent unfavorably, and 60 percent of Republicans favorably and 18 percent unfavorably.

McGill student leader doubles down on punch a Zionist today message

MONTREAL (JTA)A McGill University student leader who advised on Twitter to punch a Zionist today is refusing to resign or retract the comment amid rising Jewish anger on campus against him.

Council member Igor Sadikov did not relent at what was described as a tense meeting of the student union legislative council on Thursday.

According to witnesses who attended, Sadikov appeared to double down on his stance, arguing that Jews were not a a legitimate ethnic group, according to Bnai Brith Canada.

I have never felt so targeted, disgusted or disappointed in my life, Jewish McGill student Molly Harris later wrote in a post on Facebook.

Sadikov, who also is active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, has denied he is anti-Semitic, noting that his father is Jewish and his mother is half-Jewish. He said his original tweet, which he later deleted, was meant to criticize a political philosophy, not Jews.

McGill has condemned Sadikov, joining the Jewish groups Bnai Brith, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The universitys undergraduate arts society formally called on Sadikov to resign and Bnai Brith asked police to investigate whether Sadikov had incited hatred with his tweet.

But the mass condemnation seemed to do little to appease pro-Israel students at McGill, who say they feel increasingly isolated and vulnerable on campus.

At the Thursday meeting, according to reports, council members voted by a wide margin against censuring Sadikov, while a leader of McGills BDS group asked why an individual pro-Zionist member of the council was not being impeached.

Critics at the meeting charged that council members stayed silent as Sadikov took his stand and also in reaction to the pro-BDS speaker.

McGills student union also has the power to impeach Sadikov, but has not moved to do so.

The campus newspaper, The McGill Daily, which Sadikov once served as editor, recently enacted a policy to ban pro-Zionist opinion from its pages.

British government proposes guideline to prevent municipal boycotts against Israel

(JTA)The British government has unveiled a proposed guideline that is meant to counteract and prevent the passing of resolutions in favor of boycotting Israel by local municipalities.

The Department for Communities and Local Government published its plan for ending such initiatives on Monday in a leaflet containing proposed additions and revisions to a document titled the Revised Best Value Statutory Guidance, which offers guidelines on various issues pertaining to local government, including procurement policies.

Authorities should not implement or pursue boycotts other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the Government, the proposal reads.

The British government has a longstanding policy of value for money in public procurement, the document further reads. Procurement legislation in the United Kingdom and the European Union requires public authorities to treat suppliers fairly and equally and this guidance has been updated to reflect that and make it clear that boycotts in public procurement are inappropriate outside where formal legal sanctions have been put in place.

Individuals who want to offer their feedback to the government, including arguments in favor and against the revision, must do so before March 28, the document states.

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the national umbrella of the Jewish community of the United Kingdom, said his group warmly welcomes the Governments measures since these boycotts are divisive and undermine good community relations. The new steps will ensure that all suppliers of goods and services receive equal treatment and do not need to fear prejudice.

Resolutions favoring boycotts of Israel were passed recently in several municipalities in Britain, including the Leicester City Council in 2014. Similar measures were discussed but not taken in Nottingham.

The Conservative-led British government has threatened to fine municipalities that vote on boycotting Israel and has announced plans for laws making such initiatives illegal.

Amazon selling books in US, UK online stores that deny the Holocaust

(JTA)Amazon has removed books that deny the Holocaust from online stores in countries where Holocaust denial is illegal, but they remain available in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The British newspaper The Independent reported that the books were removed in some countries, including Italy, France and Germany, after Amazon was contacted about the sale of such books by The Sunday Times of London.

Among the books still available on Amazons U.S. and U.K. online stores are Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood; The Six Million: Fact or Fiction?, and The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews.

Gideon Falter, chairman of the British charity Campaign Against Antisemitism, told The Independent: Every day, Amazon promotes a selection of literature advocating Holocaust denial and Jew hatred. Anybody searching Amazon for books about the Holocaust, including children working on school projects, will inevitably be shown Amazons squalid cesspool of neo-Nazi titles.

One Amazon customer who complained to the company told The Sunday Times he received a message from Amazon saying, If you feel this book constitutes hate speech and malicious lies, then please check out the other hundred thousand books we carry to find something you like. I hope this helps!

Steven Goldstein, executive director of the U.S.-based Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, called for a boycott of Amazon until it stops selling the books everywhere.

When Amazon sells Holocaust denial books and even offers readers an opportunity to borrow Holocaust denial books on Amazon Kindle, Amazon is a repugnant accomplice to Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism of historic proportions, Goldstein wrote in a statement. This makes Amazon a worldwide embarrassment to human decency. We call on everyone to stop shopping at Amazon until all divisions of Amazon in every part of the world stop selling Holocaust denial books and other works immediately.

Russian lawmaker: Ancestors of Jewish politicians boiled us in cauldrons

(JTA)A Russian lawmaker in President Vladimir Putins party said the ancestors of two Jewish opposition politicians had killed Christians.

Christians survived despite the fact that the ancestors of Boris Vishnevsky and Maksim Reznik boiled us in cauldrons and fed us to animals, Vitaly Milonov said Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse.

Jewish groups and leaders condemned Milonovs statement.

For a State Duma deputy, it is unacceptable to make such irresponsible statements, said Rabbi Boruch Gorin, the spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, AFP reported.

The president of the Russian Jewish Congress told AFP that it was clear to any normal person that these lawmakers are of Jewish descent and that he means Jews.

The National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, an American nonprofit advocating for Jews in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, urged the Russian government to condemn the remarks.

Milonovs rhetoric invokes dangerous anti-Semitic hatred that has historically been used to justify widespread violence against Jews in Russia, the group said Monday in a statement. NCSEJ urges Russias local and national government to repudiate Milonovs remarks and make clear that he does not speak for the government of Russia or the Russian people.

In 2014, Milonov made statements suggesting that Jews killed Jesus.

They vilify any saint, it is in their tradition of 2,000 years, beginning with the appeals to crucify the Savior, ending with accusations of anti-Semitism against St. John of Kronstadt, Milonov said during a speech before the citys legislative council.

Milonov was advocating a bill to declare June 14 a municipal holiday in honor of John of Kronstadt, a 19th-century leader of the Orthodox Russian Church. His legacy remains controversial because of his membership in the Black Hundred, an ultranationalist and declaredly anti-Semitic movement that supported pogroms against Jews.

But Milonov said such criticism was based on complete lies, a modern neo-liberal fable with a sulfuric, deep history of Satanism.

Populist party in Germany set to oust member for denigrating Berlin Holocaust memorial

BERLIN (JTA)Germanys rising right-wing populist party voted to begin proceedings to oust a prominent member for calling Berlins Holocaust memorial a monument of shame.

