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Satanic teachings disallowed in schools

A legal bid to have Satanism classes taught at some Queensland schools has been dismissed as “nothing more glorified than a base political stunt”.

But a Brisbane Supreme Court judge has also ordered the founder of the Noosa Temple of Satan to explain why he should not be prosecuted.

The temple challenged the state government over a refusal to let the group offer religious instruction at four state schools.

Justice Martin Burns on Friday dismissed the Noosa Temple of Satan’s application after a hearing in August.

But he also directed temple founder Robin Bristow to front court later this month.

Mr Bristow is required to show cause why documents like 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.

Justice Burns said he has no doubt parts of Mr Bristow’s affidavit are untrue.

“Whether his affirmation of those parts was deliberate and material to the outcome of this application will be for others to consider,” he added.

Temple leader Trevor Bell launched the 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.

But Justice 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 added.

“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.”

Justice Martin said Mr Bristow’s attempt to get approval to deliver 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 added.

Mr 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 he began canvassing “to try and persuade” parents to request religious education through the temple at schools.

Mr Bristow agreed he handed out leaflets outside a Queensland school while wearing a hood and cape – “very similar to yours”, he told Mr Thompson – and carrying a plastic skull he bought at Woolworths.

But Justice Burns found critical portions of Mr Bristow’s affidavit were demonstrated during cross-examination at the hearing to be “entirely false”.

Mr 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.

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