A technician in the Royal Navy has become the first serviceman in Britain's armed forces to be officially recognised as a Satanist, the Defence Ministry said today.

Chris Cranmer, 24, has been given the go-ahead by his captain to perform Satanic rituals on board the HMS Cumberland and is reportedly lobbying his employers to register Satanism as an official religion in the armed forces.

"There is a guy who has asked to practice his (Satanic) beliefs on a Royal Navy ship," a Defence Ministry spokesman told AFP.

"His request was treated sympathetically by the ship's commanding officer."

Mr Cranmer holds the rank of leading hand - the naval equivalent of corporal - and in line with British naval tradition will be permitted to have a funeral carried out by the Church of Satan should he be killed in action.

He realised he was a Satanist nine years ago after stumbling across a copy of the Satanic Bible written by Church of Satan founder Anton Szandor LaVey, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

"I then read more and more and came to realise I'd always been a Satanist, just simply never knew," he was quoted as saying.

The Church of Satan was established in San Francisco in 1966 and LaVey was its high priest until his death in 1997.


http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems...0/s1226724.htm