Bjoern Hoecke, leader of the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in the former East German state of Thuringia aroused ire nationwide with remarks in January denigrating the memorial and suggesting that more attention be paid to German victims of World War II.

Frauke Petry, who heads the 3-year-old AfD, said Monday that the expulsion procedure could take quite a while, but that she was convinced most party members would support the move.

Critics within the AfD said Hoeckes remarks threatened to destabilize the party, which hopes to become the third largest in the Bundestag in national elections in September.

The partys decision followed a legal and political evaluation of Hoeckes remarks.

He had told young supporters in Dresden on Jan. 17 that We Germansthat is, our peopleare the only people worldwide that has planted a memorial to shame in the heart of our capital.

Ten days later, the Buchenwald Concentration Camp Memorial barred Hoecke from entering for a memorial ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Hoecke has enjoyed some support from party leaders in his own state, as well as those in the former East German state of Brandenburg. Alexander Gauland, chair of the Brandenburg faction, told German radio rbb that no one should be thrown out after making one mistake. He also said he feared people would leave the party in protest.

In Thuringen, party leaders suggested the decision was politically motivated to force certain people and opinions out of the party

Petrys co-chair, Jrg Meuthen, reportedly also opposed her on the matter, saying he did not believe the expulsion procedure was likely to succeed, even though his speech was really very bad.

AfD President Georg Pazderski told the daily newspaper Tagesspiegel in Berlin that he thought Hoeckes speech had the potential to frighten off voters. Pazderski said Hoecke had endangered the partys goal of representing mainstream conservative Germans.

Following Mondays vote, Hoecke told reporters he was worried for the unity of the party. But he expressed confidence that the arbitration panel would not find him guilty of transgressing the partys legal statutes or principles. If he is found guilty, he can appeal.

The anti-immigrant party has been struggling with its extreme right-wing flank. Last July, it began proceedings to expel politician Wolfgang Gedeon over anti-Semitic writings. He remains a member of the Baden-Wrttemberg state parliament, though was forced to step down from the AfDs bloc.

One year ago, a court in Brandenburg rejected accusations that AfD party member Jan-Ulrich Weiss had published an anti-Semitic caricature.

Elena Roonan AfD candidate for the Bundestag from Nurembergrecently shared a photograph of Adolf Hitler online with the caption, Missing since 1945: Adolf, please call home! Germany needs you! The German nation!

The German media reported that Roon also shared an image of Hitler tearing his hair out in frustration, with the caption Islamists... I forgot about them!

The party chair in Bavaria has launched an investigation.

Originally posted here:

Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA - Heritage Florida Jewish News

Female cultism in Nigerian universities and other dangerous cults – NAIJ.COM

What is cultism confraternity? Have you ever heard about female cultism in Nigeria? What about female cultism in Nigerian universities? You might get shocked after reading the article.

Female cultism in Nigerian universities, does it exist?

Each of us from childhood has heard the word "cult" or "cultism", but even many adults interpret the origin of cultism and the meaning of this word not quite right. In the view of the society the concept of "cultism" is associated with Satanism, Voodoo magic, occult practices. According to the history of cultism in Nigeria, people identify the meaning of cult as a glorification of any individual, for instance - the cult of the Pharaoh in ancient Egypt, the cult of Stalin in the Soviet Union and the cult of Hitler in the Third Reich in the twentieth century.

Female cultism in Nigerian universities, does it exist?

If you consider a cult in religion, then it will be a true statement that the cult is the service of the deity or deities, including religious rituals, traditions and worldview. Another meaning of the word cult in religion is religious worship of any material object, such an object is called a cult. Cult objects found in most religions of the world, including in the three major religions are the icons and relics in Christianity, Buddha in Buddhism, mosques of Mecca and Medina in Islam.

READ ALSO: 9 incidents of political violence in Nigeria in December

Types of Cultism

As in a broad sense, it is considered to be a kind of a worship. However, all cults can be divided into several groups depending on the object of admiration. Therefore, sociologists, historians and psychologists divide the cults that take place in the spiritual and social life of modern society, groups are the following:

Religious cultism

Religious veneration of deities, saints, fathers, prophets, apostles, and also of items which according to belief were given to men by God. Religious cults include not only the spiritual aspect of belief, but also all the rituals, traditions and ceremonies that have to be performed by the believers. By and large, any religion can be called a cult and every religion includes a certain number of more narrowly focused cults for example, cults of gods, cults of sacred animals, ancestor worship.

Personality cultism

Personality cults - these cults are the basis of the autocratic form of government, as their essence lies in the exaltation of the personality of the leader. In almost all states with authoritarian and totalitarian forms of government there is personality cult of the leader. This cult originated in ancient times, when the first kings appeared.

Youth and prosperity cultism

Cults associated with material goods or position in society in their relation to the meaning of the word cult should be interpreted in the widest sense, as cult of money, cult of beauty, cult of youth and so on, it means that a large part of society considers wealth as a priority over the spiritual development and "eternal values".

Female cultism

This type of cultism involves representatives of one gender (female) who gather together in order to achieve their sacrificed aims or for other special purposes. They may gather in the forests or in other remote places, make circles, singing songs and reading out some invocations and spells.

Female cultism in Nigerian universities, does it exist?

Speaking about cultism in Nigeria and, in particular, female cultism in Nigerian universities, it can be said that a great number of people claim to be witnesses of the gatherings of such female groupings and their involvement to its activities.

According to the stories of some Nigerian universities students, such phenomenon is widely spread in campuses of Lagos universities. Let me tell you how all this takes place.

Female cultism: shocking welcoming procedure

If you want to become one of the members of such group, you will need to go through a certain procedure for new-comers, which implies virginity loss (with the presence of other members of the clan), cutting of thumbs, cooking a kind of a soup with the blood from these parts of the body and then drinking such a beverage. After you have become a member of this group, you cant leave it unless you are dead or you come under protection of more stronger clan.

Female cultism in Nigerian universities, does it exist?

READ ALSO: Top 10 dangerous religious cults in the world

Speaking on the terms of membership in this clan, it is worth taking into consideration your main tasks in future you will have to work as a prostitute, offering your body and soul for big sums of money and presents from so-called Aristos. If you are lucky they may even give you a car as a present or something even more valuable.

Female cultism in Nigerian universities, does it exist?

One of the most unpleasant factors is that while the welcoming steps you may easily get HIV, as the majority of girls has already become its carriers. Some girls offer natural sex without condoms for the purpose of infecting other people with such unpleasant diseases.

Other cults in Nigerian universities

1. Ahoi-Seadog ( Ibadan college)

This confraternity is supposed to be pirate one, their main symbols are the skull and crossbones. According to them there shouldnt be a kind of an inequality which implies different clothes of affluent students and those who are much poorer who strive to look more smart so as to be accepted by other students.

