DETROIT — At least 100 people attended the unveiling of a Satanic statue depicting Baphomet being flanked by children on Saturday—a statue that was originally intended to be placed at the Oklahoma state capitol and now may be the subject of an effort to erect it next to a Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas.
As previously reported, the New York-based Satanic Temple had scheduled the unveiling for July 25th in Detroit, Michigan. The group says that it chose Detroit because it has a “good community” of followers, with over 200 members, billing the event as “a night of chaos, noise, and debauchery.”
“Come dance with the Devil and experience history in the making,” its invitation read.
But a group of pastors decided to rally against the event, and also contacted the owner of the event venue, Bert’s Warehouse, to request that the Baphomet unveiling be canceled. Owner Bert Dearing told the Associated Press that when he realized who had booked the event and what his facility would be used for, he gave the Satanic Temple their money back.
Additionally, due to opposition, the Satanic Temple moved the event to secret venue in the city and ticketed attendance to keep opponents out. On Saturday, some attendees wore black or donned devil’s horns as they stood outside waiting to enter a warehouse in downtown Detroit.
However, according to reports, once attendees entered the building, they were sent to a second location—just to throw off opponents as to the event’s whereabouts.
But some still found the venue and protested against the event as they drove by. Online video also captured the unveiling, which took place at approximately 11:30 p.m. Attendees shouted “Hail Satan” as two shirtless men pulled off the cloth that covered the Baphomet and then embraced and kissed each other in front of the statue.
In the meantime, approximately 50 people stood outside of the original venue, Bert’s Warehouse, to pray against Satanism in Detroit.
“We’re fighting for the soul of America. We’re fighting for the soul of the City of Detroit,” David Bullock, pastor of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park, told those gathered. “The last thing we should do in Detroit is have a welcome party for the Devil.”
“Satan has no place in this city, or any other city,” James Bluford of Rochester Hills likewise prayed out as attendees joined together to pray as the event took place.
As previously reported, the Satanic Temple had raised funds in 2013 to have the statue created in its effort to make a statement about the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma state capitol, and sought to have the Baphomet monument placed next to the Ten Commandments display.
It issued a news release about its intentions following the filing of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which asserted that the presence of the Ten Commandments display on government property violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The Satanic Temple said that it offered to to donate a statue of Baphomet to be placed near the Ten Commandments display in order to “appease the ACLU’s concerns.”
“The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures,” spokesperson Lucien Greaves explained in his application to the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission. “The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation.”
Last May, it was announced that the statue was nearing completion, which features the goat-headed figure Baphomet making the sign for the occult as he sits upon a throne with a pentagram overhead. Children fixate their eyes upon him on both sides.
In September, Seventh District Court Judge Thomas Prince concluded that the Ten Commandments monument serves a historical purpose and is not solely the presentment of a religious message as it sits on a plot of land that contains 51 other expressive monuments.
But the case was then appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled last month that the monument violates the state Constitution’s prohibition on using government property to support a religion. The case is now on appeal.
Although the Oklahoma decision consequently resulted in the group nixing its plans to place the monument next to the Ten Commandments display, the Satanic Temple now says that it will seek to erect the monument adjacent to a similar Decalogue display in Arkansas.
The Satanic Temple asserts that they are neither Devil worshipers or atheists.
“We consider ourselves non-theistic Satanists,” Detroit spokesperson Jex Blackmore told the Metro Times. “Just as much as we get people who think that we’re into the biblical concept of Satan, we get people who think that we’re just posing as Satanists, and not truly Satanists or whatever you would say. Non-theistic Satanism is part of modern Satanism.”