FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show John Kerry With The Church Of Satan’s Founder?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A viral image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry with Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey.

Verdict: False

The image has been altered and combines a photo of Kerry and a photo of LaVey.

Fact Check:

The image in the Facebook post, which has been shared over 1,000 times, seemingly shows part of a newspaper article from the San Francisco Chronicle featuring an image of Kerry and LaVey and bearing the headline, “Fundraiser: Strange Bedfellows. LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966 and died in 1997, the Washington Post reported.

The caption of the alleged photo of Kerry and LaVey reads: “PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: Anton La Vey, high priest of the Church of Satan, meets with noted attorney John Kerry at CISPES function.”

The supposed article recounts how Kerry and LaVey supposedly met at a fundraiser during which Kerry purportedly said, “I believe that God is within each one of us, that each individual partakes of divinity.” It claims LaVey called that belief “congruent with the spirit of ‘true Satanism,'” and stated, “We believe in neither God nor the Devil. We believe in the individual.”

In reality, the image does not contain a genuine photo of LaVey with Kerry. The purported photo is actually a composite of two separate photos of Kerry and LaVey with other people that have been flipped.

The original photo of Kerry shows him with clown performer Rami Salami, who posted it on his Facebook page in 2011. In the original photo, Kerry is on the left side.

“Rami Salami & John Kerry at Lenny Zakim’s Birthday Party,” the Facebook caption reads. (RELATED: Did Pope Francis Say God Instructed Him To ‘Revise The Ten Commandments’?)

The photo of LaVey originates from a 1994 picture of him with singer Marilyn Manson that appeared in a 2015 Rolling Stone article. Rolling Stone credited the photo to the Church of Satan and LaVey’s wife, Blanche Barton. LaVey is to the right of Manson, and the background of that photo is the same as the one in the photo altered to feature him and Kerry together.

The image in the Facebook post doesn’t show a real San Francisco Chronicle article, either. No mention of LaVey and Kerry meeting appears anywhere on the newspaper’s website. The San Francisco Chronicle’s archive featuring articles from 1865 onwards likewise doesn’t include any report by the publication of such a meeting taking place.

The doctored photo has been circulating online for years, with Snopes debunking it in 2004.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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