2. Buccaneers Association of Nigeria (BAN) or AloraSealords

This is a part of the aforementioned grouping. This group consisted of those who couldnt manage to cope with all the restrictions and conditions of membership in Ahoi-Seadog.

3. Black Axe Confraternity or Aye-Axemen

Such confraternity is aimed at fighting against oppression against Black men. One of their beliefs and exclamations is - The Black man will be freed with an axe.

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Female cultism in Nigerian universities and other dangerous cults - NAIJ.COM

Russian Lawmaker Says Jews Once ‘Boiled Us In Cauldrons’ – Forward

(JTA) A Russian lawmaker in President Vladimir Putins party said the ancestors of two Jewish opposition politicianshad killed Christians.

Christians survived despite the fact that the ancestors of Boris Vishnevsky and Maksim Reznik boiled us in cauldrons and fed us to animals, Vitaly Milonov said Sunday, according to Agence France-Presse.

Jewish groups and leaders condemned Milonovs statement.

For a State Duma deputy, it is unacceptable to make such irresponsible statements, said Rabbi Boruch Gorin, the spokesman fortheFederation of Jewish Communities of Russia,AFP reported.

The president of the Russian Jewish Congress told AFP thatit wasclear to any normal person that these lawmakers are of Jewish descent and that he means Jews.

The National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, an American nonprofit advocating for Jews in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, urged the Russian government to condemn the remarks.

Milonovs rhetoric invokes dangerous anti-Semitic hatred that has historically been used to justify widespread violence against Jews in Russia, the group said Monday in a statement. NCSEJ urges Russias local and national government to repudiate Milonovs remarks and make clear that he does not speak for the government of Russia or the Russian people.

In 2014, Milonov made statements suggesting that Jews killed Jesus.

They vilify any saint, it is in their tradition of 2,000 years, beginning with the appeals to crucify the Savior, ending with accusations of anti-Semitism against St. John of Kronstadt, Milonov said during a speech before the citys legislative council.

Milonov was advocating a bill to declare June 14 a municipal holiday in honor of John of Kronstadt, a 19th-century leader of the Orthodox Russian Church. His legacy remains controversial because of his membership in the Black Hundred, an ultranationalist and declaredly anti-Semitic movement that supported pogroms against Jews.

But Milonov said such criticism was based on complete lies, a modern neo-liberal fable with a sulfuric, deep history of Satanism.

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Russian Lawmaker Says Jews Once 'Boiled Us In Cauldrons' - Forward

Unhinged ‘Professor’ Whose Hissy Fit at NYU Went Viral Turns Out to Be Lobster Porn Artist – PJ Media

Thereare more lifestyles than you can shake a stick at in modern America. Whether you want to live as an animal, or a six-year-old, or a lizard, there's just no end to the choices one can make regarding how you live your life these days in the free world. (This may be our penance for the invention of robot vacuum cleaners. With no physical laborleft to do, human beings turn insane, apparently.) How exactly do you tell your parents you've decided to go into "lobster porn" like social media sensation Rebecca Goyette, whose expletive-filled hissy fit outside NYU went viral(NSFW). I imagine the conversation went something like this via email.

I know you had high hopes that I would take my art degree and perhaps teach children to paint or createbeautiful landscapes to sell to tourists in some tropical location, but none of that is going to happen. I wanted you to know your money was well spent because I have found a niche in the performance art community:Lobster porn.

What is lobster porn? I sew massive lobster claws onto my hands and flop around on the floor pretending to have sex with men wearing giant cloth penises I made with that sewing machine you bought me for Christmas. It's groundbreaking stuff. The Huffington Post even reported on it (seriously) in its art section. I'm a success! Please tell Grandma!

When I'm not doing crustacean kink, I'm writing and starring in satanic porn films about the Salem witch trials (since great great great great great Grandma Rebecca Nurse was horribly murdered by Puritans and generations later I'm still haunted by it because everyone in art school is really impressed by my trauma). The fact that I've turned to satanism and witchcraft should in no way cause anyone concern that our great relative might have actually been a witch. It's just a coincidence.

Anyway, love you to pieces. Sending photos from my last art show where I displayed a painting of a bound Donald Trump getting his penis cut off with shears.Please send money...this penis fabric is really expensive!

Toodles!

Rebecca

In the viral video she can be heard shoutingat the police that they should be beating up "neo-Nazis" (instead of protecting Gavin McInnes [who was speaking at an event] from the fascists in the crowd who pepper-sprayed him in the face).

Repeatedly during the video, Goyette claimed to be a professor. What's funny about that is the minute she said it, the entire Twitterverse collectively nodded and thought, "Of course she is." So imagine our surprise when aninvestigation discovered she was not a professor but is, in fact, a "lobster porn" performance "artist." If you've never heard of lobster porn, I beg you not to Google it like I did. I saw things that can't be unseen and believe me, I wish I hadn't.

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Unhinged 'Professor' Whose Hissy Fit at NYU Went Viral Turns Out to Be Lobster Porn Artist - PJ Media

The Week in Art: Sarah Crowner at the Guggenheim’s Wright Restaurant and Jake and Dinos Chapman in LA – artnet News

Though it may seem that Armory Week and Frieze Week get all the action, the reality is that there is never a dull moment in the New York art world. From the East Side to the West Side, theres always something happening at the citys museums, galleries, and various event spaces. That was the case this week, with the Jake and Dinos Chapmanshow at UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles,timed to the opening of theArt Los Angeles Contemporary fair; the wider Americanart scene also provides plenty of action. Heres a rundown of this weeks highlights.

Celebration for Sarah Crowners NewSite-Specific Installation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums Wright Restaurant The Guggenheim celebrated the unveiling of new work by Sarah Crowner in its Wright Restaurant with a reception on February 2. Its the first change in decor since the upscale eatery, which previously featured site-specific work by Liam Gillick, opened in 2009.

Crowners design marries her hard-edge geometric painting, on a canvas that hugs the curve of the restaurants back wall, with large, hand-glazed terra-cotta tiles in a chevron mosaic pattern, which cover the floor (off-white), the entry wall (bright yellow), and the wall behind the bar (vibrant sea green). The painting is inspired by a tapestrydesigned by Swedish painter Lennart Reodhe for a Stockholm restaurant in 1961 and made by a Swedish womens weaving collective, and the tiles are the handiwork of her friend and regular collaboratorJos No Suro at hisCermica Suroworkshop in Guadalajara, Mexico.

We brought a little bit of Mexico to the Upper East Side, and thats a beautiful thing! Crowner told guests.

Sarah is very rare in that shes a painter that works with space in a very thoughtful and direct way, Guggenheim curator of contemporary art Katherine Brinson told artnet News. The museum acquired a piece, titled Totem, by Crowner for its permanent collection in 2015, so when it came to redesigning the Wright, I just thought she was a natural choice.

