Religion

The Strangest Moments from the Satanic Panic Caught on Tape

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America’s witch hunt didn’t end in the 17th century. The “Satanic Panic” — a widespread moral panic that lasted from the 1980s into the ‘90s that found thousands of people accused of sexually abusing and murdering as part of a Satanic cult underground network — became another embarrassing chapter in American history.
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20 of Voltaire’s Best Can’t-Even Quotes

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Happy 321st birthday to Voltaire, the French philosopher and Candide author who skewered religion, the aristocracy, and society in his greatest letters and other writings. Voltaire’s satirical observations and call to “écrasez l’infâme” (“crush the infamous”) are captured in his best quotes. He was the original “ain’t nobody got time for that” — and although he “can’t even” when it came to ignorance, tyrannical power, and our puny opinions, he was never speechless.
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Flavorwire Interview: ‘Witches of America’ Author Alex Mar on Witchcraft’s Feminist Appeal and the Impact of Ritual

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In Alex Mar’s 2010 documentary American Mystic, the New York City journalist observed the lives of three different subjects who identify with fringe religious beliefs, including a woman and witchcraft practitioner named Morpheus. The experience had a profound impact on Mar, who had been raised Catholic, but wasn’t religious. Still, she had an innate curiosity where her own spirituality was concerned. Mar entered the world of Wicca and Paganism to continue her journey in a recently published book called Witches of America — part travelogue, memoir, and sociological study of the occult.
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Benjamin Booker: From Bandcamp to This Year’s Festival Favorite

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”You’re the only one who knows how to have fun,” says a panhandling comedian who’s been working New York City’s Union Square Park with his dirty jokes for at least five years. He probably tells everyone that, but he’s particularly correct in saying it to Benjamin Booker on this unseasonably cold June evening, a few hours before Booker is set to headline Irving Plaza for a Governor’s Ball pre-party.

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Guessing Game: Anton LaVey, Nietzsche, or Ayn Rand?

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All the hails belong to today’s birthday boy, pop culture icon of evil and Satanist Anton LaVey. The eccentric Church of Satan founder constructed his organization based on principles of individualism, egoism, and atheism — a few traits he shares in common with abyss-ful philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and creator of Objectivism, the evil-obsessed (and just plain evil, to many) Ayn Rand. In fact, LaVey once said: “My religion is just Ayn Rand’s philosophy with ceremony and ritual added.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell the three wearers of black apart when judging by their words — which is why we decided to have a little fun with the deeply cynical trio (we can already hear Rand protesting that term from beyond the grave) with a guessing game. Who said it: Anton LaVey, Nietzsche, or Ayn Rand?
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Why Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law Isn’t Just Morally Wrong — It’s Bad Law

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There’s been an ongoing controversy over Indiana’s adoption of a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), largely because of the potential it grants for the discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds. This week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed for the Washington Post wherein he argued that the laws “go against very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.” He’s right on both counts, but the first is one that warrants exploring further, because the RFRA in all its incarnations isn’t just a bad law — it’s a fundamentally ill-conceived one.
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