A local pastor says there’s no room for a Motor City Mephistopheles.
Reverend David Bullock is leading the fight against a nine-foot, one-ton rendering of a goat-headed occult idol planned for exhibition by the Satanic Temple.
“I think it’s despicable,” Bullock told Fox News. “I think it’s sickening. It’s a sad satire of spirituality. There’s no place for it in Detroit.”
"Is it even a religion? They think Satan is a literary figure like Dumbo. There’s no church of Dumbo”
- Reverend David Bullock
The Satanic Temple originally wanted the bronze figure Baphomet to be placed 1,000 miles southwest, next to a monument of the Ten Commandments on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds. But a state Supreme Court decision to remove the Ten Commandments caused the Temple to scrap that plan and consider a locale that still featured a display of the Judeo-Christian tablets – the Arkansas State Capitol.
“The message behind Baphomet is a reconciliation of the opposites, not this call to arms of one against one, but a merging of the two,” Director of the Detroit Satanic Temple chapter and national spokeswoman Jex Blackmore said. “That’s part of the reason that it can only exist standing next to the Ten Commandments. That’s part of the message. We wouldn’t want to proselytize as a single voice in the public square.”
Before applying for space in Arkansas, however, the Temple plans to unveil the statue of baphomet in Detroit on July 25 at a yet-to-be-revealed site. Detroit is the location of the Temple's first chapter and hosts a “strong, active community of Satanists,” according to Blackmore. A posting by the local Temple chapter for a now-cancelled unveiling event implored attendees to “Come dance with the Devil” and “Dress to impress the Devil.”
But despite the devilish lingo, the Temple adherents aren’t the robed, chanting demon worshippers of pop culture.
“The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people,” said Blackmore, who notes that the group’s concept of Satan is more literary than liturgical.
Still, Bullock said the pentagram-laden display sends the wrong message.
“We’re fighting against mass violence, shootings, unemployment,” Bullock said. “And it is not the right symbol, in terms of what we’re trying to brand the city of Detroit as being.”
Blackmore said any unveiling in Detroit will be private and those who are offended simply shouldn’t come.
“If we are to allow a dominant, bullying, institutional religious viewpoint to censor the viewpoint of a minority religious voice, everybody’s civic capacities have suffered,” she said.
Bullock, however, doesn’t think the issue is about religious freedom.
“The real conversation we need to have is, is it even a religion?” he said. “They think Satan is a literary figure like Dumbo. There’s no church of Dumbo.”