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Article ID: 4805
Age Group: Adult
Posted: November 25th. 2002
by Kerr Cuhulain
Raschke Paints Things Black
In Part I of this article on "experts" on Satanism I showed you a person who claimed educational achievements that he did not have. What about individuals claiming to be Satanic "experts" who really do have PhD's? Is this a guarantee that their information will be accurate?
Carl Raschke, PhD, is a devout Christian who was raised in a Presbyterian household. He obtained his BA at Pomona College in 1966, his MA in 1969 and his Ph.D. at Harvard in Theological Studies. His curriculum vitae is 10 pages long so I won't attempt to list all of Raschke's accomplishments here. You can view it for yourself at:
Raschke is currently a Professor of Religious Studies at the Institute for Humanities at the University of Denver. He was used as an "expert witness" on Satanism by the defence in the trial of Theron Pete Roland (we will come back to Roland a little later in this chapter). Raschke is an advisor on "the New Age" to the American Family Foundation. Raschke has been a contributor to the newsletter of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (discussed earlier in this series). Raschke is quoted in the fundamentalist Christian WATCH Network's guide to "occult crime." He has appeared on Geraldo Rivera's television show and on the talk show "Pittsburg's Talking." Raschke is also the author of the following books:
- Moral Action, God and History in the Thought of Immanuel Kant
- Religion and the Human Image
- The Alchemy of the Word: Language and the End of Theology
- Painted Black
- The Engendering God
Raschke's many articles include:
- A Growing Darkness: Satanism In America
- Portrait of a Young Satanist: The Heavy Metal Mindscape of Theron Pete Roland
- Satanism and the Devolution of the 'New Religions'
- The Interruption of Eternity: Modern Gnosticism and the Origins of New Religious Consciousness
- The Asian Invasion of American Religion: Creative Innovation of a New Gnosticism
- Satanism is a Symptom of Society's Moral Rot
One would hope an apparently well educated man with credentials like this would be tolerant of other people's viewpoints. The truth is that Raschke appears to be extremely intolerant towards religions other than Christianity. He makes this clear in the article "Satanism and the Devolution of the 'New Religions'," which appeared in the Spiritual Counterfeits Project's Fall 85 newsletter. In this article Raschke makes the following statements:
- "The main weapon that the pro-cult propagandists have utilized on this score is the appeal to 'religious pluralism.' Pluralism, or tolerance of alternate religious viewpoints, has always been a democratic shibboleth... Pluralism is one matter; using the pluralist cudgel to give sanction to any form of perversity is another".(1)
- "The weird, hellish and black occultist imagery of heavy-metal rock groups, who may be serving as troubadours of underground Satanism among youth, is but one instance of a diabolical fascination that can be reckoned as the practical outcome of the pervasive self-worship of counterfeit new age spirituality. For the figure of Satan in his numerous mythic guises throughout the ages bespeaks the inversion of what is revered by the simple faithful as pure, righteous, and holy".(2)
NOTE: Notice how Raschke denounces anything that is involved with the New Age as "counterfeit" spirituality. Remember that this article is appearing in a newsletter of an organization that exists to denounce anything other than their view of fundamentalist Christianity as a "counterfeit" religion. Defining anything other than their point of view as being wrong is one of the trademarks of a dangerous cult.
Raschke has another characteristic that will become apparent in a moment: He only reveals as much as he wants you to know. Raschke excludes details that would allow you to corroborate his claims, padding his narratives with "examples" which lack names, dates and places. For example in "Satanism and the Devolution of the 'New Religions'" Raschke doesn't name the specific New Age religions that he is attacking, stating:
"Because these stories have not been independently verified, I will not mention the organizations implicated. Regardless of the degree of truth in such accusations, the idea is plausible enough from a purely speculative standpoint."(3)
In other words, even if these stories are totally untrue, he likes the idea, so he will pass them along to you, deleting the names so you can't verify what he is saying.
