'Satanists aren't murderers'; Local worshipers argue Craigslist Killer's claim is untrue
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - He is perhaps the most hated figure of any modern day religion
His followers are often feared. Case in point: Miranda Barbour, better known as the 'Craigslist Killer', who claims she murdered dozens while following the teachings of the Church of Satan.
But some say that doesn't line up, including several practicing Satanists here in Tucson.
Satanism has been a legally recognized religion since the mid 90's.
Today, the mere phrase conjurs up images of brutal sacrifices and sadistic rituals.
Now, add to that image Miranda Barbour's alleged motive.
"Satanists aren't by definition murderers," said John Brown II.
Brown calls himself a 'facilitator' of the Church of Satan.
He leads discussions, online and in person, with hundreds in Tucson and beyond.
The biggest misconception, he says?
That Satanists actually worship Satan, as a being.
In fact, they're atheists.
"It's more like what Satanism would represent," he explains.
In one word, experts say, it advocates indulgence.
"I have a saying that 'Freedom doesn't come from restraint.' Most other religions teach restraint," explaned Brown. "We emphasize the human because we're all human."
So, he says, if Satanists want to drink, they drink. If they want to eat, they eat.
But that freedom stops with those who want to kill innocent people.
"If that young lady killed as many people as she claims she killed, she is a sociopath," said Brown. "And she's probably a pathological liar, too."
Experts acknowledge, there are outside cults that act on their own, but they are not affiliated with the official church.
Though there are those who have their doubts.
9OYS reached out to several local Christian organizations.
None agreed to meet with us.