Preamble: Among the Skeptical community, there are those of us who have had to counter con

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Preamble: Among the Skeptical community, there are those of us who have had to counter contentions made by religious people that there is a huge and well organized conspiracy; the so-called Satanic Conspiracy. It is said by those of the religiously minded that hundreds of thousands of babies are born quietly and then ritually murdered while the blood and flesh of the infants is consumed as an unholy sacrament. Wiccans, Neo-Pagans, and 'Luciferians', just to name a few cultish beliefs, have been the direct target of such nonsense. It has errupted in blood-shed in many cases where typically christians are motivated by deeply-held beliefs and indoctrinations into committing murder and assault. While reading through the paper, I ran accross just a bit of what the so-called Satanic Conspiracy is supposed to be about. Take a quick look at this, if you are interested, and you'll see another superstition some skeptics are concerned with -- concerned because innocent people get hurt. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ L. A. Times, March 1992, Article: "Suspect in Robbery Alleges Conspiracy Against Him" o Crime: James A. McGrath's 300-page tract asserts that banks and a chocolate maker have tried to destroy co-defensant Gilbert Michaels. o By John Johnson, Times staff writer - - - - - There was an interesting article in the L. A. This this week, boys and girls. It seems that there are Christian factions using their bible to make bank robbery a god-given right of the chosen. "One of two men arrested on suspicion of a year long bank robbery spree left behind a bizzare document that provides insight into the thinking processes of two men who apparently believed that they were being hounded by a Luciferian conspiracy bent on destroying them and, ultimatly, the United States." "The 300-page document written by James A. McGrath, 48, also justifies bank robbery as a method of fighting back against the evil forces." "'What if Gilbert were to hold up the Wells Fargo Bank, not as a theif but an honest man?' asks the document, refering to Gilbert Michaels, 47, a co-defensant in the robbery spree..." "Part biography, part polemic, part religious tract, the rambling document tried to explain the life and travails of Gilbert Michaels and outlines the belief of the two men that a massive conspiracy involving banks and a jelous candy maker systematically worked to destroy Michaels' fudge-making business." "'This case is the tip of the iceberg of corruption emerging into plain sight for everyone to see... It is my sincere hope and prayer that this report will be used by the people for the exposure and removal of this plague of corruption from our great country,' the report says." The article goes on at great length. "The man says he is not bothered by his arrest. 'I couldn't be more happy' about the way things are truning out, he said. He has said his and Michaels' plan all along was to be arrested so that they could expose the conspiracy." "As for the possibility of spending years in prison, he said he is not worried about that. 'The lord has promised us we'll get out.'" "A search of their luxurious, four-story rented house in West Hills turned up a cache of 119 guns, including a Thompson machine gun, and more than 25,000 rounds of ammunition. Under the house, agents discovered a military-style bunker complete with thick fire doors and a shooting range." "The FBI and family members said the two men were preparing for Armageddon by stockpileing weapons that they could share with other people who believe as they do." A lengthy series of nonsense follows about the suspects. "The conspiracy McGrath felt that he had unearthed, which began with local banks and lawyers, eventually broadens to inclued the Hershey corporation, actress Jane Fonda and communists whos ultimate goal is the enslavement of ordinary Americans." "'Luciferian members intend to eleminate the middle class from America and turn the general population into peasants and slaves to do their bidding and be their torturer-murder victims,' the document says." It goes on again with a little history of nine bank robberies. "McGrath told U. S. Magistrate Charles Eick that his reasons for committing some of th most sensational bank robberies in Los Angeles history were explained in the 300-page document, a copy of which had been given to the court the day before by Michaels' wife." "Sitting at the dinner table in her house last week, Rose Ann Michaels thanked God for allowing her to get the document to the judge, as though it alone would explain everything and bring the evil forces to their knees." "The disjointed document seems unlikely to do that. But it does portray a family that felt itself hemmed in on all sides by persecutors, with only God as their solace." "... The relationship that evolves between the two men, as described in the document, is one of a spiritual guide, Michaels, and his chronicler, McGrath. McGrath described Gilbert as a 'Saint of the highest order' who heads a 'specially anointed family consecrated unto the lord.'" The nonsense just goes on and on. I'm wondering if they gave the Pope his cut. --------------------------------------------------------------------

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