Oklahoma City’s Archbishop Paul Coakley has been trying to resist an upcoming Satanic Black Mass that is scheduled to take place at the local civic center on September 21. Adam Daniels, who serves as the high priest of a local satanic group, will organize the slated Black Mass, which according to the Satanist is much like a Catholic Mass, except that Satan is at the center of all devotion instead of God.
“We're astonished and grieved that the Civic Center would promote as entertainment and sell tickets for an event that is very transparently a blasphemous mockery of the Mass. The ‘Black Mass’ that is scheduled for the Civic Center in September is a satanic inversion and distortion of the most sacred beliefs not only of Catholics, but of all Christians… For more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide and more than 200,000 Catholics in Oklahoma, the Mass is the most sacred of religious rituals… In a spirit of hope, I ask those who are allowing this event to reconsider whether this is an appropriate use of public space,” said Coakley.
However, Civic Center’s spokeswoman Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock said that as a taxpayer-funded facility, the Civic Center has to allow any group that wishes to use it, as long as they abide by the city’s ordinances and the building’s laws, as stated in the First Amendment.
“We appreciate the archbishop's concerns regarding this event as it applies to people of faith. As with any show held in our facility, we work with the production group to ensure no laws or ordinances are broken during the event,” she said.
In a letter to City Manager Jim Couch, the archbishop pointed out that Daniels has record of being a sex offender and his plan to organize the Black Mass is violent, vile, sexually explicit, blasphemous and exploitative of women. Couch responded to the letter saying he cannot permit Oklahoma City to violate the Constitution by disallowing Daniels from conducting the mass, but he would ensure the presence of police personnel so they can stop anyone who attempts to break the law.
“I understand his outrage. I totally understand his outrage. It’s sacrilegious, I think it’s distasteful but I don’t believe it’s illegal,” said Couch in the archbishop’s favour.
35-year-old Daniels has admitted to being convicted in 2009 for having inappropriate relations with an inmate at a correctional home where he served as a guard. However, he has also said that the relationship was consensual. After being convicted, Daniels reportedly lost his job and served probation for two years.
The upcoming Black Mass is much like the one that was scheduled to be held at Harvard University earlier this year. However, that one had to be cancelled after widespread protests broke out. Tickets to Daniels’ event however are being sold at $17.50 each despite hundreds of complaints having poured in to the Civic Center as well as the City Manager over the last few weeks.