BBC News | UNIONS 2000 | Occult sites 'lure' teenagers
Saturday, 22 April, 2000, 00:41 GMT 01:41 UK Occult sites 'lure' teenagers
By BBC News Online's Gary Eason
Survey said 54% of teenagers had interest in occult
Teachers say they are worried about teenagers using websites about the occult, a subject which a survey says a quarter of secondary school pupils are "very interested" in. The survey of pupils in 115 middle and secondary schools in England and Wales found 54% of the 2,600 who responded were "interested" in the occult and the supernatural and 26% were "very interested". This goes far beyond a case of reading a Harry Potter story. This represents an extremely worrying trend among young people - Association of Teachers and Lecturers Boys were a little more likely than girls to have expressed an interest. But girls were more likely than boys to have uncovered things which worried them. Younger pupils - the 11-year-olds - expressed the most concern. More than twice as many black and ethnic minority pupils than white pupils were "very worried" by things they had come across. The findings are part of a larger survey of schoolchildren's attitudes carried out by market researchers Mori for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). Many had found worrying material on the net The children were not specifically asked whether they had used the internet to pursue their interest in things supernatural. WARNING: But as a result of the findings, the ATL has added its voice to the widespread unease that unsupervised access to the internet could mean young people could find it easier to visit websites devoted to "unsavoury" subjects. It reinforces official warnings about the need for parents and schools to take steps to ensure children are not wandering freely on the net. In the survey, pupils were also asked how they rated their knowledge of computers and the internet against that of their teachers. Thirty-nine per cent felt they knew more than their teachers did. BLOODLETTING: Commenting on the findings, the ATL's general secretary, Peter Smith, said: "Youngsters can very easily visit a choice of hundreds of websites on witchcraft, Wicca magic, casting hexes and bloodletting techniques, without adults having any control as to what they read. "This goes far beyond a case of reading a Harry Potter story. This represents an extremely worrying trend among young people. "Parents and teachers will want to educate children and young people about the dangers of dabbling in the occult before they become too deeply involved." The ATL has given some examples of the sort of websites it is worried about. One, dealing with bloodletting, bears the warning: "This site is here to provide needed technical and safety information for people with a need, craving, or ongoing desire to drink blood (from consenting sources). If this topic offends you, please don't continue on inside. "By continuing on inside to view this site further, you are certifying that either you are at least 18 years of age, or you have the permission of a parent or legal guardian to view this site. (Note: This site does not contain porno.)"
This is a formal complaint.
The BBC is either turning a blind eye to defamation against minority beliefs by sectarian staff or institutionalised discrimination is alive and well on BBC News Online
As the leading U.K. organisation which protects unorthodox beliefs we want to know what reparations you intend to make to the estimated 250,000 pagans and witches in the U.K. who have been insulted and libeled in Gary Eason's lead story 'Occult Sites 'lure' teenagers (22 April 2000).
Linking the bona-fide religion of Paganism/Pantheism with 'blood-letting' and 'unsavoury subjects which might harm children' is a gross and mediaeval misrepresentation of the facts. This from an organisation which demands licence payers money on the pretext of representing the pluralist nature of Britain.
Your reporter either does not care if sectarian troublemakers pull his strings, or instinctively supporting them due to personal religious prejudice. His article is simply The socially damaging Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth writ small. Gary Eason is so wet behind the ears that he either does not know (or does not care) that fundamentalists posing as 'pillars of the establishment' used the VERY SAME TACTICS to try to 'prove' their claims that the occult was harmful during 1988. The latterday Satan Hunter Kevin Logan conducted similarly flawed 'research' via questionnaires handed out in church schools. He 'discovered' that 86% of children had had some contact with the occult. What he, The Association of Teachers and Lecturers and Eason did not state in their reports was the DEFINITION of the term 'occult' used. In fact the super-sensitivity of these sectarian troublemakers to anything not absolutely holy writ meant that virtually everything a teenager has an interest in becomes defined as 'occult', including heavy-metal music, goth fashions, New-Age jewellery, watching horror films etc. Hence it would be a miracle if any normal child was NOT involved in the 'occult' as they define it.
Additionally, it is scientifically invalid to extract statistics from a general questionnaire and re-use them to prove a specific contention which was not made clear when the original questions were being asked
Eason is one of many media types who are slowly squeezing themselves out of a job by pandering to the censorship imposed by an army of fundamentalist agitators disguised as do-gooders. His reporting fails to consider that if 54% of children have an interest in Occultism, it is more likely to be because of the constant diet of fantasy fiction, Cartoon Wizards and Teenage Witch programmes which YOUR industry feeds to kids daily, than a handful of extreme websites run by adults for adults which may, or may not deletoriously affect surfers.
So oblivious is BBC NEWS ONLINE of its own prejudices that they do not even see the contradictions when, as reported on another page, a fundamentalist Christian activist begins a campaign against The Harry Potter Books. The unimaginative hacks at the BBC fall over themselves to print the fundamentalists' propaganda about the internet in deadly serious tones in inverse proportion to the tongue in cheek reporting of the Harry Potter ban. Hypocrisy or prejudice?
Mr Gary Eason, JK Rowling, and the Christian Fundamentalists all earn money, influence and power from purveying these atrocious prejudices, yet the innocent, law-abiding pagans and witches who have nothing whatsoever to do with these controversies are the ones who are abused for it. They have to live a persecuted life or renounce their beliefs. Is that what you use public money for at the BBC? To hound people who have different religious belliefs?