In 1990 Raschke published his most well known anti-Pagan book is Painted Black: From Drug Killings to Heavy Metal- The Alarming True Story of How Satanism is Terrorizing Our Communities. Raschke wastes no time in twisting facts, beginning immediately in the Preface to his book with the following statement:
"In the summer of 1988, I was asked to serve as an expert witness in two court trials involving satanism... The second case was a libel trial in Victoria, British Columbia. A guest on a radio talk show had claimed that he had once belonged to an occult group that had tried to make a 'sacrifice' of him and his wife in keeping with a 'satanic' tradition. The leader of the occult group sued for defamation. I was asked to explain satanism to the jury, which would determine if indeed the occult group could properly be called 'satanic.' The jury decided that such a label was fitting."(4)
Raschke doesn't name the radio talk show guest or give many details in Painted Black which would allow the reader to identify which libel trial was involved here. I recognized it as it occured in my home province, British Columbia. It was a trial involving Len Olsen, a Pentecostal Preacher then in charge of Christian Teen Challenge in Vancouver. The talk show was 100 Huntley Street with televangelist host David Mainse. Olsen appeared on 100 Huntley Street in 1984 and announced that Satanists attempted to sacrifice him and his wife Sheila in 1972 at a Satanic ritual held by a man named Mark Fedoruk in Victoria, BC. Olsen claimed that this incident caused his conversion to Christianity.
Unfortunately for Olsen, Fedoruk, a self professed Gnostic Bishop who had since changed his name to Lion Serpent Sun, viewed the program and sued Olsen, Mainse and 100 Huntley Street. At the time of the incident alleged by Olsen, Fedoruk was practising his own variation of Wicca, not Satanism. Fedoruk knew that Olsen's claim was fabricated.
100 Huntley Street settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, a fact which Raschke does not inform us of. Mainse and Olsen took the case to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, calling in Raschke from the University of Denver as an expert witness on Satanism and Witchcraft. In the end the jury rejected Olsen's allegations about attempted sacrifices and the judge ordered both Mainse and Olsen to pay Sun $10,000 each.(5) Mainse subsequently appealed the outcome but the appeal was denied.(6) Since Raschke was there, he certainly would be expected to know this, and is obviously selectively reporting the facts in an attempt to further his arguments. This is typical of the "facts" presented in this book, as will be seen presently.
Part one of Painted Black is "The Siege." It opens with a chapter entitled "The Horror" which describes Raschke's version of what happened at Matamoros, Mexico. Fourteen ritually mutilated bodies were recovered at this site, including that of a young American from Brownsville Texas who was kidnapped by the cult members involved. The leader of the cult was one Adolpho Constanzo.
What did the Matamoros cult members believe? Well, from the evidence at the scene and the intelligence gathered it would seem that they based their beliefs on Palo Mayombe, an Afro-Cuban spirit religion. This religion was created when slaves from the Bantu tribe in the Congo brought their tribal beliefs to Cuba, where it was combined with the Catholic beliefs of their owners. Basically this group was shipping 450 kilos (1000 lb) of marijuana per week into the US and believed that their rituals would protect them from prosecution.
The paraphernalia recovered at the scene in Matamoros included four cauldrons (one large and two small) which can be identified from their contents (some of the victim's brains, blood, human and animal bones, turtle shells, chicken and goats heads, gold coloured beads, etc) as ngangas, a form of charm used in Palo Mayombe. Also found was an altar with ritual candles, broken glass, cigars, chilies, and bottles of cane liquor, also consistent with Palo Mayombe rituals.
Where this group differs from typical Palo Mayombe groups is in the source of their human body parts. Where these parts are normally obtained by Mayomberos (followers of Palo Mayombe) from graves or purchased from medical supply houses, the Matamoros cult members kidnapped and killed to obtain them.
The paraphernalia and statements of the accused in no way suggest that they were Satanists. Their rituals and paraphernalia do not resemble any Satanic ritualism that has been reported to date. Nor was this group practising Santeria, another faith formed by syncretism of African tribal beliefs with Catholicism. In the case of Santeria it was Yoruba (Nigerian) tribal beliefs that were involved, thus it differs considerably from Palo Mayombe. Nor is Palo Mayombe related to Voodoo, a religion formed from the syncretism of Ngos, Ibos, Aradas and Dahomean tribal beliefs with Catholicism in Haiti. Experts such as Sgt. Jesse Hernandez (ritualistic crime expert for the Fort Worth Police Department Gang Intelligence Unit), Dr. Raphael Martinez (a Miami based expert on Santeria and other folk religions who is administrative officer at the Dade/Miami Criminal Justice Council), Det. Jaime Escalante (investigator for the Homicide Division of the Houston Police Department), Joseph Murphy (theology professor at Georgetown University), Dr. Charles Wetli (an expert on Latin American spirit religions and deputy chief medical examiner of Dade County, Florida), and Wade Davis (a Boston anthropologist and Voodoo expert), all agreed in their statements to the Press that this cult group was practising a variant of Palo Mayombe and that it was not a Santeria, Voodoo or a Satanic cult. Even Tom Wedge, Christian author of The Satan Hunter, has gone on record as saying that the Matamoros killings were not related to Satanism.
