Here is a letter I sent to Chuck Lindell of the Austin American-Statesman in response to this article:

Dear Mr. Lindell:

I am writing to address some misconceptions and false information presented in your July 5 article, “Satanism Wrongly Used at Trial, Death Row Inmate Argues.”

First, let’s get the most crucial element of this discussion out of the way. According to our current membership roster, Irving Davis is NOT a member of the Church of Satan. Had he been a member at any time, his membership would have been revoked the moment we learned of his heinous crime. The Church of Satan expects its members to be law-abiding, productive members of society – as the multitudes of police officers, firefighters, doctors, soldiers, government workers, teachers, PTA participants, etc. who comprise our numbers clearly demonstrate.

A web search of legitimate, public members of the Church of Satan will reveal an impressive world of successful artists, musicians, authors and other creators working in and out of the mainstream. To put it bluntly, a brutal rapist and murderer such as Irving Davis doesn’t measure up to the Church of Satan’s definitions of decency, conduct and – above all - Satanism.

Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966 as a way to acknowledge and celebrate man’s carnal nature, and we Satanists embrace “Satan” as a symbol of our natural inclinations. Satanists are free to indulge in whatever aesthetic, political and sexual activities please them – as long as those activities are legal. Satanists abide by the concept of “responsibility to the responsible.” If we are to indulge in the freedoms given to us by our citizenship, then we are also to live within the legal structures of our society. Failure to do will lead to expulsion from the Church of Satan.

As a parent, I applaud the prosecutors in this case for doing their jobs and working to eliminate such a menace from our streets. However, the Satanist in me is unconvinced that the prosecutors are after Davis for the right reasons. The Church of Satan is absolutely not “an organization that condones and encourages human sacrifice and other illegal acts” as the prosecution and unnamed “religious experts” in this story suggest. A read through The Satanic Bible – or even a swift trip through Wikipedia – will make it clear that legitimate Satanists abhor the harming of children and animals. The truth about the Church of Satan has been out there since 1966 – for those who genuinely want to know it. Anyone who would commit a crime against a child or animal in the name of “Satan” is nothing more than a heretical Christian and obviously a person who holds nothing in common with the true Satanic philosophy. The prosecution would do well to keep this in mind as they proceed with this case; otherwise, this could be another hysteria-driven debacle akin to the West Memphis Three case of the 1990s. We Satanists are all for punishment that fits the crime, just as long as that crime isn’t one’s application of legitimate Satanism.

In closing, I join my fellow Church of Satan members in mourning young Melissa Medina. Such an unnecessary loss of life is a tragedy to the Satanist, and we grieve for this young woman’s loved ones and friends. We wish for nothing but the swiftest justice for Melissa and peace for those who knew and loved her.

Sincerely,

Joel Gausten
Warlock, Church of Satan
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Dodge the bullets or carry the gun. The choice is yours. - Killing Joke

There is no authority but yourself. - Penny Rimbaud

If everybody likes you, you're just kissing ass. - Jerry Only