Bid To Have Satanism Classes in Queensland Government Schools Dismissed as a ‘Stunt’
By Australian Associated Press
Noosa Temple of Satan founder ordered to show cause why affidavits shouldn’t be provided to prosecutors or police.
A bid to have satanism classes taught at some Queensland schools has been dismissed as “a base political stunt”, with a supreme court judge ordering the founder of the Noosa Temple of Satan to explain why he should not be prosecuted.
The temple had sought to challenge the state government’s refusal to let the group offer religious instruction at four public schools.
On Friday, Queensland supreme court justice Martin Burns dismissed the Noosa Temple of Satan’s application, after a hearing in August.
Burns also directed the temple’s founder, Robin Bristow, to front court later this month.
He said Bristow was required to show cause why documents, including affidavits and a transcript of his evidence, should not be provided to the director of public prosecutions or police to consider whether criminal action should be pursued.
Burns said he has no doubt that parts of Bristow’s affidavit were untrue.
“Whether his affirmation of those parts was deliberate and material to the outcome of this application will be for others to consider,” he said.
Burns found critical portions of Bristow’s affidavit were demonstrated during cross-examination at the hearing to be “entirely false”.
Bristow had also agreed the temple was started in response to a religious discrimination bill introduced in federal parliament.
It was his and the temple’s view that no religion be allowed in state schools.
Temple leader, Trevor Bell, launched the legal action, asking the court to set aside the government’s decision that the temple, created in 2019, was not a religious denomination or society.
The temple had earlier notified four schools – Centenary and Sunshine Beach state high schools and Tewantin and Wilston state schools – of its intention to provide religious instruction classes.
The group claimed it aimed to “provide students with information about the religion of satanism, including belief in Satan as a supernatural being, the canons of conduct and the tenets” and “to help students analyse the information and critically evaluate the religion of satanism,” according to court documents.
Burns found the temple has no genuine connection to anything pertaining to religion.
“There is certainly no evidence of a shared belief in a supernatural being, thing or principle, let alone canons of conduct to give effect to such a belief,” he said.
“The temple was not formed (and nor has it been conducted) as a religious denomination or society; the sole reason for its existence was (and remains) to push a political barrow.”
Burns said Bristow’s attempt to get approval to provide religious instruction in schools was “nothing more glorified than a base political stunt”.
“His persistence with that attempt through the medium of this proceeding has resulted in a deplorable waste of the resources of the state which had to be marshalled in opposition to the relief sought and the needless allocation of court time and resources to deal with it,” he said.
Bristow wrote an affidavit handed into court, under the name Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon, which he chose after searching on the internet for the most demonic name he could find, the hearing was told.
He agreed under questioning from Solicitor-General, Sandy Thompson QC, that he began canvassing “to try and persuade” parents to request religious education through the temple at schools.
Bristow had agreed he handed out leaflets outside a Queensland school while wearing a hood and cape – “very similar to yours”, he told Thompson – and carrying a plastic skull he bought at Woolworths.