The Satanic Temple is at it again. Driven by stories of religious symbolism on state and federally owned property, the Satanic Temple Detroit Chapter is about to join movements across the country to erect a statue honoring the Dark Lord soon.
The church plans on unveiling a nine-foot-tall bronze Baphomet statue like the kind in the picture — similar to one planned for Oklahoma that was unveiled last month.
The statue is "intended to complement and contrast the Ten Commandments monument that already resides on Oklahoma State Capitol grounds." (This new one is planned for Detroit, 14 News reports.)
It will serve "as a call-to-arms" to kick off a fight "in the name of individual rights to exercise against self-serving theocrats," the Temple told the news site.
A separate report from KXAN notes that the statue will be closer to "8 1/2 feet" and weigh close to 3,000 pounds.
Lucien Greaves, the group's co-founder, did not reveal where the Satanic Temple statue would be placed, stating that would come on the day of the event, and that "details will be sent to ticket holders only."
"Tickets are going to be pre-ordered to cut down on harassment... people threatening to burn the venue down. We've gotten those kinds of messages," Greaves said before adding, "If people don't want to come, they don't need to come."
Jex Blackmore, the chapter founder, pointed out that the Satanic Temple had chosen Detroit as a place of unveiling because of its "strong community" of supporters.
"We just have a good community over there," he said.
Bert's Market Place in Detroit's Eastern Market district was the original unveiling location, KXAN adds, but owner Bert Dearing refunded the group's $3,000 deposit when he discovered what they were going to do.
"Detroit is a very religious area," said Dearing. "When I rented the place, I just thought it was a church. I didn't know about the unveiling of a statue. We weren't aware they were into devil worshipping."
Just what does "devil worshipping" mean to the Satanic Temple?
It doesn't appear to be the kind you've heard about in horror movies. According to the group's website, being a "Satanist" means one should "strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason" and that beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world."
"We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs," the group's tenets state. "People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word."
Perhaps equally surprising has been this reaction from the other side -- Bishop Charles Ellis III, pastor of Greater Grace Temple, a 6,000-member megachurch in Detroit. In contrast to what Greaves said about some of the reactions he's been getting, Ellis preached tolerance.
"If we ask others to be tolerant of our religion, we are going to be asked to be tolerant of their religion as well," said Ellis. "Tolerable does not mean you have to practice what they practice or that you are condoning what they are practicing. I'm not saying I'm being accepting. I'm just saying I have no control over that."
Do you think the Satanic Temple is being intentionally provocative towards Christian people? Do you think statutes with religious significance of any kind should be allowed on state grounds? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image of Satanic Temple statue via 14News, linked above]