Members of the Satanic Temple unveiled a Satanic monument in Detroit on 25 July, in an attempt to make a statement against religious statues on government property.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the 9-foot-tall bronze goat-headed winged statue of Baphomet was unveiled during a ticketed, in an industrial complex close to the Detroit River. CBS Detroit reported that the event was billed as the "largest public satanic ceremony in history."
The statue made its first public appearance as hundreds of attendees sang "Hail Satan."
Although members of the group celebrated the statue's unveiling, a group of 100 protesters arrived just before the event to pray and call the monument "disrespectful" towards other religions, the CS Monitor reported.
Todd Sanders, a minister for Strictly Biblical Bible Teaching Ministries in Detroit, told CBS Detroit the unveiling was a great opportunity for the church.
"The church can benefit from this because we can view this as an opportunity to get at the truth in terms of what the Satanic Temple believes," the minister said. "I don't think it's anything we should be afraid of at all, we don't need to cower in fear—we have the truth on our side as Christians."
Jex Blackmore, the director of the Satanic Temple of Detroit, told reporters that the protests are a product of "deep misunderstanding" about Satanism. Blackmore explained that his group is non-theistic and does not follow the Judeo-Christian representation of Satan.
The Satanic Temple of Detroit defines Satan as "a symbol of man's inherent nature, representative of eternal rebel, enlightened inquiry and personal freedom rather than a supernatural deity or being."
In a segment on WJBK-TV, Blackmore said, "Satanism and the term 'Satanic' has been used a political tool to demonize individuals who have rebelled against systems of authority and power."
According to Blackmore, the group plans to move the statue to Arkansas, where the governor recently authorized a Ten Commandments statue on the grounds of the State's Capitol. It was originally slated to be located by a Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma City until the state's Supreme Court banned religious displays on the grounds of the Capitol.