Being debated today in the Upper House of Victorian Parliament, is a historic bill which would finally see the State abolish harmful conversion practices. While the numbers are there to see these changes finally passed into law, the debate will no doubt be an ugly and divisive one.
Support for the changes to conversion practices currently being debated by the Victoria government has come many corners of the country, with organisations, activists and individuals all vocal in their support, including the newly formed religious organisation the Noosa Temple Of Satan.
Speaking with Star Observer in October last year, Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon explained that the organisation “was established in response to the Morison Government’s proposal for a religious discrimination bill” and that “it was a satanic activist response to that highlighted the hypocrisy of religious people, be they gay or straight.”
In a letter sent to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on February 1, Demo-Gorgon noted the Premier having received correspondence from numerous Christian and other faith leaders from across the country, all urging the government to abandon the Change or Suppression Conversion Prohibition Bill 2020.
“Disappointingly, these faither leaders did not seek input from the Noosa Temple of Satan, which represents the fastest growing religion in Australia, as part of their multi-faith lobbying effort,” the letter reads.
“It’s a very dangerous practice, it has resulted in death, anything that can prevent people from getting into harmful situations we are fully supportive of.
“Conversion practices are by nature, coercive and happen within an imbalance of power. People find themselves in a situation where they are not empowered to make decisions themselves, and their bodily autonomy, which is really important for safeness.”
Aside from outlawing conversion practices from within secular settings, the proposed Bill prohibits “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer-based practice, a deliverance practice or an exorcism,” a point Demo-Gorgon explicitly mentions in their letter addressed to Andrews.
“In particular, the Noosa Temple Of Satan welcomes the inclusion in the legislation of section 5(3) which identifies exorcisms as one of the “change or suppression practices” that would be banned… We see demonic possession as being crucial to helping us maintain a stable membership base and to spreading Satanism throughout the land. The performance of exorcisms to drive Satan out of people’s souls is a direct threat to our aims.”
“We were very disappointed that the Queensland laws were so weak. They only tackled professional conversion practices and didn’t intervene in terms of religion. We agree with a lot of other activists that basically the laws are a waste of time until they change them to include religion and we will keep pushing the Labor government to change that law.”