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The Satanic Temple of Detroit threw off protesters of their unveiling of a demonic statue by leaking word that the event would take place in one place but holding it in another.
In addition, in an apparent attempt to weed out Christian moles who might disrupt the presentation of the statue, the Satanic Temple required everyone who had a ticket (for which they paid $25 and up) to sign a quasi-legal document in which they agreed to “transfer” their soul to Satan.
“I agree that by signing this document under any name, given or adopted, actual or pseudonymous, I am hereby avowing my soul to Satan (aka Abbadon, aka Lucifer, aka Beelzebub, aka The Antichrist),” the document read in part. “I do so knowing that He (aka The Fallen One, aka The Father of Lies) or any of His representatives may choose to collect my eternal soul at any time, with or without notice. I understand that my signature or mark representing any name, real or made up, upon these papers constitutes a lasting and eternal contract, and that there will be no further negotiations on the matter of my eternal soul.”
Any serious Christian who had any thought to slip in would certainly take pause before signing the document.
But if you were one of the 700 who agreed to sign, you’d be in for a revelry of punk music and public displays of affection among scantily-clad persons of a range of genders. Above the band was a suspended cross—hung upside down—and on the front of the stage was a logo with the words “This is my body, this is my blood.”
For the main event, two shirtless men held candles on either side of the statue and unveiled it shortly before midnight, upon which the men embraced each other with a kiss on the lips.
The unveiling revealed a nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Baphomet, a goat-headed winged human figure with horns and hoofs. He is seated, flanked by a boy and a girl, and rests beneath a pentagram.
Fear not. The pseudonymous Jex Blackmore, who directs the Satanic Temple’s Detroit chapter and organized the unveiling, told TIME Sunday that Baphomet symbolizes a “reconciliation of opposites, emblematic of the willingness to embrace, and even celebrate differences.”
The Satanic Temple holds to the basic premise that undue suffering is bad, and that which reduces suffering is good. We do not believe in symbolic “evil.”
“The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people,” the group’s website states.
Time continued in its report:
wrote for The Daily Beast last year, “a literary figure, not a deity — he stands for rationality, for skepticism, for speaking truth to power, even at great personal cost.”
America magazine. He noted in a column that the Satanic Temple claims it is simply exercising their right to “religious freedom,” and “placing the statue there is a counterpoint to those who have erected, or wish to erect representations of the Ten Commandments, and other similar Christian symbols.”
The group hopes to display Baphomet at the Arkansas State Capitol, next to a monument of the Ten Commandments.
But they should know that they are “playing with fire,” Father Martin said:
These people have no clue what kind of forces they are dealing with. In my life as a Jesuit priest, and especially as a spiritual director, I have seen people struggling with real-life evil. In the Spiritual Exercises, his classic manual on prayer, St. Ignatius Loyola calls this force either the “evil spirit” or “the enemy of human nature.” Sophisticated readers may smile, but this is a real force, as real as the force that draws one to God. Moreover, there is a certain identifiable sameness about the way that the “enemy” works in people’s lives. I have seen this. And after all, Ignatius’s comments reflect not only his own experience in prayer, but also his experience in helping others to pray. He was even able to describe some of the ways that the evil spirit works, and this also jibes with my experience: like a spoiled child (wanting to get his way); like a “false lover” (wanting us not to reveal our selfish motivations and plans); and like an “army commander” (attacking us at our weakest point). Pope Francis has also spoken
frequently about the presence of evil in the world and of Satan. Again, some may laugh, but the pope is, again, speaking about something that is not only part of Christian belief, but quite well known among spiritual directors.
In other words, I’m not describing only about my belief, but my experience. Evil is real. How Satan fits into this, I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that a personified force is behind this. There is a certain “intelligence,” if you will, and a sameness, as St. Ignatius identified. As C.S. Lewis said about Satan, “I’m not particular about the horns and hooves, but yes I believe.” Me too.
So while the Satanic Temple may smile at their victory, and the mainstream media might chuckle at the “Gotcha” moment vis-à-vis other religious groups (If the Ten Commandments, then why not Satan?) my fear is directed in another place. I recall all those stories I read and heard about Satan, and I think: You have no idea what you’re dealing with.
Earlier on Saturday, 200-250 people attended Mass at St. Joseph Church in a protest against the Satanic event. The Archdiocese of Detroit declined to comment on the unveiling of Baphomet or the group behind it.