October 14, 2002
A befuddlement and bewilderment over random and senseless acts of violence have gripped our imaginations since, at latest, September 11th, 2001 and as early as April 20th, 1999 — with the Columbine school massacre.
Now the suburbs of the nation's capital are held in fear by the actions of a "serial sniper." This newest episode in the macabre saga of American violent crime has already claimed seven lives and left two others clinging for life. To add to the complexity of the case, a cryptic calling card was left for law enforcement near the middle school in Bowie, Maryland, where a 13-year-old boy was shot and critically injured — a "death" tarot card bearing the handwritten inscription "I am God."
Because of the presence of the esoteric clue, experts in tarot have been added to the talking-head menagerie of psychologists, psychiatrists, criminal profilers and ex-cops who headline cable news television's 24-hour coverage of the sniper. Dressed more like television attorneys than TV psychic Miss Cleo, the tarot touters are quick to proclaim that the sniper has misappropriated use of the "death" card — that such a tarot means "transformation" or "rebirth." Only a charlatan or rank occultic novice would confuse the true meaning of the tarot sign with such anti-social behavior.
Across the continent in San Mateo, California, is a civic disruption on a smaller scale. Thirty-five students at San Mateo High School have started a new school club — "The Satanic Thought Society." The students involved disclaim being involved in anything as base as "devil worship." Instead their fellowship, they say, is one of intellectual exploration (the dark territories traversed in this exploration being the writings of Anton LaVey, founder of the modern day Church of Satan).
Fliers posted for the society promote the separation of church and state. What could be more mainstream?
The fliers also state: "Satanism is not the practice of resurrecting hate and violence through evil spirits, nor is it a cult religion wherein people worship a horned beast symbolic of the leader of hell."
Club president James Doolittle laments that he "doesn't want people to associate us with any violence." And while Doolittle assures the concerned that "Satanism doesn't support hate for no reason," he conversely states that Satanism states "it's ok to feel hate because hating allows them to love more."
In case one wonders where officials stand, Principle Jacqueline McEvoy claims that the school is powerless to prevent the club because of the federal Equal Access Act for Secondary Schools. But she is also quick to vouch that the "young men are really interested in the philosophical teachings of alternate religions."
And what about the Parent Teacher Organization?
PTO President Jann Westfall reasons, "I don't think we should tell kids what they can and can't learn, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone." Westfall fails to note exactly who, if not parents and teachers, may set limits in high-schoolers lives.
Given the satanic teen apologists of San Mateo and the media-savvy "tarot experts," one is hard pressed to understand why we are befuddled and bewildered over random and senseless acts of violence. The violence let loose in our society has been carefully nurtured by our unwillingness to recognize that ideas are not neutral or valueless, but are vehicles of the grander cosmic forces of good and evil. Those ideas that have traditionally been relegated to the occult fringe of Western culture have been made taboo, not because Christianity is a religion of intolerance and oppression, but because they are the in-roads of violence and destruction. In a word, they are evil.
There is a fundamental truth about evil that we as a culture have forgotten. Traditional wisdom teaches that part of the nature of evil is to cry out that it is good, for who would choose evil over good but a fool or a coward?
If we were to succumb to the conventional wisdom (which is anything but) then we must explain away the occultic involvement of the Columbine killers, explain away the tarot card left by the homicidal sharpshooter loose in suburban Washington, explain away the fact that the terrorist hi-jackers of September 11th were nurtured by religious teachers who fostered evil under the guise of good. If we are able to unlearn what the true good is then we will be able to speak with the twisted logic of a San Mateo teen, we will be able to understand that more hate really means more love.
And who would dare tell us otherwise?
|Clay Rossi is deputy director of development
at the Free Congress Foundation.
The Free Congress Foundation is located at
717 Second Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002.
Telephone: 202.546.3000 - Fax: 202.544.2819.
Our Decaying Society
15 oct 2002