'Satan Takes Souls to Hell': Hundreds of Outraged Christians Hold Prayer Rally Against Satanic Monument
Over a hundred Christians held a prayer-filled protest on Saturday in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, in opposition to a Satanic monument, warning against the celebration of Satan.
CBS Minnesota's WCCO reported on Saturday that protesters held warning signs such as "Satan takes souls to hell for eternity" and "Satan belongs in Hell, not our Veteran's Memorial Park."
The Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple's monument, known as the "bowl of wisdom," is a 23-inch by 23-inch black steel cube inscribed with inverted pentagrams, on top of which lies an upside-down soldier's helmet.
Freedom From Religion Foundation, backing the Satanic Temple, threatened to sue the city if officials did not allow the monument to be placed at the park, which also hosts a soldier praying over a grave with a Christian cross.
In response to FFRF's legal threats, the city created a Free Speech Zone, welcoming memorials of any religious background.
While the controversial monument has been completed, it has reportedly yet to be installed at the park.
As Catholic News Service reported, many of the town's Roman Catholics are concerned with what the Satanic monument could bring.
"Sometimes these things which are evil can really, maybe, wake some people up. We really have to take our faith seriously and live it," Fr. Brian Lynch, pastor of Our Lady of the Prairie parish, told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
"It feels like it's being imposed on us from the outside," Lynch added.
A Minnesota group calling itself the Left Hand Path, which includes Satanists, defended the statue at Saturday's protest, and argued that it stands for freedom.
"Now, all faiths will have a voice in the city of Belle Plaine and the state of Minnesota," said Koren Walsh of Minnesota Left Hand Path.
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves explained that his group does not believe in either God or Satan as real beings, but celebrates the "metaphorical construct" of Satan as "the ultimate rebel against tyranny."
"We really do embrace the opportunity to put up a memorial tribute to veterans in their honor," Greaves said.
Lynch said that while there is indeed a difference between what he called theistic and atheistic Satanism, both groups use the "same inverted pentagrams as a symbol, a symbol that is almost exclusively associated with opposition to God and goodness."
Fr. Mark Dosh, a retired priest in St. Anthony, who has studied exorcism, argued that Satanic symbols pose a real danger.
"It's the way it has to be treated, because people give different interpretations of what the symbol means," Dosh said. "Just like a billboard, where some people are saying that's pornography and some people saying it isn't. Usually a local community has to make or will make a decision as to what they think is offensive and bothersome."