An Oklahoma Satanist wants literature reflecting his religious beliefs available in Duncan County public schools, along with the Bible.
“In order to maintain our faith, children must be taught the tradition,” Satanic cleric Adam Daniels says.
On April 6, a third grade teacher in Duncan County distributed Bibles to her students, an act the state's attorney general defends under the auspices of religious freedom. Daniels proposes that his recently published, 72-page tome called "Ahrimani Enlightenment" be allowed as instructional material for local school children as well.
Teaching children the tenets of Satanism, Daniels argues, is a right protected under Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt's own legal language regarding the distribution of religious texts in schools.
In an April 14 letter to the Duncan County superintendent, Scott warned of "a challenging time in our country for those who believe in religious liberty."
"Our religious freedoms are under constant attack from a variety of groups who seek to undermine our constitutional rights and threaten our founding principles," Scott says. "I am therefore writing to make clear that it is in fact legal for schools to allow the dissemination of religious literature and that I will take a stand to defend the religious freedom of Oklahomans."
"Oklahomans do not need to live in fear that their government has become hostile to religion," Scott asserts. "Schools have a right to enact neutral policies that allow all viewpoints on religion to thrive. As the Attorney General of Oklahoma, I will not stand idly by while out-of-state organizations bully you or any other official in this State into restricting the religious freedom the Founders of this country held dear."
In a press release for his new book, Daniels explains the premise of his religion.
"For the uninitiated," Daniels writes, "the church of Ahriman seeks to break away from the conventional association with traditional Satanists, due to the understanding that Satan is a fallen angel subservient to the slave master Jehovah. Traditional Satanists believe that in the end, Satan and Jehovah will war and Satan will emerge the victor. However, Ahriman is an equally unstoppable force. The Dark Ages, dominated by the Catholic Church, based their spiritual enemy, Satan, on Ahriman."
"Ahriman is of course the nemesis of Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism," Daniels clarifies.
“Both good and evil are equal forces in a constant war that maintains equilibrium. We have been under the law of ‘Light,’ and it has shown itself to be abusive, enslaving, and stifling to the betterment of mankind," Daniels argues, regarding why he felt compelled to found his own church.
In a blog post this week, Daniels challenges Christian morality's role in American public affairs.
"The Catholic/Christian ideology is being pushed and accepted," Daniels writes, "because they have the power and money to highly influence the legislative body of the United States Government."
"It appears that we are headed toward another religious and ideological dark age," Daniels continues. "How does fight this type of oppression? It’s quite simple, build a religious ideology that strictly opposes the current ruling enslavers. Then take this ideology that has the same protection, and attack their ideology. The lesson to be learned from history is not to oppose the empire, but those clergy who inspire and influence it."
Daniels made headlines several years ago during a public schism among Satanist adherents at Oklahoma's Church of the IV Majesties.
"The former Dark Overlord made up his name and when I did a search on his real name, I found out he's a sex offender," James Hale, a church founder, told an Oklahoma City news outlet in 2010. "We Satanists don't deal with sex offenders."
Daniels defends a relationship he had with a prisoner while working as a correctional officer as "consensual," though the woman evidently felt otherwise because she contacted authorities, and they prosecuted. Daniels is listed on his state's sex offender registry; records note that his victim was at least 16 -- the legal age of consent -- at the time of the attack.
During the falling out among area Satan worshippers, Daniels told media outlets that Hale had sexually assaulted his wife.