We recently received a message on our Whatsapp verification helpline number with an image claiming that South Africa registered its first official Satanic Church. The lengthy message also includes other related details.
A Youtube channel by the name King ViewFinder posted a video version of the claim with its contents identical to that in the Whatsapp message we received.
On 5 June 2020, we received a Whatsapp message claiming that South Africa registered its first official Satanic Church. The Church was launched earlier this year in February with an aim to educate the public on the Satanic Religious Board as well as to address common misconceptions related to Satanic practices. The Whatsapp message goes on to detail other aspects of the Church including its founders, council, social media, and other related information.
Further, we got in touch with the founders of the South African Satanic Church (SASC) who confirmed with us via email about the content of the Whatsapp message we received as well as the founding and registration of the SASC. In his response, Co-founder Riaan Swiegelaar directed us to the original article and radio interview he thinks the Whatsapp message is based on. View the article below.
The above news story details how the SASC came to be and how “Satanism is, arguably, the most misunderstood religion practiced in South Africa today.” The SA Satanic Church conducts services, Satanic Bible study, and performs community service related to women’s rights and animal welfare, states the article.
Though Swiegelaar, in his response to us, clarifies that contrary to the claim made in the Whatsapp message about his parents supporting him he said, “if you listen to the radio interview; I indeed said “We agree to disagree”.”
He also clarifies that in his interview he did mention that they are a religious organisation, educating the public on what Satanism is but, he “never mentioned anything like a “board”,” as claimed in the Whatsapp message.
You can watch the co-founders of the SASC Adri Norton and Riaan Swiegelaar discussing questions that Satanists are faced with on their official Youtube channel below.
We also sourced the contents of the Whatsapp message to a news report written by Ellen Mubwanda and published on the Mail & Telegraph, a registered media organisation with the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Regarding the image that was sent to us with this Whatsapp claim, Swiegelaar said that they didn’t supply the image and think it’s of the Satanic Temple, a United States-based organisation. We independently searched for the image source and found that it was included in multiple news reports claiming it is from a ritual performed by congregants of the Seattle-based Satanic Temple of Washington. The linked news reports source the image to Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service. According to these reports, the image shows Angel, the ritual guild leader of the Satanic Temple of Washington State, leading the procession up the capitol steps.
Another fact-checking organization has debunked this claim.
After getting confirmation from one of the co-founders of the South African Satanic Church and reading multiple news reports on the same, we can confirm that the SASC was indeed launched early this year and is now officially registered. Although the image we received with the Whatsapp message is not related to the SASC. It’s from a Satanic organisation based in the United States.
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Result: Partly False
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