- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2015

The Satanic Temple of Detroit has successfully unveiled a 9-foot-tall bronze sculpture of the hooved goat-headed figure Baphomet in the Motor City, notwithstanding efforts to quash a weekend event that organizers had billed as the “largest Satanic ceremony in history.”

Around 700 attendees were on hand at a riverside warehouse on Saturday evening to witness the long-awaited and nearly aborted revealing of the 1-ton tribute, Reuters said.

The group behind the event, which describes itself as a “non-theistic religious organization dedicated to Satanic practice and the promotion of Satanic rights,” defines Satan as “a symbol of man’s inherent nature, representative of the eternal rebel, enlightened inquiry and personal freedom rather than a supernatural deity or being.”

Members are opposed to having biblical representations on government property and had unsuccessfully attempted to have the same sculpture erected next to a Ten Commandments monument outside the Oklahoma State House in 2012.

Jex Blackmore, the director of the Detroit chapter, said the group will bring Baphomet to the Arkansas capital where a similar biblical statue is expected to soon be installed.

“We are interested in positive and effective change,” Mr. Blackmore told the Christian Science Monitor. “And we’re interested in positive conversation.”

“Baphomet contains binary elements symbolizing a reconciliation of opposites, emblematic of the willingness to embrace, and even celebrate differences,” he told Time magazine.

Differences of opinion nearly derailed the unveiling, however, with planned protests prompting the temple to host the event as a ticketed function at secret location.

“This unveiling will not happen in the City of Detroit on my watch,” Bishop Corletta Vaughn of the Holy Ghost Cathedral told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m here to stand against this being in the City of Detroit. We will not turn over our city to Satanists. It’s a violent spirit that’s moving to the city and infiltrating that place. We will drive them out of Dodge.”

“The last thing we need in Detroit is having a welcome home party for evil,” said the Rev. Dave Bullock of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in nearby Highland Park, Michigan, Reuters reported.

A protest was attended by around 50 people off site; organizers with the temple described Saturday’s event as a success. Supporters cheered “Hail Satan” as the statue of Baphomet, flanked on either side by two children, was unveiled without incident.

“We couldn’t have made this happen without everyone’s cooperation and participation — and for that reason all who attended played a vital role in standing firm in our resolve to reject censorship and embrace Satanic ideals,” the temple said through its Facebook page.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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