We all know that Thelema has far less to do with Satanism than its detractors would have the public believe.
However, this is a significant UK news story (from The Scotsman, 23 October 2004) for many reasons…
By Rachel Williams, PA News
A Royal Navy non-commissioned officer has become the first registered Satanist in the British Armed Forces, it emerged tonight.
Naval technician Chris Cranmer has been officially recognised as a Satanist by the captain of HMS Cumberland, meaning he will be allowed to perform Satanic rituals on board.
He is now reportedly lobbying the Ministry of Defence to make Satanism a registered religion in the Armed Forces, although an MoD spokesman said it was not aware of any approach about the issue.
Ldg Hand Cranmer, 24, is from Edinburgh and has been in the Navy for four years, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
He was promoted leading hand – the naval equivalent of corporal – in July last year.
He told the paper he realised he was a Satanist nine years ago when he “stumbled across” a copy of the Satanic Bible – written by Church of Satan founder Anton Szandor LaVey.
“I then read more and more and came to realise I’d always been a Satanist, just simply never knew,” he said.
A spokesman for the Royal Navy said: “We are an equal opportunities employer and we don’t stop anybody from having their own religious values.
“Chris Cranmer approached his captain and made a request to be registered as a Satanist.
“This involved a formal stand-up approach, made in front of an audience, saying that he wanted to register as a Satanist and to practise his religious beliefs.
“The Royal Navy allows this kind of approach because it is clearly in line with current regulations.
“We are not aware of any other individuals who want to be registered as Satanists.
“Our policy is that, wherever practical, reasonable requests for time and facilities that do not impact on operational effectiveness or the welfare of other personnel, are met.
“The captain said that this decision was entirely up to the individual and that he is a good lad, a good worker on board.”
The Church of Satan was established in San Francisco in 1966 and LaVey was its high priest until his death in 1997.
Followers live by the Nine Satanic Statements, which include “Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence”, “Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek” and “Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification”.
Ldh Hand Cranmer told the newspaper being a Satanist gave him “the freedom of religion I wanted despite its controversial nature”.