Veterans Memorial Park in Belle Plaine, Minnesota is home to a controversial monument featuring a kneeling soldier in front of a Christian cross.
It’s been at the center of a months-long debate over whether it illegally promotes religion — but since city officials voted to keep it in the park, the only way to stay on the right side of the law was to make the park an open forum that allowed other monuments to go up as well. That’s when The Satanic Temple sprung into action.
You can read the full backstory here, but the long and short of it is that the Freedom From Religion Foundation warned the city that the current Christian monument was illegal. Officials had a choice: Take it down or allow other displays in the park. They decided to allow other displays.
So the Satanists submitted a proposal for this glorious display:
There’s actually a lot of symbolism to that monument, according to artist Chris P. Andres:
… The four pentagrams recall the four corners of the earth — they serve as a reminder to the viewer of the soldiers that sacrificed. The empty helmet is now a Baphometic bowl of wisdom, a void, a protective vessel of the mind and intellect — memories of the fallen can be psychically deposited, physical notes, names, fruit offering can be left in the monument…
It’s lovely, hilarious, and a perfect antidote to the promotion of Christianity by the local government.
But this week, a local Catholic priest flipped out at a city council meeting, saying that the Satanic display would invite ALL THE HORRORS.
“The inverted pentagrams on the Satanic monument proposed by the Satanic Temple will prompt young people to consider Satanism for themselves and to reject the good moral behavior required for an ordered and peaceful society,” said Father [Brian] Lynch in his address to the city council.
“The monument may also attract pre-existing Satanists to our community as a place for theistic Satanic ritual activities that victimize our children,” he said.
It could lead to a “form of grooming similar to that used by pedophiles,” Father Lynch said, which “Satanists use … to erode a child’s trust in caring authority figures including their parents, teachers and police officers.”
“This grooming is intended to not only make children afraid to report the abuse they suffer at the hands of Satanists, but also, to feel personally responsible for the evil they have suffered as youthful victims,” Father Lynch added. “Most disturbing is the fact that theistic Satanic ritual activities are known to include deviant sexual acts with and among children.”
Father Alex Jones‘ sky-is-falling routine doesn’t make any sense, either. As we’ve pointed out repeatedly on this site, the Seven Fundamental Tenets of The Satanic Temple are far more ethical than the Ten Commandments. What Lynch is repeating are the ignorant stereotypes religious people often have of Satanists — decades-old rumors not based in reality. If he ever left his bubble and spoke to a member of the Temple, maybe he’d realize that.
What was the reaction from the crowd at the city council meeting?
“He had great legal arguments,” Paul Rennerfeldt, 38, said of Father Lynch’s presentation. Rennerfeldt is a parishioner of All Saints in Lakeville.
*Sigh*… they weren’t “legal” and they weren’t even arguments. It was just vitriol spewing from the mouth of a bigot.
Ignorance just breeds more ignorance in this town.
Remember: All of this is happening because the city council insisted on promoting Christianity in a local park. The Satanists weren’t going to come there if that monument was up outside a church. And now that their monument will be there, it won’t change the community for the worse. Hell, we should be grateful that it exposes the bigotry of the local religious leaders, unable to handle any views other than their own and only able to respond with hate.
Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple told me finishing touches are being put on the monument and it’ll be going up soon. When I asked about Lynch’s comments, he was quick to note the irony of the situation.
It is unnecessary to point out the irony in seeing a representative from the Catholic Church decrying a perceived threat to children posed by religious Satanists.
Being that the bizarre conspiracy theory-based Satanic Panic libels propagated by “Father” Lynch — that of organized Ritual Abuse engaged in by Satanists — has no credible evidential foundation whatever, one might reasonably harbor suspicions of projection on the pastor’s part.
Father Lynch’s combination of indignant unreason and projection of repressed guilt and/or desire are exactly what witch-hunts are built upon. The secondary irony in his ignorant crusade is that it effectively illustrates, to those with the wit to see, not only the need for The Satanic Temple’s campaigns for pluralism, but also our Grey Faction efforts to combat the works of modern witch-hunters and conspiracists.
He then added:
I would like to offer the challenge that the religion with the most (or even any) confirmed cases of organized child abuse withdraw their claim to representation in the public forum.
The gloves are on.
(Large portions of this article were published earlier)