While they supposedly worship what pop culture envisages as the purveyor of evil, the Satanic Temple has been turned into the victims in Detroit for wanting to do the otherwise run-of-the-mill activity of erecting a religious statue.
The group had plans to unveil an 8.5-foot tall, 1.5-ton bronze statue of the Lord of Darkness, a goat-headed figure also known as a Baphomet, on the property of a local restaurant July 25, but the owner backed out after renting space to them. The temple has received threats, forcing them to unveil the statue at a secret, ticket-only event.
“Tickets are going to be pre-ordered to cut down on harassment … people threatening to burn the venue down,” the group’s co-founder Lucien Greaves told the Associated Press. “We’ve gotten those kinds of messages.”
Some of the messages included the following, according to an email from the Satanic Temple to Raw Story:
“Let’s burn the statue down!”
“Better be safe the building might fall down lol”
“This Is complete bullsh*t.I can’t wait until we take this bitch down and f*ck it up. F*ck Satan!”
“I bet it would blow up real good.”
“A wise women told me to stay away from Eastern Market that night. And if your going, you just might leave with a parting gift you didn’t even ask for or never wanted.”
The group initially planned to unveil the statue on July 25 in public, but the owner of the space told the AP he gave them their $3,000 in rental money back when he learned it was the Satanic Temple.
“Detroit is a very religious area,” Bert Dearing of Bert’s Marketplace said. “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.”
But according to a rental contract with the property owner provided to Raw Story and dated June 16, the group wrote they represented the Satanic Temple.
The $100,000 statue was initially crafted for installation at the Oklahoma state capitol to coincide with the placing of a Ten Commandments monument there.
But perhaps influenced by the prospect of the goat-headed, winged, pentagram-bearing sculpture countering the Christian one, the state Supreme Court ruled that religious displays on public grounds were prohibited by the state constitution. The Satanic Temple claimed the decision as a victory, according to the New York Times.
Greaves told the AP the Temple is now planning to move the statue to the Arkansas state house in Little Rock, where officials are also planning a Ten Commandments monument.
At the upcoming, ticket-only “Unveiling,” the Satanic Temple is promising a night of “chaos, noise, and debauchery… a hedonistic celebration,” along with provocative performances and artwork, according to the event page.
“Never before seen in public, The Satanic Temple Baphomet monument is already the most controversial and politically charged contemporary work of art in the world.”