The planned holding of a Satanic Black Mass in the Civic Center, a public building in Oklahoma City, on September 21, represents more than just an exercise of “freedom.”
If there is one thing that has characterized our American way of life, it is the existence of a great universal consensus. It is a kind of spiritual glue that holds everything together where we all agree to get along peacefully while each one engages in a constant and ever-elusive search for perfect happiness.
That is one reason why the American governmental model (unlike the European) welcomed religions with open arms—it was a means for everyone to get along and prosper. Even the most inveterate atheists throughout our history have agreed to live by the rules of the consensus.
In this Feb. 11, 2011 file photo, Archbishop Paul Coakley , center, is installed as the fourth archbishop of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese in a ceremony at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, in Edmond, Okla. Coakley has sued to try to stop a group of Satanists from staging a "black mass" next month at a civic center, arguing that the group is using a communion wafer stolen from the Catholic Church. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Jim Beckel, File)
That is why the American government has an unwritten agreement that establishes what many have called a “civil religion,” one with a set of working rules in which certain things against God are prohibited. Although legally separate, the state maintains a reverence for a vague Judeo-Christian God in whom it trusts and asks for blessings.
This consensus is flawed because it makes religion center upon man and prosperity and not upon God. However, it does presuppose minimum standards of morality that are popularly expressed by the concepts or imagery of God, freedom, the American flag, family, and apple pie. It was this consensus more than law that has kept ordered liberty from descending into unbridled freedom and chaos. It has prevented freedom of expression from decaying into blasphemy and indecency.
As long as one agreed to play by these rules, they were invited on board. All this has changed with the Satanic Black Mass in Oklahoma. Satan enters as the divisive figure that embodies all that is contrary to this avowedly Judeo-Christian consensus, and deliberately breaks all the rules.
By the letter of the law, the Satanists claim a questionable right to “freedom” of religion, but by the spirit of the unwritten consensus, they are trampling this same consensus underfoot with all the fury with which they desecrate and trample upon the hosts used in their Black Masses. In this unwritten gentlemen’s agreement, Satan is not a gentleman but a tyrant who will tolerate no other before him.
This artist's rendering provided by the Satanic Temple shows a proposed monument that the New York-based Satanic group wants to place at the Oklahoma state Capitol. (AP Photo/Satanic Temple)
The Satanic event symbolically proclaims to the nation that our loosely Christian moral code will no longer be universally accepted and will be attacked with fury. It says that America should no longer get along or go along with any morality. Rather, all restraints must be overthrown, be they religious, economic, sexual or social. In the name of tolerance, all must be permitted…save to those who cling to the old consensus. These must be the target of intolerant rage. These must be shackled with laws that violate their consciences.
That is why so many Americans are protesting against the Satanic Black Mass in Oklahoma. This is not a silly little case of freedom of religion; it is a repudiation of the American consensus. It is a declaration of war.
In the face of this, we cannot return to a flawed gentlemen’s agreement or play by rules that are no longer honored. Rather we must forge new rules based not on man and prosperity, but God alone.
The first rule must be that God exists and we will not tolerate that the Lord Our God be publicly reviled. We do this not because such acts disturb the peace but because He is God and deserves our worship. He is God and we must first defend His honor and His law. If we do this, all else will be given unto us. If we fail, the nation will be given over to discord, fragmentation and misfortune since Satan never gives that which he promises.
John Horvat, II, is the vice president of The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and author of the book "Return to Order."
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