By Jennifer Dixon
Shofars sounded amid the chanting and cheering, clapping and crying as about 100 people crowded together on a strip of sidewalk in Eastern Market today to pray and protest the Satanic Temple's plans to unveil a Baphomet monument in Detroit later tonight.
The group gathered across the street from Bert's Marketplace, where the Satantic Temple had originally planned to unveil the bronze, goat-headed idol. But Bert Dearing said he gave the group back its $3,000 rental fee when he learned who booked the place.
A news release billed the unveiling as the largest Satanic ceremony in history. The event was ticket-only, and the location was to be given via email to ticket holders on Saturday.
Those in the crowd were not having it.
"This unveiling will not happen in the City of Detroit on my watch," said Bishop Corletta Vaughn of the Holy Ghost Cathedral in Detroit. "I'm here to stand against this being in the City of Detroit. We will not turn over our city to Satanists. It's a violent spirit that's moving to the city and infiltrating that place. We will drive them out of Dodge."
"Satan has no place in this city, or any other city," said James Bluford of Rochester Hills, who was among the first to arrive for the prayers.
Renla Session of Detroit came carrying a placard that said: "SATAN can not exist where there is truth and JESUS is the TRUTH."
Martin C. Tutwiler of Oak Park said the statue is disrespectful of the City of Detroit. He said the Satanic Temple was forcing the statute on the city because "they think we're down as a city."
The bronze statute weighs one ton and stands nearly 9 feet tall. It has horns, hooves, wings and a beard. It had been planned for the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, until Oklahoma's Supreme Court banned religious displays on Capitol grounds.
As the crowd grew, two women huddled on their hands and knees as people sang and prayed over them. One of them crawled through the crowd, tears falling in big drops to the pavement. "The blood of Jesus," she recited, over and over.
Evangelist LaWanda Ingramof Macomb County said: "I truly believe God said we should not worship graven images." She said the statue was "blasphemous to God."
"We don't want it here. It's disrespectful," said evangelist Bonita Shelby, whose husband, Pastor Don Shelby of Burning Bush International Ministries in Ypsilanti, got the crowd moving.
"In the name of Jesus," he said, "We march. ... We march in the spirit of one Detroit." Whatever the Satanists have planned, Shelby said his plan was to "put a monkey wrench in it. .. In the name of Jesus."
"Yeah Lord," a woman called out.
Shelby said that he noticed doves above the crowd as he prayed, a sign that "God is pleased with what we're doing."
Pastor David Bullock of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park organized Saturday's prayers and told the gathering: "We're fighting for the soul of America. We're fighting for the soul of the City of Detroit. ... The last thing we should do in Detroit is have a welcome party for the Devil."
(c)2015 the Detroit Free Press