Brinson praised Crowners work on the project, saying she thought in so much depth about how the space would function on a very practical level, but also about this unique building that is, as we say, the greatest artifact in our collection.

Jos No Suro, Sarah Crowner, Guggenheim curator of contemporary art Katherine Brinson, and Guggenheim deputy director Ari Wiseman in front of Crowners Backdrop (after Rodhe, 1961) at the Wright Restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum. Courtesy of Sarah Cascone.

Sarah Crowners site-specific installation at the Wright Restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum. Courtesy of David Heald/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Screening of Jean Nouvel: Reflections at Hearst Tower On February 1, guests gathered to watch Matt Tyrnauers documentary shortJean Nouvel: Reflections, about the Pritzker Prize-winning architect and his ongoing project, at Hearst Towers Joseph Urban Theatre. The evening was hosted by 53W53, the Jean Nouvel-designed condominium that will host the Museum of Modern Arts planned expansion, and the New York Landmarks Preservation. Following a cocktail reception and the screening,Tyrnauer spoke withPaul Goldberger about the making of the film and the career of its subject.

Brandon Haw, Paul Goldberger, Matt Tyrnauer, and Corey Reeser at a screening of Jean Nouvel: Reflections. Courtesy of Star Black.

Caitlin Douglas, George Lancaster, Ken Hsu, and Donna Puzio at a screening of Jean Nouvel: Reflections. Courtesy of Star Black.

Michael Chait, Bertram Beissel Von Gymnich, Jerry Karr, Jasmine Mir, Amanda Ortland, Christina Davis, and Richard Davis at a screening of Jean Nouvel: Reflections. Courtesy of Star Black.

Opening reception for Jake and Dinos Chapmans To Live and Think Like Pigs at UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles January 28 marked the opening reception for UK favorites Jake and Dinos Chapmans new show, titled To Live and Think Like Pigs, at the UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles. In their usual anti-aesthetic manner, the brothers aim to startle viewers with compositions that raise questions about religious beliefs, moral standards and political tradition, a topic that feels extremely timely. The show explores darker themes including human decay, Nazi war crimes, Satanism, and conflict. Yet the crowd that turned out for the opening was decidedly not somber, despite the material on view. Spotted in the mix were UTAs Joshua Roth; musician and former husband of Kate Moss, rocker Jamie Hince; musician Courtney Love; and comedians Whitney Cummings and Sebastian Maniscalco.

Lana Gomez, Sebastian Maniscalco, Joshua Roth and Sonya Roth at UTA Artist Space. Photo Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for United Talent Agency.

Courtney Love and Jamie Hince attend UTA Artist Space. Photo Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for United Talent Agency.

Dino Chapman and Jake Chapman. Photo Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for United Talent Agency.

Installation view of To Live and Think Like Pigs, Jake and Dinos Chapmans new show at UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles. Photo Jeff McLane, courtesy the artists.

Art Los Angeles Contemporary Opening at the Barker Hangar The international art world was out in full force in on January 26 for the opening of the Art Contemporary Los Angeles art fair, withPerforma founder RoseLee Goldberg; Ali Subotnick of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Elsa Longhauer of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; curator Douglas Fogle; Sonya Roth of Christies; gallerists Sean Regen,Timothy Blum,and Jeffrey Poe; collectors Anita Zabludowicz and Michael and Susan Hort;Kenny Goss of the Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas; and actresses Eliza Dushkuand Rhea Perlman all in attendance.

In a statement, art advisor Veronica Fernandez called the fair a linchpin to our now exploding contemporary art-scenewhere global gallerists, collectors, artists, curators, critics and art advisors crowd each January to engage, build and buy.

Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal of the Los Angeles Reader with Puppies Puppies, Red Carpet. Courtesy the artist and Queer Thoughts, New York. Photo Gina Clyne Photography.

Tim Fleming and guest at Art Los Angeles Contemporary. Courtesy of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Gina Clyne Photography.

Art Los Angeles Contemporary. Courtesy of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Gina Clyne Photography.

Huang Rui, Ping Pong 2017. Courtesy of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Gina Clyne Photography.

Collective Design Studio Tour With Ceramic Artist Peter Lane In advance ofCollective Design, which returns May 37, 2017, the fair hosted a studio visit withPeter Lane in Bushwick, Brooklyn, on January 31. The ceramic artist, who will show his large-scale wall installations in an immersive environment at the upcoming fair, offered a behind-the-scenes tour of the cavernous space, showcasing his artistic process.

Guests included design world influencers such as Yolande Milan Batteau of Callidus Guild,David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor,Francine Monaco and Carl DAquino of DAquino Monaco, andBrook Klausing of Brook Landscape.

In addition to cocktails and conversation, highlights ofthe evening includeda peek at themassive industrialkilns in which Lane fires his work.

Peter Lane shows guests his Bushwick studio. Courtesy of Collective Design.

Peter Lanes Bushwick studio. Courtesy of Collective Design.

Peter Lanes Bushwick studio. Courtesy of Collective Design.

Additional reporting by Eileen Kinsella.

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The Week in Art: Sarah Crowner at the Guggenheim's Wright Restaurant and Jake and Dinos Chapman in LA - artnet News

Christians think ‘the Rapture’ is coming and the signs are already here – Metro

This is what it will look like (Picture Getty)

A website which monitors signs of the Rapture when Jesus comes back and dead people come out of the ground has an alarming message in the age of Trump: Fasten your seatbelts.

The Rapture Index monitors world news for signs that the end times are coming and in October, it hit its highest point since it launched in 1987. It hasnt dropped much since.

Todd Strandberg monitors events such as Satanism, bizarre weather and plagues to work out the Rapture Index.

Strandberg told Mail Online, It seems like we are heading into the eye of a hurricane and I am fascinated with whats going on with Donald Trump both sides are whirling faster and faster.

You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer.

The higher the number, the faster were moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.

We dont know if its Donald Trump, or the various alarming things Russians have said about nuclear war but a lot of people are convinced doomsday is around the corner

Biblical fundamentalists believe that the world was created only a few thousand years ago and that means that our time is nearly up.

The Reverend Donna Larson claims that the number 6,000 is bad news as the Bible predicts that man will rule the Earth for 6,000 years.

She also claims that 2017 marks 70 years since the UN established Israel and 50 years since the unification of Jerusalem.

Larson says, All these numbers have Biblical significance 50 is the number of unification between Passover and Pentecost and 70 is the number of fulfilment according to the book of Daniel, Chapter 9.

Michael Parker, who runs the blog End of Time Prophecies says, 2017 will be a year of great awakening and of great shaking.

The time is soon coming and appears to have already started when the earth will start its belching forth of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, extreme weather conditions the like of which modern mankind has never seen before.

