A SOCIAL networking site claims it wants to set up a devil worshipping church in Blackburn.

‘Say YES to Blackburn £1m Church of Satan’ was launched on Facebook on Wednesday allegedly by people worshipping the devil.

Since it was posted online 138 people have joined the group.

It is thought the site may be a protest against organised religion in the town.

The site has been critcised by religious leaders who say some people joining it might think ‘it is just a bit of a joke’ but the concept behind it is deeply offensive.

A spokesman for the group said all of its members were ‘mature adults from the Lancashire area’ and that it was a ‘serious group intent on making a point’.

He said: “The question was asked about freedom of choice to express views religious or not, provided they don't interfere with anyone else.

“We strongly believe that people of all backgrounds, creed and cultures have the right to worship their deity if they so choose.”

The group categorically states it is in no way connected to the American Church of Satan but is less clear on its affiliations with the UK Church of Satan.

Speaking on behalf of the Diocese of Blackburn, Rev Graham Sawley, said; “Anything to do with Satan is evil.

“The Church of Satan is therefore evil as is anyone involved with it. Anyone dabbling in evil and the occult needs to be extremely careful and should stay away.

“Evil is the complete absence of good, therefore anyone who is involves themselves could suffer extreme adverse consequences. The advice from the church is to stay away from it.”

The group claims it wants to raise £1million in donations to set up the church.

But the majority of comments poke fun at the idea.

For instance the Thwaites building has been suggested as a possible site once the company moves out because of the luminous red lettering on the side of the building.

The spokesman said: “We don't expect everyone to like the idea. People haven't liked the idea of other religious centres being set up in the area, so we don't expect a 100 per cent acceptance rate. At the moment we're testing the water and the feedback so far has been encouraging.”

Former Hyndburn vicar, Rev Kevin Logan, said: “I wrote a book called ‘Satanism and the Occult’ back in the 1990’s.

“As part of my research I looked at 300 court cases with the defendant blaming their actions on Satanism.

“Amazingly people accused of all sorts of crimes including murder said their beliefs made them do this.

“Obviously, when it gets to this stage it can cause real damage to the individual and society. This site is clearly going to cause offence.”