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      ‘Come Dance With the Devil’: Hundreds Turn Out for Satanic Statue in Detroit

      ‘Come Dance With the Devil’: Hundreds Turn Out for Satanic Statue in Detroit ‘Come Dance With the Devil’: Hundreds Turn Out for Satanic Statue in Detroit ‘Come Dance With the Devil’: Hundreds Turn Out for Satanic Statue in Detroit
      Photo by Matt Anderson, courtesy of The Satanic Temple

      Americas

      ‘Come Dance With the Devil’: Hundreds Turn Out for Satanic Statue in Detroit

      By Rachel Browne

      Amid death threats and calls to burn it down, the Satanic statue of Baphomet has finally found a home.

      On Saturday, the Detroit chapter of The Satanic Temple unveiled its nearly 9-foot-high bronze statue of the winged goat-headed idol to cheers of "Hail Satan!" from the crowd of 700 - during what organizers billed as the largest Satanic ceremony ever.

      Calling their statue "an unparalleled artistic triumph," the Satanists held it out to be "the most controversial and politically charged contemporary work of art" in the world that "stands as a testament to plurality and the power of collective action."

      "Come dance with the Devil and experience history in the making," the group beckoned on its website in the lead-up to the ticketed event, which prompted the wrath of Christians and other locals.

      "IT IS EVERY CHRISTIAN'S DUTY TO DESTROY THIS IF YOU SEE IT DESTROY THIS STATUE DESTROY THIS STATUE DESTROY THIS STATUE," according to one Facebook post earlier this month.

      It wasn't an easy event to put together - organizers had to change the location of the ceremony, and set up a fake event to throw off any infiltrators.

      On Saturday morning, Christian groups held protests across the city in a last-ditch attempt to shut down the statue.

      More than 200 people gathered at a local Catholic church for a Mass in protest of the statue, which has become a symbol of the modern Satanist movement and also features two bronze children looking up in awe at its face.

      Others protested near the ticket lineup for the unveiling event. "The last thing we need in Detroit is having a welcome home party for the devil," said Reverend Dave Bullock, a Baptist pastor. "This is not even a real religion in my estimation."

      Lucien Greaves, leader of the Satanic Temple told VICE News in a statement they had to beef up their security. "As part of this processing, ticket-holders were required to sign a contract transferring their property of their souls to Satan. This, we felt, would filter out the extreme superstitious radicals, and it worked," he said.

      "Protesters arrived at the decoy intermediary location, and they spent the night there in the rain while the actual event carried on, unmolested, miles away."

      The Satanic Temple, which has its headquarters in New York, says members of the group do not "promote a belief in a personal Satan" and "do not believe in symbolic 'evil.'"

      "To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions," the website states.

      Hatred for the statue, which was crafted by an unknown sculptor in New York, has been simmering for years.

      The group's original plan to erect the $100,000 statue next to one depicting the Ten Commandments on the Oklahoma capitol grounds in 2012 was foiled when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled earlier this month against all religious symbols on the grounds of the legislature. That's when it started looking to Detroit and other states.

      But soon enough, dissenting Detroiters might get their wish, as the group plans to ship the statue to the statehouse in Arkansas, where there are plans to put up another Ten Commandments monument.

      Photos of unveiling of statue by Matt Anderson.

      Follow Rachel Browne on Twitter: @rp_browne

      Topics: americas, detroit, satanic temple, baphomet, lucien greaves, reverend dave bullock, baptist

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