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Christians think 'the Rapture' is coming and the signs are already here - Metro

Modern Satanism: Anatomy of a Radical Subculture by Chris …

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In 1966, Anton LaVey introduced to the world the Church of Satan, an atheistic religion devoted to the philosophy of individualism and pitilessness often associated with Satan. Modern Satanism offers a comprehensive survey and analysis of the church that LaVey built. Satanism has been an open religion for forty years now and operates successfully in its self-created countercultural niche. Given the provocative nature of its name, contemporary Satanism is only superficially understood as an alternative religion/ideology, and all-too-frequently seen as a medieval superstition and associated with rumors of obscure rituals, perverse hedonism, cult-like behavior, and tales of ritual abuse and murder. These may be misconceptions, but the truth behind the unenviable reputation is no less dramatic. Satanism generally eschews supernatural beliefs and embodies a staunchly individualistic, pitiless, anti-egalitarian creed. If there is anything fundamentally diabolical about modern Satanism, it stems more from the echoes of Nazism in its theories than from its horror-comic trappings.

Modern Satanism covers the history, ideology, personalities, and practices of the decentralized international movement that contemporary Satanism has become. The work addresses the various beliefs and practices espoused by those who follow it: the ideal of Satan as a rebellious emblem; Satanism's occult, literary, and philosophical influences; the history of the Church of Satan and other Satanic organizations; the ideology of Satanism; Satanism's frequent flirtations and strong parallels with neo-Nazism and other forms of extremism; Satanism in the media and popular culture; and the reasons for Satanism's continuing attractiveness to new converts. Though the tone of the work attempts to remain neutral when discussing historical matters, it is by necessity critical of the subculture's extremist rhetoric and recurring associations with the far right and racialist extremism.

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Introduction: Counter the Counterculture

1. The Morning Star

2. Baleful Eyes

3. The Black Pope

4. Man, the Animal

5. Satanic Legions

6. The Left Hand Path

7. In The Company of Killers

8. The Plague of Nazism

9. Natural Born Satanists

10. Apocalypse Cheerleaders

Conclusion: Worst Case Scenario

Notes

Bibliography

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Satanism – RationalWiki

This page contains too many unsourced statements, and needs to be improved.

Satanism could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

And who created Satan? It was God. Satan is the opposite of God, and, as one of His aspects, he contains a holy spark.

Satanism is a loose term which has been used in a number of different ways and covers several distinct concepts, not all of which involve bowing to our Dark Lord.

The idea of devil worship is centuries old, although the usage of the term "Satanism" to describe a specific belief system appears to date from the nineteenth century.[1] Stories of devil-worshippers existed in the middle ages and later but were largely folkloric and did not describe genuine religious practices. However, there have been a few branches of religious belief which involve the worship of Satan.

In Sweden, where the process of Christianization lasted into the second millenium AD,[2] there is evidence that Satan received a degree of popular worship into the early modern era as an ambivalent or even benign spirit of nature, possibly the result of the Judeo-Christian figure blending with traces of local pagan deities. For example, in 1739 a Swedish fisherman named Mickel Kalkstrm remarked that he prayed to the Devil for help in his pursuit, believing that God had little or no power over fish. Testimonies from the trials of alleged sorcerers in seventeenth-century Sweden, meanwhile, equate Satan with various traditional nature spirits. Historian Mikael Hll points out that many of these people were outlaws living in the woods, and speculates that they may have adopted Satan as a sort of patron spirit. He concludes that, while it is unlikely that there was an organised cult of devil-worship in Sweden at the time, there were people who could be termed Satanists.[3]

Like most religions, there are a variety of beliefs, but a few precepts are generally observed by most Satanists. This belief system is often referred to by Satanists and other Western esoterics as the "Left-Hand Path", in contrast to the "Right-Hand Path" of the Abrahamic religions and the moral systems derived from them, both religious and secular. The term "Left-Hand Path" was first coined by Helena Blavatsky, who in turn derived the idea from the Hindu concept of vamachara, "left-handed philosophy", which described heterodox spiritual practices that violated the status quo. While Blavatsky and other early occultists viewed the Left-Hand Path as harmful and equated it with black magic, instead identifying with the Right-Hand Path, Satanists readily adopted the Left-Hand Path as a philosophy to live one's life by.[4]

In terms of theology, Satanists today can be divided into two main groups:

Atheistic Satanism does not believe that "Satan" actually exists, as such; they do not worship Satan. They believe every person is their own god and that everyone should worship themselves. To them, "Satan" is a symbol of rebellion rather than a literal figure; they do not worship Satan any more than Buddhists worship Buddha.

Theistic Satanism believes that "Satan" is an actual independently existing being, which serves as a God-analogue. While atheistic Satanists categorically deny that any gods or higher powers exist, theistic Satanists vary in their opinions:

A prominent example of theistic Satanism is the Temple of Set.

Luciferianism is an offshoot of theistic Satanism that follows most of the same precepts, with the main point of contention between the two groups being one of philosophical hair-splitting: Luciferians tend to look down upon Satanism as being too preoccupied with the carnal and with anti-Christian rebellion, whereas they, on the other hand, seek to rise above their status as base animals.[6]

LaVeyan Satanism is an atheistic religion whose chief organization, the Church of Satan,[7] was founded by Anton LaVey in 1960s San Francisco. They all but admit that they chose to call their belief system "Satanism" to annoy Christians. While anti-religious, it also rejects many of the ethical tenets of secular humanism, feeling them to be too close to Christian morality (which they feel represses the individual) and instead following a combination of pseudo-Nietzschean ideas and Ayn Rand worship that it identifies with the Left-Hand Path.[8] For the record, they officially frown on child and animal sacrifices, saying that we should all strive to be like children or animals.

Similar to LaVeyan Satanism, the Satanic Temple is an atheistic organization, and does not believe in a literal Satan, though some of its members are theistic Satanists. Unlike LaVeyans, however, the Satanic Temple rejects the supernatural entirely. This has been brought up in the assessment of whether or not they actually are a religion, and they have responded by stating that this belief is outdated and ignorant, saying that to define religion as supernatural is to give the enemy free license to label as they please.[9] They also differ from LaVeyans in that they reject the "might makes right" philosophy of the Church of Satan, and have a set of tenets founded on secular humanism rather than social Darwinism.[10]

The Satanic Temple is best known in the media for its publicity stunts done in the interest of protecting church-state separation, in a manner similar to Pastafarianism. They're responsible for a number of the antics described above in the "First Amendment and religious freedom" section, such as attempts to have a statue of Baphomet displayed wherever Christian symbols are shown on government property.[11] As a result, they have become quite popular with the atheist community. Their spokesperson, Lucien Greaves (real name Doug Mesner) has appeared on shows like The Friendly Atheist podcast and others.[12]

In early 2016, the Satanic Temple wanted to give an invocation at the city council of Phoenix, Arizona. Some councillors wanted only a rota of council-approved clergy to give invocations. The Freedom From Religion Foundation planned legal action if the First Amendment was breached.[13] Phoenix chose a moment of silence instead, but legal action was threatened from Christians who wanted explicitly Christian prayer in government.[14][15]

The Satanic Temple is launching Satanic after school clubs.

