Unmasking the Satanic Temple
By Joseph Pelletier, member of the PAUSE program
For the past few weeks, the Satanic Temple has been in the spotlight concerning the controversial unveiling of a satanic statue in downtown Detroit. The Temple, by its nature, is a reclusive and shadowy organization, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that even when given center stage it masks and skirts around the true intentions of its agenda: the destruction of the Catholic Church.
In an interview that aired earlier this month on WJBK-TV, president of the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple Jex Blackmore, in defending her beliefs, played the role of victim, claiming that there is a "deep misunderstanding about satanism as a religion" and that satanism is simply "a non-theistic religious organization that has political and activist undertones" (a description that contradicts itself, as theism is the essence of religion). According to Blackmore, "We understand Satan not in the Judeo-Christian concept, but in a literary and philosophical history in which Satan is a cultural hero" who rebelled against "systems of authority and power."
Despite her argument (and attempts to garner sympathy), this definition is essentially indistinguishable from the Judeo-Christian interpretation: Satan is the quintessential revolutionary who rejected the rule of the Ultimate Authority. However, the Temple's definition of Lucifer differs in one key area: They deny his existence.
The saying goes: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist," for if there is a Prince of Darkness, there must also be a Prince of Light. In admitting that they believe in Satan as a being, the Satanic Temple must also acknowledge the existence of God, and in acknowledging the existence of God they must acknowledge His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is, of course, less beneficial to their cause to openly admit they seek to undermine the foundations of the Church than it is to hide their intentions under the guise of the pursuit of reason and scientific understanding. Therefore, they must, as they have, claim the erection of a satanic statue at the Oklahoma state capitol is not to mock Christianity but instead to create dialogue. "The purpose of the monument," explains Blackmore, "is to stand in contrast and conversation with established religious icons such as the 10 Commandments."
If one actually needs proof that the very existence of the Satanic Temple is to mock the Catholic Church, one need not look farther than its website. The tab icon features an inverted cross, a direct perversion of the Crucifixion, as do multiple photographs taken inside the Temple. President Blackmore can also be seen wearing the upside-down cross around her neck in several photographs. This itself is acknowledgement that despite claims to equally oppose all "theistic religions," there exists a particularly strong animosity toward Christianity.
The Detroit Temple also made headlines in December for creating a display known as the "Snaketivity Scene." The satanic alternative to the Nativity featured a snake wrapped around a cross. A banner on the cross read "The Greatest Gift is Knowledge," and a copy of the book Revolt of the Angels sat at its base. Again, this only further solidifies the argument that the purpose of the Satanic Temple is to specifically pervert the traditions and beliefs of Christians.
According to the official Introductory Primer of the Satanic Temple, one of its featured campaigns (which also includes support for so-called "marriage equality") is the "Pink Mass." Described as a ceremony "designed to 'make the deceased gay in the after-life,'" the ritual includes the reading of scriptures, lighting of candles and ceremonial proceedings that involve two homosexuals kissing over the grave of the deceased while a High Priest, complete with horns, oversees the act. This begs the question: If the Satanic Temple seeks to merely join the ranks of other religions and be accepted as merely an alternative to "theistic religion," then why call grave desecration a Mass? Why take the name of the integral part of the Catholic faith and defile it by association with a graphic ritual? The answers are abundantly clear.
To make matters worse, the archdiocese of Detroit has been absent amid the controversy. Remaining inactive or apathetic toward a situation that requires one's diect condemnation is nearly tantamount to complicity. Faithful Catholic opposition has not been wholly absent, however. Many local churches have taken it on themselves to hold special Masses of Reparation and Holy Hours specifically scheduled on July 25, the day of the unveiling. "We wanted to do something," says Teresa Chisholm , a parishioner of St. Joseph Catholic Church on Jay Street in Detroit, "and the Mass is the most powerful prayer. So it seemed fitting to have a Mass along with confession, to repent for our own sins and to pray in reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus."
Assumption Grotto Church, on Gratiot Ave, will also hold a Mass at 10 a.m. on July 25, followed by a Holy Hour and the Sacrament of Confession.