June 8th, 2012
06:20 PM ET
Court says lawsuit of 'Vampsh Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest' is 'frivolous'
By Eric Fiegel, CNN
(CNN) - A man who said his religious freedom to practice "Vampirism" is being violated in prison won't have his day, or even night, in court.
While vampires are a big business, with the "Twilight Saga" film series raking in billions of dollars and HBO's "True Blood" returning on Sunday for its fifth season, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans would not bite on the case.
The popularity of the preternatural beings didn’t make it into the courtroom and on Thursday the court dismissed the case, saying it was "frivolous."
Courtney Royal, who is also known as "Vampsh (sic) Black Sheep League of Doom Gardamun Family Circle Master Vampire High Priest" on court documents, filed the suit two years ago against the Alfred Hughes Unit, a Texas prison and its administrators, including the warden and chaplain, because he wasn't allowed to "properly practice my religion of Vampirism," court records showed.
Royal is serving a life sentence in Gatesville, Texas, for several charges related to aggravated assaults and robberies with a deadly weapon, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
While in prison he said he hoped vampirism would be recognized by officials and that he would have the ability to practice the faith which included having access to religious items, special dietary needs and a spiritual adviser. He specifically requested "rugs, rode, (and) beads." Royal claims all of these requests were denied by the prison. It wasn't clear whether "rode" is an esoteric needful thing or just a typo.
The 40-year-old argued in court documents that his "religious belief consisted of West African spiritualism and 18th century Catholicism."
Royal went on to say that vampires drinking blood is "no different than the unproven Christian belief in forgiveness through the blood of Christ-Jesus."
Christians believe that Jesus' death on the cross was an atoning sacrifice for the sin of mankind and that through his death and subsequent resurrection, believers can have eternal life in heaven.
Folklore says that vampires are undead, and need to drink blood in order to survive.
"The only true difference in (Royal's) religious practice and Christianity was the traditional perspective of the practice," Royal stated in the court briefs.
Royal was also seeking $150,000 in damages for court costs and "mental anguish.”
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.