You would not DARE to publicise a Christian survey on whether the Islamic religion was dangerous to children. You quite simply would not dare because you would be sacked and your careers would be destroyed by the stigma of racial prejudice. Yet BBC journalists regularly feel free to publicise the most atrocious claims about the pagan religion. Utter hypocrisy
Our complaint is simple. It is against the Broadcasting code for any of your journalists to publish any article which is religiously biased. Eason's article expressed the idiotic pronouncements of the ATL without mentioning their Christian religious bias and without allowing those whom they had travested a chance to balance the issue. Similarly, in your piece on Harry Potter your reporter turns for a riposte, not to the Pagans, Witches and Wizards who are being accused of role-modelling anti-social, criminal and harmful activities but to the National Secular Society! That's a bit like conducting a debate on vivisection and then asking the Animal Liberation Front to answer on behalf of vivisectionists.
We want assurances from BBC NEWS ONLINE that you will not ever again act as an unpaid sectarian propaganda machine for Christian absolutists whose main purpose in spreading these lies is not to protect children but to impose a theocracy.
Of course Eason's intellect is so prejudiced that he didn't see the occurrence of the Easter Christian religious festival and this report as being linked. He never thought to ask how , exactly, the occult can be more harmful to children than a death-cult which terrifies kids with images of a corpse nailed to a wooden cross with blood streaming from face, hands and inards. This psychotic icon is forced into the minds of children even before they can READ. If someone made an accurate film of the Christian Bible it would be illegal to show it to anyone under the age of 16 yet kids of any age are brainwashed with its psychopathic contents and vengeful god.
These are the good Christians who ignore the national scandal of literally THOUSANDS of instances of repetitive and systematic abuse of children by renegade priests from THEIR own religion, but who can find the time to slander and defame the religions of others on the flimsiest pretexts. A handful of occult sites on the internet pale into insignificance when compared with the national scandal of priestly abuse which is continuing in this country today, hence, bandwagon-jumpers like Eason become participants in the continuing abuse which Christianity imposes, with impunity, upon children in the U.K. today.
Yes, indeed, there are MANY things wrong with Christianity, but you won't find witches spending all their time creating stunts to publicise Christian wrong-doings because, unlike them, we recognise and respect the right of every person to choose their own belief and follow their own religion in peace.
Eason will go in the SAFF Hall of Shame on our website for his tabloid antics, because, unlike the hacks which peddle this mediaeval nonsense, we do not let irresponsible people off the hook. It is a shorter step than you might think from defaming Witches, to defaming Jews, and then ethnic cleansing, gas chambers and that sort of thing. That is why the government is at this minute undertaking research into whether new laws are required to deal with religious discrimination. In a year or two Eason's pot-boiler could very well be illegal as it stands; today you are lucky in that you can choose to correct it.
I am glad to see that you state on line that you really do care. As the responsible editor of BBC NEWS ONLINE we want to know what actions you are prepared to take to put right these wrongs? The FACTS are these. Unlike Christians, who seek to actively recruit, missionise and covert ALL children from whatever racial or cultural background because their bible tells them to, the liturgy of Witches and Pagans ensures that they do NOT proselytise and do not seek converts in the young. Additionally, it is a rune of the Craft that no person is ever initiated into our religion until they have reached the age of majority. Furthermore, it is Craft law that neophytes are not initiated until 13 moons have elapsed (a year and a day) from their first asking. This to ensure the seriousness of their intent. If anyone is found doing otherwise they are expelled from our midst. If anyone is found committing crimes against children then they will be reported to the police by the majority of socially responsible pagans. It is as stupid and futile to accuse ALL pagans and Witches of horrid acts as it is to accuse all Christians of priestly abuse so please ensure you get a sense of proportion into your reports in future.
As you can see unlike the image you portray of us, we are socially responsible. If the Christian religion had adopted the same restraint then the world would be a better place for all. Hence, by and large we do not invite interest from children and have no argument in principle with the idea that those who are still wards of their parents should only be able to access adult sites with their parents express permission; PROVIDING the very same restrictions were applied to ALL religious sites, including the Christian missionary sites which proliferate on the net and who would be the major beneficiary of censorship against minority beliefs. Is the penny beginning to drop Gary Eason?
And our last fact, which would have been an important balance to Eason's article, is that we at the SAFF do not need to pay MORI to do a poll on the 'possible' dangers of Christian missionaryism. We have spent the last decade documenting THOUSANDS of instances where children and young adults have had their lives destroyed by activist Christians. Far, far in excess of the disputable allegations they heap upon us at every turn. Yet you will notice that THEY keep on getting the free publicity for their scares about us from YOU whereas YOU ignore the facts which we present and do not alert parents to the fact that there is a very high chance of their offspring being horribly abused by renegade priests. That's show business folks!
If you want to find out more about how they fool journalists like Eason on a regular basis then you should log on to our website www.saff.totalserve.co.uk
What are you prepared to do about this complaint? An apology would be nice but a retraction would be better. If you are not prepared to offer some right of reply to whom do we complain, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission perhaps? Please reply soon.Yours, Tony Rhodes
Click here to see how the Fundamentalist Fifth Column in the British Media are using the BBC and ITV to crush and censor New Age Beliefs
Then please click here to go to our Feedback Forum - You can leave a message anonymously or just read what others have to say.
Click here to return to the SAFF frontpage