Its important that children be given an opportunity to realize that the evangelical materials now creeping into their schools are representative of but one religious opinion amongst many. While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling them with a fear of Hell and Gods wrath, After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism, the scientific basis for which we know what we know about the world around us. We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of everlasting other-worldly horrors.

Satan clubs will only be in areas and schools where there are already after school Bible study groups. Schools cannot discriminate by banning Satan clubs while allowing Bible study, or they will risk legal action over the First Amendment.[17] A legal expert for Liberty Counsel said Satan Clubs have a First Amendment right to exist, but later threatened to sue. The Satanic Temple, by contrast, maintains that, without studying the curriculum of the Satan Clubs, the Liberty Counsel's actions are premature.[18] According to Hemant Mehta, the Liberty Counsel has misrepresented the Satan clubs.[19] The Satan clubs are looking for donations.[20] Legal action is considered in one Georgian district because the authorities have ignored repeated requests to start a Satan Club.[21] Future developments could be interesting. A district in Washington state decided they have to allow the Satan clubs.[22] The first After School Satan Club has opened in Portland, Oregon in mid November 2016 with Christian protesters outside.[23]

Groups such as the Church of Satan fall into the category of Organized Satanism: publicly known Satanic groups which oppose criminal activity and have well-developed theologies which they often publish electronically or in printed form. Outside of organized Satanism, we find marginal groups which can be divided along more sociological terms.[24]

Dabblers are people, usually teenagers, who turn to Satanism as a form of rebellion against authority. Generally, they lack a well-developed theology, taking most of their beliefs from stuff gleaned off the internet and various books, from pop culture depictions of Satanism, and even from Christian tracts about Satanic evil (all the better to shock their parents, teachers, and pastors with), combined with an unhealthy dose of teen angst. They are often involved in petty crimes such as vandalism (churches are a popular and obvious target), although occasionally, they have been linked to more serious criminal activity, including property theft, assault, and the murder of animals, including pets. Most of them grow out of their Satanism by the time they reach their twenties, although some will develop into another form of Satanism over time.

"Sicko" Satanists are criminals and psychopathic individuals who use Satanism as a justification for murder, rape, kidnapping, child abuse, and similar activities. They are most commonly loners or occasionally small groups, and like dabblers, they generally lack a developed theology. In some cases, the trappings of Satanism are used to try to scare victims (especially children) and prevent them from reporting the crimes, while in other cases, Satanism is used to get media attention instead (the classic "Satan made me do it" explanation). Some of the more notorious examples of "sicko" Satanism include:

A controversial issue is the alleged existence of large scale, conspiratorial groups which practice human sacrifice, child molestation, etc., many of whose members allegedly occupy positions of power, authority or respect in their communities (such as doctors, lawyers, politicians, police officers, schoolteachers, etc.) Some believe in the existence of this form of Satanism; however, there is no evidence for its actual existence, so it seems to most likely be a form of urban legend or mass hysteria.

If you're looking for an article on that kind of Satanism, see Satanic Panic.

Satanists typically eschew mainstream politics, for what should be obvious reasons. With the majority of the American population at least nominally Christian, not only would an avowed Satanist never stand a chance running for any elected office, but a candidate merely receiving endorsements and/or donations from Satanists would have to explain him or herself to voters as though he or she had been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

However, when asked to describe what they believe, many Satanists voice political views that are in line with some form of heterodox libertarianism. This is roughly in keeping with both the theology and culture of Satanism it emerged from the same '60s counterculture that the modern libertarian movement did, it is at best begrudgingly tolerant of Christianity, and it is very supportive of libertarian beliefs in personal freedom, while its heavy emphasis on individualism often leads to dismissal of ideologies that are seen as promoting collective or hierarchical authority. In this, Anton LaVey's influence on modern Satanism is evident he cited both Ayn Rand[29] and the book Might is Right among his inspirations and is known to have (at the very least) drawn heavily from them while writing the Satanic Bible,[30] while the Church of Satan that he founded speaks approvingly of Objectivism as an antecedent to Satanism, albeit not without criticism of some of its finer points.[31] However, the principle of non-aggression and non-coercion, frequently found in libertarian writings, seems to have little counterpart in Satanism.

Libertarian politics are not universal. Other Satanists are more supportive of left-wing views, particularly the tactics of various civil rights or social justice[32] movements, on the grounds that, as an unpopular minority religion, hanging together in mutual support is better than hanging separately with no one to have their back when confronted by people who hate them. The idea of a social safety net and economic protection is also justified from the perspective that, even though Satanists should strive to improve themselves, actually believing in one's own perfection is the height of hubris, and besides, a society with higher mobility and lower economic inequality is one where it is easier for individuals to thrive and improve themselves.[33] Leftism in this sense is interpreted through the lens of Satanic theology, of course; one left-wing Satanist cites Saul Alinsky and other New Left "street fighters" as inspirations, due to their willingness to take drastic action to better themselves and support what they believed in rather than worrying about the ends justifying the means.[34]

And finally, there also exists a small but quite vocal minority of Satanists who believe in neo-fascism. These people are described in more detail further down this page.

As of late, with a number of Supreme Court rulings granting unprecedented power to Christian groups in the name of religious freedom, some Satanic groups have decided to test the limits of these rulings by asserting that, as religious organizations, they too have the right to, say, hold Black Masses in civic centers,[35] pass out literature detailing Satanic rituals at public schools,[36] and put up a monument of Baphomet in front of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.[37][38]

The Satanic Temple, described in more detail further up this page, is one of the leading groups behind many of these moves. While their are often little more than publicity stunts, they (especially the reactions of Christian leaders) do wonders at showcasing the hypocrisy of the religious right when they try to claim that they just support religious freedom as opposed to theocracy.

A sizable number of people on the fringes of both Satanism and the neo-fascist and neo-Nazi movements have taken to blending the two, producing a distinct brand of Satanism that combines the Left-Hand Path with the far right.

