Last month, there was a controversy in Oklahoma when the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu church scheduled a Black Mass at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. In case you’re unfamiliar, a Black Mass distorts and inverts a traditional Catholic Mass, and that offends certain Catholics who believe their traditions are the only ones that matter and cannot be mocked in any way. What really sets them off is the fact that a supposedly consecrated communion wafer may be used in the evening’s festivities.
Because the Civic Center is a public facility, officials had no choice but to allow the ritual to take place there. Even if the symbolism is offensive to some, it’s not reason enough to reject the group.
“This ‘Black Mass’ is a disgusting mockery of the Catholic faith, and it should be equally repellent to Catholics and non-Catholics alike,” said Fallin. “It may be protected by the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t condemn it in the strongest terms possible for the moral outrage which it is. It is shocking and disgusting that a group of New York City ‘satanists’ would travel all the way to Oklahoma to peddle their filth here. I pray they realize how hurtful their actions are and cancel this event.”
The black mass in Oklahoma City reportedly is being organized by the Satanic Temple of New York City, which last year submitted plans for a public monument of a seated Satan on the state Capitol grounds to counter a monument of the Ten Commandments.
Coakley is asking the court to require the Oklahoma County sheriff to obtain the Eucharistic host from the Satanist group and deliver it to him. The lawsuit says that in order for an unauthorized individual to have a consecrated host, he or she would have had to have obtained it through illicit means such as theft or fraud.
In the lawsuit, Coakley said the consecrated host — typically a small unleavened wafer of bread — is considered sacred by Catholic Christians. It is an integral part of the Eucharist, also called Holy Communion.
The lawsuit calls for a return of the wafer and an injunction against its destruction.
To summarize, a Satanic group is being sued for stealing a piece of Jesus… they’re being sued over a symbol.
Keep in mind the Satanic group in question hasn’t said where they obtained the wafer from and there’s no indication they walked into a church and stole it.
So I’ll raise this hypothetical: What if someone attended a church, had a wafer placed on their tongue, didn’t swallow it, walked out with it, and then handed it over to the Satanic group?
Is that theft? Sounds more like regifting to me.
For what it’s worth, in 2008, a University of Central Florida student who pocketed a wafer he got in church got in all sorts of trouble. But the issue there was a moral/ethical one, not a question of theft.
You can argue that using a consecrated wafer is disrespectful. You can argue that it’s unethical. But unless they walked into a church and swiped the wafers somewhere between the storage closet and Mass, I don’t think there’s a legal argument for theft to be made here.
The defendants named in the lawsuit, resident Adam Daniels and Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, are calling this whole thing frivolous:
He said the archdiocese’s efforts will backfire.
“It will not work. We are not cancelling. We are moving forward,” said Daniels, who also threatened to “sue everybody I can sue” for defamation of character. He added that the court has 14 days to serve him with the lawsuit.
“They have two weeks to serve me, if they can find me,” Daniels said.
That’s… um… mature.
I’m not defending what this Satanist group is doing, by the way. I think it’s pretty childish. But it is legal, and they have every right to exercise their freedom of speech. Assuming they obtained the wafer through legal means, that is.