the devil

Last Monday at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City, a small group of worshipers from the local Church of Ahriman held a so-called “Black Mass,” a Satanic ritual involving menstrual blood, a pig’s heart and a plaster statue of the Virgin Mary. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was scarcely attended, and the 12 congregants were vastly outnumbered by the hundreds of protesting Christians outside.

This wasn’t the first such Mass held in the city, and such events are not uncommon in America at large. American Satanism, though, is having a bit of a moment.

A few weeks ago, various news outlets reported that After School Satan, an extracurricular initiative founded by the Satanic Temple, was trying to expand its operation and open clubs in elementary schools across the country. The Temple pointed out that many after-school programs were run by overtly evangelical organizations, and that their faith was entitled to the same First Amendment rights.

While there are differences between these groups — the Satanic Temple, for instance, is largely comprised of avowed atheists who do not believe the Devil, while the Church of Ahriman does — their recent efforts have given them all a new notoriety.

While it is unlikely that America will see a sudden expansion of Satanist clubs or temples, their actions may eventually lead the Supreme Court to further separate public education and religious practice by restricting all affiliated organizations, be they Christian, Satanist or otherwise.

Things we saw (and heard)

‘America’s other drug problem’: Giving the elderly too many prescriptions — Washington Post

Goodbye to ‘honeys’ in court, by vote of American Bar Association — New York Times

Walmart’s out-of-control crime problem is driving police crazy —

Family of man allegedly murdered by Oklahoma neighbor says they were ‘terrorized’ — ABC News

With Aetna pulling out of insurance exchange, Oklahoma left with no insurance choices — FOX 25

Louisiana flood: Worst US disaster since Hurricane Sandy, Red Cross says — CNN

Ryan Lochte apologizes ‘for my behavior’ after Rio robbery claim — New York Times

Quotes to note

“we’re responsible for us, but we also work with the devil. so, he’s like a friend. he’s like an equal and so whenever we need to do a thing on the spiritual level, we appeal to the devil.”

— OKC Church of Ahriman member Adam Daniels, on the Black Mass he conducted at the Civic Center Music Hall,  8/15/16

“i only showed my gun . . . i did not order them to lay down on the floor and the gun was certainly not pointed in anyone’s face.”

— A Brazilian security guard tells Us Weekly about his confrontation with Ryan Lochte and three other American swimmers at a Rio gas station, 8/18/16

“you can keep moving people in and out of the car, but so long as the drunk guy is driving it while blindfolded, the ride probably isn’t going to get any smoother.”

— An anonymous Virginia Republican insider on the latest Trump campaign shakeup, 8/19/16

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Graham Dudley holds a degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. A sports fan and movie lover, Dudley's experience includes covering gymnastics for The Oklahoma Daily, acting in Shakespearean plays at the Dallas Theater Center and working in the press box during Sooners football games.