Reverend Tristan Kapp, a 23-year-old academic who is currently completing his master’s degree in theology, is hard at work in his capacity as reverend to “educate the public to what legitimate Satanism is and, more importantly, to address the misconceptions that exist in South Africa”.
Kapp is the second person to be appointed as reverend to the church.
He believes Satanism has been misrepresented by a lot of stigma and allegations, especially by Christianity and because of the so-called Satanic panic of the 1980s.
“The terms ‘Satan’ and ‘Satanism’ come with a lot of theological baggage. We are seen as ‘dark outsiders’. Often, we are portrayed as inhumane, depressed, anti-theistic and (especially) abusive towards animals but this couldn’t be further from the truth,” Kapp told Rekord.
The SASC was founded by Riaan Swiegelaar and Adri Norton in February 2020. According to Kapp, the SASC is a registered non-profit company that operates in line with the legal constitution of South Africa.
The SASC currently has two main chapters, namely its headquarters in Century City in Cape Town and the Gauteng chapter, which is overseen by Kapp and Swiegelaar.
“No, we don’t worship the devil, nor do we practice or condone any human or animal sacrifice and we are not anti-anything,” said Kapp. Kapp said the church had “a very large family” and members were anything from students and teachers to business owners and CEOs of large corporations.
“We are leaders. We work in hospitals, schools, universities and in the police service. Some of us are also parents, your neighbours and co-workers. We live in all cities across South-Africa: We are in the rural areas and in the suburbs.”
According to Kapp the church focuses on the so-called nine Satanic Statements, written by American occultist Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan. Its core values include indulgence instead of abstinence, giving kindness only to those who deserve it, instead of wasting it on ungrateful people and vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek.
“Some of us wear our Satanic pride on our sleeves, out in the open for all to see but others do not. Some of us have family and friends that accept us for who we are, others don’t.”
According to Kapp there is not a designated place of worship where the Gauteng chapter congregate. “We do, however, meet and support each other on online platforms.”
Danie Denysschen, a pastor at the Living Word church in Lydiana, said they took note of the establishment of the church of Satan in their community.
“This encourages us to pray and reach out to the leaders and members of this church movement with the sincere love of Jesus Christ. He is true love,” said Denysschen. Denysschen said that South Africa’s constitution gave citizens the right and opportunity to freedom of religion and the practice thereof.
“We as a Christian church community respect this freedom. Therefore, our view is not to judge or accuse other faiths or churches, but rather to reach out to people of other faiths with the good news message we possess, namely, reconciliation with God through Christ Jesus and the forgiveness and acquittal of sin and eternal removal from God.”
He, however, said that his church had fairly limited knowledge and insight regarding Satanism and the Satanic Church because their focus was on Jesus Christ instead.
“According to our sporadic experiences with the followers of Satanism in recent years, it has often been suggested that they are made to make certain sacrificial offerings to belong to this faith and church. These offerings include blood covenants by drinking animal or human blood. This may, however, not be the case with all members of the Satanic church.”
Denysschen said they had not yet been able to find any member of the Satanic faith in whom there is peace or joy present in their lives. “Unfortunately, there is often the presence in them of alcohol and drug abuse – this is possibly because their belief encourages excessiveness and is against moderation and restraint.”
He said people of all religions can do good to others if they direct their thoughts and actions towards it.
“I believe Satanic believers can also do good and not just bad like for example grave violations and other abuse. The essential difference is that the Christian church participates in good works because Christ Jesus freed us from the guilt of sin and restored us into an eternal relationship with Him. Other faiths tend to do good works to obtain acquittal, salvation and forgiveness.”
He invited the community of all faiths, including Satanism, to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and fellowship with His congregations.
“We love you with the love of Jesus!”