Last week, a historic house in New York that was used as a gathering place for members of the Church of Satan was effectively burned up. The owners escaped the flames but the property can’t be used for any kind of meeting.
What caused the damage? Arson, apparently.
Early Thursday morning, a masked arsonist carrying two gasoline cans arrived in the Witchcraft District — a slice of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., popular with members of the Church of Satan — and went up the front steps of 27 South Clinton Street, a gothic-looking residence that looks like a set from the 1960s sitcom “The Addams Family.”
The masked figure doused the front entrance and set it ablaze.
Inside, the homeowner, Matthew Camp, 36, said he woke to see through his bedroom window his front porch in flames. He managed to escape with his roommate, Six Carter, before the house burned to a charred shell.
Mr. Camp, a gay adult entertainer and social media influencer, said he had no idea who may have wanted to destroy the house and endanger his life. He left open the possibility that someone had misconstrued the house as a place for Devil worship.
Contrary to the name, these Satanists don’t actually worship Satan, but instead follow a non-theistic philosophy based on personal liberty and self-fulfillment. (It’s a different group from The Satanic Temple, which is known primarily for pushing back against the influence of Christian Nationalism.)
Either way, the ignorance about who the Satanists are and what they believe may have been costly. That is, unless the still-unknown arsonist targeted the house because it’s a popular hangout for the local gay community… which still wouldn’t make the crime any less awful.
You don’t have to agree with the Satanists to condemn the burning as a hate crime. And setting fire to someone else’s worship space, let alone any property not your own, is no way to make your own faith look any better.
(Image via Google Maps)