Irving Davis, who was convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old girl, asked to have his death sentence thrown out, alleging he was discriminated against because he practices Satanism.
Davis, 27, was sentenced to death for the June 23, 2002, murder of Melissa Medina in El Paso County, Texas.
His lawyers have asked the Texas appeals court to throw out his death sentence, arguing jurors shouldn't have been told about his foray into Satanism, reports Statesman.com.
Prosecutors, however, argue his involvement with the Church of Satan serves as evidence Davis is still a threat to society.
The prosecution showed jurors Davis' drawings of satanic symbols, his copy of The Satanic Bible, the pentagram tattoo on his chest, and a grievance form on which Davis complained about being denied a gong, candles, chalice, black robes and a vial of blood while in prison.
The defence's request sent both appeals court judges into philosophical speeches about the nature of good, evil and religion, Statesman.com reported. [...]
Some friends claim to have come across Satanic rituals, like one who was a hotel cleaner and walked in to find a bunch of sacrificed animals. I'm not saying "it's definitely true because my friends told me". It's not any more unbelievable than white supremacists killing people and animals, though. There are people who torture and kill people and animals and it makes sense that a belief system that is filled with hate and violence would attract such people*. (Anton LaVey's version of Satanism mostly seemed cynical and selfish, but there have also been other versions.)
*Before someone points out that the same is true of the major "acceptable" religions, I never said that it wasn't. I love disclaimers.
Theistic satanists exist, but are very rare. Most are LaVey satanists and are atheist libertarians / Rand freaks. Neither kill other than in self defense (which they justify most verbosely). Using satanic imagery from Hollywood or the metal scene does not constitute satanism, though the tabloids WANT you to believe different. I have posted some stories about alleged Russian satanic cults here (you search, I feel lazy and besides, I'm kind of tired re-explaining this all the time).
My Sikh friend said it is a small knife. I wondered if they couldn't just have a symbolic knife (like a blunted one). If it is a real knife they shouldn't be allowed to have it anywhere where other people can't have weapons.
Time for a contrary opinion. I think he should be denied everything he asked for.
Let me explain. One of the things we have been witnessing recently is the idea that prisons are becoming hotbeds of radicalization. Radical Islam grows in prison, as do various Christian sects, and of course, there's the White Power/Aryan Nation/Christian Identity gang there as well. I would suggest that perhaps we should deny these radical groups the possibility of spewing their hate-filled doctrines in such a total environment. Perhaps religions should be banned in prison.
People can argue that we would be denying prisoners their religious rights. Big deal. The very idea of prison is a denial of rights. Why do they lose their rights to live freely, congregate freely, express themselves freely, etc., but maintain their rights to practice religion freely? Perhaps it has to do with some antiquated belief that Jesus would save them from hell/eternal damnation, but I think we have come beyond that. I also think there is a tendency to favor people who find God (in some acceptable variant) in prison. Witness Carla Faye Tucker. All the fundies wanted to save her from the big bad needle, because she found Jesus. If she had found Allah, they would be fighting for the privilege to stick the needle in her arm (for the record, I am against capital punishment in all instances). In effect, the prison system itself is unequal.
In any event, there are two options. Give everyone the right to practice whatever religion they want, or take away those rights just like we take away other rights. I can certainly see the validity of the latter option.
Alternately, I can see the argument that the authorities use religion in prison to maintain a certain control over diverse populations. Of course, that is hardly what the authorities would admit religion is all about.