America`s slide away from a Bible-based culture has left a vacuum for many of Satan`s counterfeits to fill. Spiritism, and other forms of pagan superstition are growing as a result.
When the slaves of Africa were captured and brought into the Caribbean and southern states, they brought with them customs of animal sacrifice to idols and the demons behind them.
One of these came with the natives of Yoruba. Their pantheon of gods were called orishas and contained some half dozen principal ones in charge of such things as labor, war, justice, mental health, prosperity and mother of the world. Sold as slaves to mainly Roman Catholic land owners, they were pressured to convert to Catholicism.
Their response was to continue their ritual sacrifices and ceremonies, but rename their gods after the pope`s idols of the Virgin Mary and the various saints who were in charge of the same domains as the orishas.
A current example of this mixture is the ceremonies of Santeria. The rituals are primarily composed of demon-led dancing, spell casting and other superstitions.
The movement began in Cuba and other Caribbean islands and spread with immigration into the southern states of Florida and Louisiana.
In 2001, there were some 22,000 known members of Santeria in the U.S. with many thousands more scattered throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal. A variation called Candomble is popular in Brazil along with other similar Afro-American religions, all with demon interactions.
Vatican officials are not necessarily happy with this blend of Catholicism and demon worship. But Santeria type rituals fit nicely into the other demon-centered pagan practices that have been incorporated into Vatican tradition over the centuries.
Today, in parts of Cuba, the terms orisha and Santero are used interchangeably. In fact, some Santeria groups require that candidates for membership be also baptized as Catholics.
As illustrated in the new Chick tract, Evil Eyes, some priests serve dual roles of Roman priests and Santeria priests called "Santeros." Central to the Santeria religion are the local botanicas. Here members can purchase good luck charms, get fortunes read in cigar smoke, or rock and shell patterns.
The botanicas are often run by Santeria priests or other spiritual guides who dispense advice about daily problems or even provide spell casting for good or evil.
Since Satan has few new ideas, all of the pagan-based religions feature divinations, spells, ritual dancing, often to the urging of drums and chanting.
They trade in jujus, amulets, relics and potions that feed on various forms of superstition.
Idols are endowed with special powers requiring offerings, worship, parades and processionals.
The new tract, Evil Eyes, is written with a Santeria-based story but the basic concepts apply to almost all the pagan cults. It can be used to reach those who participate in one of these demon-worshiping cults and also inoculate those who might be considering joining.