Update: Since this article was published, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has dropped its lawsuit, as the taken communion elements were returned. The Black Mass event is still scheduled to occur, according to reports.

There they go again. The so-called Satanists are again bringing their act to Oklahoma and making headlines in the process. Last year, the Satanic Temple of New York City submitted plans for a monument of Satan on the Oklahoma State Capitol Grounds. This year, people calling themselves the “Satanist group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu” are planning a “Black Mass” in September, which is a grotesque “inversion” of the Catholic Mass.

Except this is no parody of their Mass. The event’s organizer, Adam Daniels, claims to possess actual communion elements from the Catholic Church, which he said were “mailed to us by (a) friend.” In other words, the elements appear to have been pilfered and will be used in a ritual for the devil. On Aug. 20, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City filed a lawsuit to have the elements returned.

Adding insult to injury, this event is set to take place at a public facility, the Oklahoma City Civic Center. This is the second event to embarrass the Civic Center, whose CitySpace theater last December featured a play called “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” a homosexual-themed mockery of Jesus and the Bible.

The Oklahoma City Theatre Company reportedly rents the CitySpace theatre in the Civic Center to anyone. The facilities manager said they are “required by law to rent space to individuals and organizations so long as they comply with our policies and ordinances and have paid the established rental fees.” In other words, the show must go on.

Despite our doctrinal differences with the Roman Catholic Church, Southern Baptists would side with the Catholics over Satanists any day of the week. Moreover, even if you disagree with Catholics on many issues, it is easy to see why the “Black Mass” is disgusting, disingenuous and dead wrong. A discussion about how this is wrong is warranted.

/// Not liberty, but license

In the American tradition, we believe deeply in freedom. Acclaimed University of Oklahoma professor of the history of liberty, the late Dr. J. Rufus Fears, categorized freedom into three categories: National freedom, political freedom and finally, individual freedom, the last of which is the ability to live as you choose so long as you harm no one else.

Followers of Satan might cite that last freedom as giving them a right to the “Black Mass.” However, it is clearly a harm to Catholics, if not others as well. By the Satanists’ own words, the communion elements they plan to misuse were improperly obtained. Consider an analogy: even if laws might allow a book burning somewhere, it would not allow the offenders to use books and Bibles stolen from a church. Imagine the outrage if someone stole a Mosque’s copy of the Koran and planned to hold a public book burning.

/// Not a sincere act of faith

You have to wonder the real motivation here. Now, I am not one to impugn people’s motives, but to categorize the “Black Mass” as a sincere religious ceremony stretches it beyond the breaking point. It is more comparable to the THC Ministry, originally founded as the Hawai’i Ministry of Cannabis Sacrament in the year 2000. This “religion” is based on, you guessed it, marijuana as the “sacrament.” This religion appears to cater merely to the wants of the people involved, not in faithful sincerity. There is every reason to believe the “Black Mass” is done to outrage Catholics rather than exercise a sincerely-held religious belief.

/// Not in our backyard

Just because something may technically be allowable or legal does not mean civil society must tolerate it. Rising up against the “Black Mass” are not just Catholics, but many people of good will. The Civic Center surely can find a way to stop an event so objectionable on a number of levels.

In summary, the “Black Mass” appears to hinge on stolen property, insincere beliefs and therefore ought not happen in our backyard. Here’s praying and hoping the event will not happen and that immorality parading itself in the public square never will be mistaken for the true liberty we have in Oklahoma, in America, and ultimately in Christ Himself.