"But," you may say, "how can a religion so preoccupied with individualism support a movement that is about subsuming one's identity to the will of the nation or race?" The common ground is wider than you'd think. In some cases, the flirtations with fascism come from historical fascist movements' fixations on the aesthetics of power, which would appeal to those in a religion that, in many of its formulations, spurns egalitarianism and the Golden Rule in favor of calling for the "great" to dominate their enemies. (In short, they see themselves as the future Fhrers and SS legionaries, not the ones starving in concentration camps.) Simple shock value also plays into it; in this sense, Satanism and fascism are viewed as kindred spirits, both "misunderstood" and treated with scorn by the sheeple.[39][40]

Going in the other direction, just as some Satanists have gravitated to fascism out of an admiration of its "badass" imagery and perceived philosophical common ground, so have some neo-Nazis latched onto Satanism out of hostility to Christianity. They see Christianity as a Jewish-derived, Middle Eastern faith that was foisted upon Europe by the elites of the classical and medieval eras and has corrupted its values and "purity", its pacifism and message of "all faithful are equal before God" leaving it spiritually and philosophically defenseless against the non-white hordes. Attempts to racialize the faith, such as Positive Christianity, Christian Identity, and the WASP supremacy of the old Ku Klux Klan, are seen as half-measures at best and Jewish-crafted deceptions at worst that lead nowhere. Therefore, worshiping or otherwise paying tribute to the adversary of the Christian God becomes a necessary component of "stopping white genocide".[41] Parallels can be drawn to the more racist versions of Asatru and some other neo-pagan faiths, as well as the alt-right's lukewarm-at-best relationship with Christianity, albeit with Satan replaced with either the restoration of pre-Christian pantheons, the literal worship of the Aryan race, some form of "natural law", or other inspirations.[40]

The former mindset was visible in the writings of Anton LaVey, who used Nazi symbolism habitually despite being of part-Jewish ancestry himself, and was aware of the irony. In his essay "A Plan", published as part of the posthumous compendium Satan Speaks!, he noted that, for the longest time, the Jewish people were the largest group of religious "rebels" within the Christian world, and were frequently smeared as being in league with Satan by the authorities of the time; as such, he drew intellectual and philosophical connections between Judaism and his philosophy. He envisioned Satanism as a way for modern, non-practicing young Jews (especially those from mixed Jewish/Gentile marriages), who don't fit in with the synagogue, the church, or the white supremacist movement, to claim a new, "tough" identity as an alternative to the humanism of the secular, liberal Jewish mainstream, jokingly suggesting that the Church of Satan was where a "Zionist Odinist Bolshevik Nazi Imperialist Socialist Fascism" could thrive.[42]

LaVey's daughter Zeena later married Nikolas Schreck, an '80s goth-rocker in the underground band Radio Werewolf whose affinity for Nazism went at least somewhat beyond mere stylistic choices in their name, concerts, and album covers, though just how far is hard to say. Regardless, the two of them later abandoned both the Church of Satan and their Nazi flirtations in 1990, eventually converting to the Temple of Set and later Tantric Buddhism, with Zeena denouncing her father as a charlatan and a plagiarist and cutting all ties to him. Underground musician and artist Boyd Rice, another high-profile member who LaVey reportedly asked to succeed him as leader of the Church of Satan (Rice turned down the offer), is also not particularly shy about expressing his sympathy for fascism, though he has denied being a racist or a Nazi and claims he's just a misanthrope.[40]

The Order of Nine Angles (O9A or ONA), an occultist secret society founded in England in the late '60s but claiming descent from older groups (as such organizations are wont to do), is probably the most notorious fascist Satanist group. The O9A enjoyed its greatest boom years in the '70s under one "Anton Long", whose exact identity has never been confirmed but who many researchers believe to be David Myatt, a British neo-Nazi who played a pivotal role in far-right groups like the British Movement, Combat 18, and the National Socialist Movement. (Myatt later converted to Islam in 1998 and espoused a radical Islamist platform, including overt praise for al-Qaeda after 9/11, before renouncing extremism entirely and adopting his own non-racialized brand of mysticism.[43])

For the O9A, fascism is seen as a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself, part of a "sinister dialectic" that is key to the "Aeonic evolution" of human civilization into a higher form. However, the "Magian/Nazarene distortion" (i.e. the Christians and the Jews) is holding back Western civilization from reaching its final stage, and must be overthrown if humanity is to "advance".[44] They also explicitly endorse human sacrifice as a means of "culling the weak", and proclaim other Satanist groups to be posers due to their rejection of such.[40]

Another fascist Satanist group of note (mainly due to its outsize presence on the internet) is the Joy of Satan (JoS). The JoS was founded by one "Maxine Dietrich" real name Andrea Herrington, the wife of Clifford Herrington, the former head of the National Socialist Movement (the American group; no relation to the aforementioned British group) who was subsequently expelled from the organization after his wife's Satanism came to light.

The JoS promotes a form of inverted Christianity that proclaims Satan to be humanity's "True Father and Creator God", and the Abrahamic God, Jesus, and the prophets to be illusory falsehoods cobbled together from other myths and legends, created by the New World Order in order to destroy the "spiritual heritage" (i.e. devil-worship) of the masses and cut them off from the occult power they get through Satan. Since Judaism was the first of the Abrahamic religions, they naturally identify the Jews as the leaders of this conspiracy, proclaiming that they created Christianity in order to enslave the Gentiles of the Roman Empire by getting them to direct their spiritual energy towards a "dead Jew on a stick" and follow a bastardized version of the Jewish religion. A virtually identical conspiracy theory is thrown at Islam, claiming that the Prophet Muhammad never existed, that the creation of Islam was a Jewish ploy to enslave the Arabs just as they had done the Europeans with Christianity, and that Iblis (the Arabic term for Satan) was their true god. They cover the nastiest neo-Nazi rhetoric with a thin veneer so as not to scare off curious new followers; on the surface, their main website contains mostly bog-standard rituals, anti-Christian screeds, and other material that you'd expect to find on a Satanist website, with only vague mention of the "New World Order" as the guiding force behind Christianity, but once you check the "Links" section, you'll find sites that openly bash the Jews and extol the Nazis as a glorious attempt to restore the "true Satanic religion" of the Gentiles.[45]

They're also fond of trying to find negative mention of their group online and deleting any evidence if it's on a wiki. So much for their supposed support of free speech, eh?

