Debate over Satanic statue devolves into shouting match as Detroit pastor berates ‘non-theist’ Satanist
A discussion between the Satanic Temple’s Detroit chapter president and a local Christian pastor devolved into a shouting match as tempers flared over the Temple’s planned unveiling of a goat-headed Baphomet sculpture this month.
The local Detroit MyFox station paired the Temple’s Jex Blackmore and Pastor David Bullock of the Greater Saint Matthew Baptist Church in panel called “Let It Rip,” and they did.
Bullock has been at the forefront of Christian opposition to the Satanic Temple’s 8-foot-tall bronze statue that was set to be unveiled on July 25 in public. The “Unveiling” is now being held in private because of threats.
“There is deep misunderstanding about Satanism as a religion in all of its various forms, because Satanism and the term ‘Satanic’ has been used as a political tool to demonize individuals who rebelled against systems of authority and power,” Blackmore said.
She said the group is a non-theistic organization that has “political and activist undertones… We understand Satan not in the Judeo-Christian concept, but in the literary and philosophical history” in which Satan is an anti-tyranny figure.
This prompted Bullock to challenge her because the group doesn’t worship Satan as a deity in the sense that Christians worship.
“If you don’t believe in the devil, why call yourself a Satanist,” Bullock asked. “Either your group is this strong, powerful group that is expressing themselves, or you’re being terrorized… Either the devil exists, or the devil doesn’t.”
Blackmore responded that the idea that a religion has to be focused on a supernatural god is “offensive.”
At the end of the segment, Bullock launched into what sounded like a sermon.
“What people believe matters,” he said as the host told him they were out of time. “Dylann Roof believed in white supremacy, he killed nine black folks in a church.”
The Satanic Temple received a number of threats after announcing they’d unveil the Baphomet statue on commercial property, including threats to “burn it down” or “blow it up real good.” They’ve moved to a secret location at a ticket-only event. After the unveiling, the group is currently planning on moving the Baphomet to the statehouse in Arkansas, where officials are planning to set a Ten Commandments monument.
After vowing to move their Satanic sculpture to Oklahoma’s statehouse to counter a Ten Commandments monument there, the state Supreme Court ruled public property couldn’t be used for religious displays.
The group has been an effective foil to conservative Christian claims to theocratic dominance, using language in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act intended to favor Christians to challenge abortion waiting periods, according to the New York Times.
They first gained notice in 2012 when then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott was pushing to allow voluntary prayer at public schools.
“So we created this mock rally in support of Rick Scott where we were coming out to say how happy we were because now our Satanic children could pray to Satan in school,” co-founder Malcolm Jarry told the Times.
The purpose of moving the Baphomet statue to capitols where lawmakers place Christian displays is to counter-balance them and “reaffirm that we live in a pluralistic nation that respects diversity and religious liberty,” co-founder Lucien Greaves told Fox’s Megyn Kelly in a recent interview.
In an email to Raw Story, Greaves said Bullock has actively stoked “misinformation and hysteria” about the statue unveiling.
“In light of the recent threats we have been receiving against ourselves and our monument unveiling event, we have reached out to Pastor Bullock asking if he might condemn [the] threats of violence against us that his hysteria-mongering has provoked,” Greaves wrote. “He has failed to reply.”