When the Ten Commandments statue was sitting on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds, The Satanic Temple built a monument to counter it. It was a nearly-9-foot-tall, bronze, goat-headed Baphomet, sitting cross-legged and flanked by two smiling kids:
It included this statement on the front:
“The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.”
The back of the statue had a passage from Lord Byron’s Cain along with a quotation by William Blake:
Then who was the Demon? He
Who would not let ye live, or he who would
Have made ye live forever, in the joy
And power of Knowledge?
“Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.”
That statue was built with the help of $28,000, raised online early last year. (The total cost was more than $100,000, with the additional costs raised by benefactors and people associated with the Temple.)
Now we know it won’t end up in Oklahoma. After the state’s Supreme Court said the Christian monument was unconstitutional, there was no need for Baphomet to make an appearance there. But now that Arkansas will be putting up its own Ten Commandments monument, that could be the statue’s next destination.
Before any of that happens, though, the statue needs to be unveiled. The plan was to show it publicly for the first time in a couple of weeks in Detroit… but that even has been hit with some major setbacks.
First, the original location for the event didn’t work out so well:
The statue was to have been unveiled July 25 at Bert’s Market Place in Detroit’s Eastern Market district, but Bert Dearing said he gave the group back it’s $3,000 rental fee when he learned who booked the place.
“Detroit is a very religious area,” Dearing 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.“
Spokesperson Lucien Greaves told me a very different story last night:
The very contract specified that we are The Satanic Temple. We were explicitly clear regarding the nature of the event, and we also warned in advance that there could be controversy.
Indeed, the contract Greaves filled out makes very clear what group he’s involved with. Dearing probably didn’t care until the publicity began.
Then there are the direct threats, forcing Greaves to keep the new location a secret until the day of the event:
“Tickets are going to be pre-ordered to cut down on harassment … people threatening to burn the venue down,” Greaves said. “We’ve gotten those kinds of messages.”
“If people don’t want to come, they don’t need to come,” he added.
Greaves said he reported the threats to authorities. The AP left a message Monday seeking comment from Detroit police.
Here’s an example of what Greaves has been seeing in his social media (I’ve redacted the identifying information):
It’s astonishing to me how dangerous this monument appears to be to casual observers. People don’t want to be seen with it. They see it as a threat. They can’t bear the thought of someone else’s faith-based symbol sharing space with their faith-based symbol.
If you’re in the Detroit area, and you want to attend the unveiling, you’ll have to get a ticket in advance. Be safe.
(Thanks to Tyler for the link)