As if to demonstrate why most sane Satanists don't touch politics with a ten-foot pole, there is the case of Augustus Sol Invictus, an attorney and Libertarian Party candidate for the 2016 US Senate race in where else? Florida.[46] His birth name is unknown Austin Gillespie; he changed it in 2013 to a Latin phrase meaning "majestic unconquered sun" (also "majestic sun god") after renouncing his past law firm, his college degrees, and the Catholic Church. While he's currently a practitioner of Thelema, he had previously been involved in a Satanic group, but had been expelled for his politics. Said politics? While he denies being a white supremacist, pointing to his four Hispanic children, he does admit to being a fascist and receiving support from white supremacists, and he calls for a second Civil War and uses fascist symbolism on his website. Proving that even libertarians have their limits, the only civil war he started was within the Libertarian Party of Florida itself, partly because of the open fascism and the fact that he recruited neo-Nazis into the party in order to support his candidacy, but also because of the fact that he boasted about ritualistically sacrificing a goat (though he denies having "sadistically dismembered" it).[47]

With the entire state Libertarian Party outside his own fanbase standing against him, he wound up losing the party's Senate primary by 48 points[48] to one Paul Stanton, a computer programmer who barely even ran a proper campaign and entered the race at the last minute in May simply to stop him, winning the party's support solely on the basis of being "not Augustus Sol Invictus". His reaction was to rant on Facebook about how he'd been suppressed by the party's leadership, quoting William Ernest Henley and Francis Parker Yockey and asserting that the only reason people didn't like him was because of a smear campaign.[49] He's currently in the process of trying to recast himself as an alt-right revolutionary, calling on "all right-wing intellectuals, martial artists, weapons experts, militia groups, survivalists & preppers, filmographers, writers, and artists" to join him for something called the "Invictus War Room".[50]

The press, for its part, treated his candidacy as the latest in a long line of wacky "Florida Man" news stories.[51]

Many musicians and other artists have used the trappings of Satanism for artistic or "rebel cred" purposes. In some cases, the artist is an actual adherent of organized Satanism and sees his or her art as a vehicle for spreading Satanic ideas. In most cases, however, Satanism is not adopted as a belief system, but rather chosen to be shocking or outrageous, or due to an artistic preference for "dark" imagery.

One of the best-known examples of Satanic imagery being employed in pop culture comes from the heavy metal scene. Pretty much every pioneering metal band in the 1970s and '80s traded heavily in shout-outs at the devil, while the "devil horns" (sticking one's hand in the sky with the index and pinkie fingers raised) are a famous symbol of all things rock and metal.[52] Of course, most of the time this Satanism was just for show, done in order to win fans and make cool music, with the members of such bands often being Christians or irreligious in their private lives. For instance, Black Sabbath (together with Paul McCartney) wrote "After Forever"[53], a song whose lyrics could easily be mistaken for Christian rock if one didn't know otherwise, while in many of their other songs Satan was portrayed as a clearly evil and menacing figure and not something that should be worshiped or idealized.[54] Alice Cooper (birth name Vincent Furnier, but legally changed to Alice Cooper so he didn't have to pay his former band members), meanwhile, is a lifelong born-again Christian.[55] And the "devil horns"? While their exact origin is a mystery, one of the more popular theories claims that Ronnie James Dio adapted it from a hand gesture that his Italian grandmother taught him a gesture that's meant to ward off the "evil eye".[52]

However, many people often found it difficult to tell the difference. Heavy metal was the subject of a massive moral panic in the 1980s that was linked to the broader Satanic Panic of that era. On one hand, Christian groups led boycotts and censorship attempts, and whipped up a manufactroversy over backward masking, while on the other, the bands attracted misaimed fandoms from teenage dabblers who heard their parents and pastors talking about that eeeeeevil music and saw an easy way to rebel.

By the 1990s, the association of heavy metal with Satanism had produced bands that very much were serious about the religious aspects of it. A particularly serious form of "black metal", a subgenre of heavy metal known for its militantly anti-Christian and misanthropic lyrics, emerged in Scandinavia (especially Norway) during this time and spread throughout Europe, taking the Satanic imagery of '80s thrash/black metal bands like Venom, Celtic Frost, Bathory, and Slayer to the next level. The brand of Satanism practiced by many Scandinavian black metal musicians often took on airs of national mysticism, drawing as much inspiration from old Norse legends and myths as it did from "orthodox" Satanism. Whether Satanist or pagan, black metal musicians and fans viewed Christianity as a foreign import from the sunny Mediterranean that was alien to the frigid Nordic lands and people and had oppressed the native pagan faiths, with their attacks on Christianity often being framed as a holy war of national liberation from Christendom. These attitudes often went well beyond just writing songs about hating Christianity and its followers; the movement was associated with over fifty arson attacks against Norwegian churches between 1992 and 1996, a number of which were carried out by the musicians themselves.[56][57]

Not all of the Scandinavian black metal scene was committed to this particular brand of Satanism. One non-thrash black metal band from Denmark, Mercyful Fate, developed parallel with (and independent of) the four aforementioned bands, and was also genuinely Satanic in that the band's leader, singer, and lyricist, King Diamond, was a declared follower of Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible. Mercyful Fate influenced a great many of the Norwegian bands, even though their Satanic philosophies sharply diverged from that of LaVey and King Diamond.

Because so many have asked[58]: the '90s shock rockers Marilyn Manson, arguably the best-known "modern" Satanic rock band, frequently straddled the line between "serious" and "theatrical" in their image. While Manson himself (real name Brian Warner) had been made an honorary reverend in the Church of Satan by Anton LaVey, the band's music and themes were more generally concerned with anti-Christian shock value than anything specifically Satanic[59], and included a good deal of self-parody right from the start.[60]

Apart from the black metal scene, most serious Satanic musicians tend to be fairly underground and obscure. However, this hasn't stopped some conspiracy theorists from updating the old hysteria about heavy metal to claim that Satanists are in control of the entire entertainment industry, forcing aspiring artists to literally sell their souls to Satan in exchange for fame, inserting Satanic messages into hit songs to lure impressionable young people to the Dark Side, and carrying out rituals in the guise of music videos and concerts.[61] A simple YouTube search for " satanism" will turn up an ocean of videos from people with way too much time on their hands, dissecting every frame and lyric for anything that could be tenuously connected to some Satanic/Freemason/Illuminati symbol. Vigilant Citizen, Mark Dice, and Jesus Is Savior are among the more famous promoters of this idea.

Such theories often show up surrounding the death of Tupac Shakur, claiming that the Illuminati had him assassinated after he found out about Their plans and tried to expose them to the public. (Tupac's murder is still unsolved, but while there are several credible theories as to what actually happened, all of them involve his personal feuds and/or gang rivalries, not secret societies hunting him down down because he got too close to "the truth".) The irony here, of course, is that Tupac not only didn't believe in the Illuminati, but criticized those who did[62], saying that conspiracy theories about the Illuminati were distracting people from real problems of racism, inequality, and injustice. He would roll over in his grave if he saw how the "Satanists control pop and hip-hop" crowd turned him into their Vince Foster.

In 2016, this conspiracy theory spawned a meme when several people noticed that Zeena Schreck, the daughter of Anton LaVey, bore a striking resemblance to the pop star Taylor Swift when she was younger, with some of the usual suspects claiming shenanigans namely, that Swift was a clone of Zeena, raised to spread the word of Satan to millions of unsuspecting youth.[63] Given that Zeena, as noted above, left the Church of Satan on fairly bad terms, it's likely that she would've been the first to spill the beans about any secret plot to take over the world with obnoxious teen pop in order to embarrass her father. That said, it's well-known that Taylor Swift is a snake[citationNOT needed], so this does hold water.

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Satanism - RationalWiki