After weeks of speculation and protests by Christian leaders in Detroit, the unthinkable took place.
Just after 11 p.m. on July 25, a satanic organization unveiled a 9-foot statue of the goat-headed Baphomet, a pagan symbol of Lucifer. The 1-ton statue features two young children looking up adoringly at the devil.
Leaders of the Satanic Temple have been saying for weeks they planned to unveil the statue somewhere in Detroit and leave it there temporarily before moving it to Arkansas, where they plan to set it beside the Ten Commandments at the State Capitol. This is the same statue they attempted to erect months ago in the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Nine Detroit preachers have done battle with the Satanic Temple, protesting the statue being brought to their city and pleading with the city not to allow it.
“They got kicked out of Boston, Oklahoma didn’t want them, they tried to put (it) up in Florida, that was shut down,” said David Bullock of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Detroit at a recent news conference. “Now they come to Detroit. Why do they come to Detroit?”
“We gather together to stand, as one unit, against this demonic spirit,” said Pastor Don Shelby of Burning Bush International Ministries.
Area Catholics held a special mass aimed at countering the spirit of the Satanists.
About 250 parishioners and supporters gathered Saturday morning at St. Joseph Catholic Church to pray for Detroit.
The Satanic Temple eventually got its way, as city leaders allowed them put up their statue.
The chosen site was the Lauhoff Corporation building in the Rivertown Warehouse District.
ChurchMilitant.com found the location, and several of its staff infiltrated the building, “where a loud party was in full swing,” the Catholic group said on its website.
“An earlier downpour had come through the roof and flooded the dance floor, and approximately 100 people milled around the dark, smoke-filled room. As the rain ceased, more people trickled in, and towards midnight the number went up to about 400. On one side of the room stood an inverted red cross, and on the other the nine-foot-tall statue of Baphomet, covered in a white sheet.”
But Church Militant brought their own version of a heavenly statue, only instead of a fallen angel, theirs was a sculpture of the Archangel Michael.
Church Militant had a 6-foot bronze statue of the archangel, which they hauled in a flatbed truck and prayed the prayer of St. Michael while encircling the site three times.
Church Militant described the scene of the unveiling on its website:
“At 11 p.m., two men in leather S&M attire grabbed each side of the sheet and yanked it off, to loud applause and shouting. The men then stood directly in front of the monument and began kissing lewdly while the crowd cheered, and afterwards a steady stream of VIP ticket holders — who had paid $75 for the chance to approach the statue — took turns sitting on Baphomet’s lap while engaging in sexual groping, mostly homosexual in nature.”
Church Militant also crashed the indoor “unveiling party” and photographed the satanic supporters – and while some interviewed by a local TV station said they don’t actually worship Satan others did describe themselves as anti-Christian. Visible in one of the photographs is an illuminated, upside-down cross.
Satanic party-goers paid $25 for a ticket, and $75 to get photographed on Baphomet’s lap.
“We brought our six-foot bronze statue of St. Michael, who normally rests in our Abp. Fulton J. Sheen studio, as a counter-witness to the blasphemous goat-headed statue of Baphomet, meant to represent Satan,” the Catholic group said on its website. “According to Scripture, St. Michael is the angel who did battle against Lucifer and cast him out of Heaven into the Abyss.”
The Satanic Temple chose Detroit last year as home to its national chapter house.
“Detroit is our first and primary chapter,” spokesman Doug Mesner told the Detroit Metro Times. “We feel at home in Detroit.”
The Metro Times had previously referred to the Satanic Temple as “atheist” but was quickly corrected.
“The Satanic Temple has taken issue with our description of the organization as an “atheist activist group.” We apologize for the misrepresentation,” the newspaper said on its website.
The group’s request to place the satanic monument next to the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol was rejected. Mesner told Detroit Metro Times that the group is gearing up for a lawsuit against Oklahoma.