Hundreds of supporters gathered together in Detroit on the night of July 25 to celebrate the unveiling of the Satanic Temple's latest project, a nine-foot-tall one ton bronze statue of the deity Baphomet.https://twitter.com/djmeph/status/625150935602458624
Baphomet is an ancient Pagan idol with wings, a goat's head and hooves, and a human body. In modern times it is seen as a representation of duality and balance and is often associated with Occultism. The Temple originally had the statue created as part of a protest for equal rights for all religions and separation of church and state. The group planned to deliver it to Oklahoma in a bid to have it installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol next to a privately donated sculpture of the Ten Commandments. Last month the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Ten Commandments statue violated the state's constitution and should be removed, but so far the monument still stands.
The revelry to celebrate the statue of Baphomet took place at an industrial structure near the Detroit River. The building was a last minute replacement for the prior location, Bert’s Market Place. The Market Place's owner, Bert Dearing, returned the Temple's rental fee after supposedly discovering the organization's identity.
Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves refuted Dearing's claims, stating “the very contract specified that we are the Satanic Temple.” Greaves suspected that the cancellation was due to violent threats from Christian extremists on social media to "burn" and "destroy" the statue.
Despite the move to the new location, Christian protesters still gathered at the Market Place site earlier in the day.
The protest was organized by David Bullock, a pastor who had previously vociferously berated Satanic Temple representative Jex Blackmore on local Detroit television. Bullock stated, “We’re fighting for the soul of America. We’re fighting for the soul of the City of Detroit. ... The last thing we should do in Detroit is have a welcome party for the Devil.”
If Pastor Bullock and his followers (or anyone else protesting the statue) would do a little research, they would find out that the Temple is all about freedom and social justice, not evil. According to The Temple's website, the non-theistic organization sees Satan as "symbolic of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds."
The group's mission statement reads:
"The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Civic-minded, The Satanic Temple has been involved in a number of good works including taking a stand against the controversial and extremist Westboro Baptist Church, working on behalf of children in public school who have been subject to corporal punishment and more."
Granted, the Temple's name and imagery elicit attention and spark controversy and debate, which is exactly what the Temple wants. Through calm, level-headed, rational responses, the Temple often not only reinforces their own stances, but also successfully exposes the hypocrisy of the often hostile and circus-like protests against them. Let's not forget that religious freedom means freedom for ALL religions, not just the most popular ones.