When Oklahoma passed a law allowing religious displays at the state capitol building, they opened Pandora’s Box. To their dismay, the Satanic Church filed papers to put a memorial right next to the Ten Commandments — not exactly what the good people of Oklahoma had in mind. You see, when right-wingers demand religious freedom, what they really mean is that they want to shove their version of Christianity down everyone’s throats to the exclusion of all other religions. The proverbial chickens have come home to roost.
Now that pesky Establishment Clause has made things hard on Oklahomans once again. AATTP’s Josh Kilburn reported in early July that a Satanic group called Dakhma of Angra Mainyu was planning on holding a Black Mass to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox on September 21st. The event is to be held in Oklahoma City’s Civic Center which, being a governmental entity, must allow it. The group paid their $420 and will be in the center for 5 hours, doing their thing.
Of course, the Mayor of OK City has heard from his citizens and Catholic Archbishop Paul Coakley has spoken out against it. But now Governor Mary Fallin has weighed in. In her statement, published at OK.gov, she derided the idea of a Black Mass:
“This ‘Black Mass’ is a disgusting mockery of the Catholic faith, and it should be equally repellent to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. 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.”
Well, yes, it is protected by the First Amendment — so sorry that she dislikes that idea — but Fallin has her Satanists mixed up. The New York group is the one that donated the memorial last year. The group that is doing the Black Mass is a local group. As Kilburn reported, the Oklahoma group is headed up by Adam Daniels, a former prison guard and convicted sex offender. This is their group’s website.
The group that donated the memorial is from New York and its leader, Lucien Greaves, is not amused by the confusion. What with all the derision and calumny being aimed at the group responsible and nobody seeming to care that there are different Satanic groups. He demanded an apology from Gov. Fallin:
“We have nothing to do with this event whatsoever. For the Governor to display such a complete failure of due diligence, to the point of erroneously focusing public ire on us, is unconscionable. We’re disgusted. We have sown a great deal of good will in Oklahoma and this seems to be a deliberate attempt to undermine that. I feel the Governor owes our organization an apology.”
I wouldn’t hold my breath, Lucien. All you Satanists are alike as far as Fallin — and people who think like her — are concerned. Why, they even lump us Wiccans in with Satanists, something neither of us appreciate. Wiccans, because we have nothing to do with Satan in any way, and Satanists because we Wiccans are a bit too “sweetness and light” for them. Ah, but stereotypes are hard to overcome.
Either way, a Black Mass is really nothing more than a passion play in reverse. Think of everything said and done in an actual Catholic Mass, then reverse it. You know, instead of “Ave Maria” it’s “Ave Satana” and such. It’s a little childish, really. In my opinion. But it is not “evil in its purest form,” as Archbishop Coakley called it. It has the power given to it by fearing it.
Let the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu have their Black Mass. It is not going to draw evil spirits or demons to Oklahoma City. Unless it demons of intolerance and the evil spirits of self-righteousness. This group, the New York group and every Satanic group is protected by the First Amendment. We don’t have to like what they do but we can’t disallow them the free practice of their faith.
And Gov. Fallin really does owe Greaves and his group an apology.
h/t Retroactive Genius at Daily Kos