Yet in Painted Black, Raschke makes a big issue out of various different investigators in this case labelling Constanzo's beliefs "Santeria." Raschke quite correctly points out that Constanzo combined beliefs from several different sources to arrive at his own. Raschke arrives at the conclusion that "Such an ad hoc blend of the ancient and the contemporary, of cultural kitsch and common superstition, of private folly and collective mania, make up what is most appropriately called satanism, which is certainly not a religious tradition in the usual sense."(7) This is a common theme in Painted Black: Why bother with specific titles? All "occultism" is Satanic. Curiously, Raschke can't seem to decide if Satanism is a religion or not. Raschke elaborates on this later in the chapter, as follows:
"Cult followers and their apologists, together with a sizable portion of university social scientists who examine the more unusual side of religious behaviour, are wont to draw hard distinctions between 'bad' and 'good' occultism, as if they somehow existed in entirely different universes without common linkages or crossover... Verbal distinctions frequently can be wielded either to tar or to exonerate a particular religious group without any attempt to consider the connection between orthodoxy and deviance... Whether Constanzo actually believed in the Devil is irrelevant-it was the mutilated corpses that made the difference. Such rhetorical nit-picking tends to brush aside the fact that there is a dynamic of involvement in the occult that under the right conditions erases most of technical distinctions between 'black magic' and 'white magic'... Satanism should never be considered a religion per se; it is the carrying of magic and intrigue in its violent hues to the utmost extremes."(8)
This convoluted statement can be reduced to the theme of Raschke's Painted Black: There are no differences between non-Christian beliefs. They're all Satanic. Later statements by Raschke in his book confirm this:
- "...Constanzo was, in fact, a Hispanic 'New Ager', the Latin American equivalent of a California psychic who nonetheless converted his understanding of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo into a particularly successful criminal conspiracy."(9)
NOTE: There is a world of difference between a follower of Palo Mayombe and a "California psychic."
- "...All forms of occultism by their very nature are entrepreneurial and experimental. Orthodox religions with their standard doctrines and approved ceremonies rely on public observance and scrutiny. The plumb line of piety is the commonality of practice. Just as we know when the Pledge of Allegiance has been recited incorrectly because 'everybody' knows it by heart, so we can judge when a religion changes course, even if we do not actually subscribe to its tenets, because there are perceptible external standards for deciding whether it is 'traditional' or not."(10)
NOTE: Raschke suggests here that Pagan religions are not open to public observance and scrutiny, which is ridiculous. If you look at the history of Christianity you see how many different variations and permutations have occurred over the centuries. There are still people experimenting with Christianity. Who sets the "external standards" that Raschke is speaking of here?
- "In the occult, things are quite different. The occult, strictly by definition, is opaque, private, and elusive... for that reason it can be easily changed to suit the needs of the entrepreneur, even though most occultists routinely insist that they are embroiled in a form of devotion that is unchanging and antique in the extreme. The history of the occult is the chronicle of thousands of strange, constantly shifting, and half-intelligible 'systems' of very personal belief. When belief is encircled with barbed wire, horrid things can easily take place inside the perimeter".(11)
NOTE: One could just as easily say that the history of Christianity "is the chronicle of thousands of strange, constantly shifting, and half-intelligible 'systems' of very personal belief." Note how Raschke is suggesting again that the Pagan community is hiding its true nature from the public.
Statements such as these clearly demonstrate Raschke's ignorance of many aspects of the occult. For example, the rituals of Occidental Ceremonial Magick are perfect examples of dogma: Rituals must be performed to the letter and no detail may be omitted or changed. Another example may be found in the drum rituals of Santeria, known as Tambors, Bembes or Guemileres. The Tambor commences with the Oru, which is a series of Toques (rhythyms) played on the Bataa (drums) to honour the Orishas (deities). Each Toque is dedicated to a particular Orisha and the order of the Toques played is never changed. I could supply other examples but I think that you can see the point. This is in direct contradiction to Raschke's assertion that anything occult is by definition changeable, constantly shifting, half-intelligible and uniquely personal. Raschke's final sentence about "horrid things" easily taking place inside beliefs "encircled with barbed wire", is quite ironic, given his description of "orthodox religion" at the beginning of the same paragraph.
(Continued... Click HERE for page II)
| ABOUT... |
Location: Surrey, British Columbia
Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).
Email Kerr: firstname.lastname@example.org
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