One could almost call this post Putting the [insert minority/social group you belong to here] Blinders On.
I'm not one to point fingers at one person and say they are the one cause of anything. So let me start by saying that, while I will be discussing an article from a specific blog, this post is meant to be read and understood in a generic sense.
The Wild Hunt's article on July 6 deals with the death penalty case of a man named Irving Davis, a 27-year-old man that has been convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl. In Texas, the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl is punishable by either a life sentence without parole or the death penalty. For a little bit of information, this is due to the fact that if one commits a murder during or because of the commission of another felony, that murder is elevated from the classification of Murder (19.02 TX Penal Code) to Capital Murder (19.01, if I'm not mistaken). A capital felony (12.31) can only have those two punishments.
The Wild Hunt would like to argue that, because the prosecution in the case introduced evidence that the man converted to Satanism while in prison, this means the prosecution was attempting to sway the jury using religion as a base.
To his point: The judge did make statements alluding to his distaste for the very notion of Satanism. This would seem to indicate a predisposition to distrust and fear Satanism. It - as well as much of paganism - is generally feared and obscured to the general public. Although, pagans - Satanists including - seem to like on some level having secret knowledge.
Where I take issue with the article: It seems to ignore the bottom half of the original source article from the Austin-American Statesman. Davis was previously convicted of this crime and sentenced to death back in 2007. However, the sentence was thrown out due to the judge only allowing expert witnesses to testify on the defendant's behalf and not friends and family. The guilt of this man has never been in question. Also, the Hunt's article seems to gloss over the fact that Davis' love of Satanism is a brand new thing. It is repeatedly reported that his conversion is 'new.' He was not a Satanist as of 2007, and only recently converted. He has also been making outrageous demands and complaints that he was not getting what he wanted while still in prison.
While preparing for the new penalty phase trial, prosecutors learned Davis listed his new religion as Satanism after arriving on death row. Jurors were shown, over defense objections, Davis' drawings depicting satanic symbols, books removed from his cell that included "The Satanic Bible" and a pentagram tattoo on his chest. Prosecutors also introduced a grievance form that showed Davis complaining about being denied a gong, candles, chalice, black robes, a vial of blood and other items he said were needed to practice his religion.
Asking for blood for your 'brand new religion' in prison after you've been convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl?! Can we just take a step back from keeping our heads in the pagan sand and take a look at how this looks to the outside world? I'm pretty sure that it would only lend itself to the prosecution's case. While I'm not saying Satanism is evil by any means, I am saying that it is a hedonistic, left-hand religion that you might not want to advertise your new conversion to in a case such as this. And, hello.... It's Texas. Land of exceedingly right-wing Christo-Republicans. How smart of a defense are you putting up if you're advertising your Satanism?
This is an issue that I have a problem with in a general sense. With all due respect to Jason at the Wild Hunt, it highlights the problem that occurs when you become so wrapped up in your social subgroup that you forget what the rest of society sees and believes. When gay folks move to the gay ghettos in big cities, have only gay friends, go to gay establishments, read the gay newspapers...then they head out of the ghetto on a field trip to straight world and are utterly perplexed why their public displays of affection aren't well-received.
I mean... PICK A MINORITY OR SOCIAL GROUP!!! When you're so wrapped up in absorbing news from only one perspective, when your friends are only part of your group, etc. etc. etc., you lose touch with the rest of the world. This is the same thing that we, as fairly left-wing pagans, supposedly despise right-wing, conservative Christians for doing. Just like it's not ok to adopt a standpoint that Christians are automatically right, it is equally dangerous to automatically assume the best of someone just because they're claiming to be some sub-sect of pagan.
This is the very epitome of hypocritical. My minority s always discriminated against and is hardly ever in the wrong. This is a great example of in-group/out-group dynamics. Remember when we talked about those? You are naturally prone to defend your in-group and assume the worst of whom you consider part of the out-group.
What we as humans and citizens of the world need to be doing is attempting to adopt a stance of balance. Take in left media, but pepper in some right. Understand more religions than just your own. Attempt to see things from the opposite side. Sometimes, when a man rapes and murders a 15-year-old girl, and has already been sentenced to death once, it might be inevitable he's going to be sentenced to death again...despite his last-minute cry of discrimination.
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Love and Lyte,