Listen to the Thought for the Week
Where’s Torquemada When You Need Him?
This weekend something strange happened. The Henry Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, hosted the first annual “Dirka-Dirka Fest and Comic-Con”. For those of you unfamiliar, “Dirka-Dirka” is the mock Arabic language sound used by the characters in the silly and profane Team America World Police movie, brought to the screen by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the same people who developed the South Park adult cartoon series that parodies, basically, everything. In the movie, various, crudely styled, Arab Claymation characters, including a mock Osama Bin Laden, utter “dirka-dirka”, or some variation thereof, when speaking mock Arabic. You are not really missing anything if you have not seen the film and you do risk lowering your IQ a few points if viewing (be warned). Suffice to say, it is pretty offensive.
Additionally, the “Dirka-Dirka Fest” included a Mohammed caricature and cosplay contest. The really odd thing about all this is Dearborn is one of the most Muslim cities in America and is home to the American Islamic Center, containing, at 120,000 square feet, the largest mosque in the country.(1)
In nearby Hamtramck, Michigan, one of the 30 mosques in the area sounds the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, over outdoor loudspeakers, 5 times a day and is the United States’ only Muslim-majority city, with a Muslim mayor and city council.(2) In response to the “Dirka-Dirka Fest”, Sheikh Ahmad Hammoud, the Imam of the Islamic Center of America said, “We ask Muslims not to organize or encourage others to go to the event to protest. It will only make it more prominent and give the organizers the attention they seek. Rather than protesting in person, we hope to storm the Heavens with prayer from our mosques, shrines and homes.”
Those of you who follow this blog regularly realize by now that, of course, none of this is true. The concept of an anti-Islamic convention being held in Dearborn is preposterous. A camel has a better chance of passing through the eye of a needle.
What actually happened this weekend was the 2nd annual SatanCon, sponsored by The Satanic Temple (TST), based in Salem, Massachusetts, and billed as the largest Satanic event in the history of the Temple. It was held at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel and included lectures such as, “Re-imagining Lilith as an Archetype for Reproductive Justice” and, “Sins of the Flesh, Satanism and Self-Pleasure”. Previous SatanCon’s have also held lectures like, “Abortion as a (Religious) Right” and, “Raising Children in a Satanic Household” (does anyone have the number for DCFS?).(3) Of course, the convention was accompanied by an exhibit hall where one could purchase all things Satanic. The extent of the blasphemies in Boston has yet to be reported, but, previously, the Archbishop of Oklahoma City sued (successfully) a Satanic cult that reportedly stole the Eucharist from a Catholic Church and planned to desecrate it in a Satanic ceremony.(4)
What was the response of the Archdiocese of Boston, the most Catholic city in America, to SatanCon coming to town? The Archdiocese issued the following statement, “We ask Catholics not to organize or encourage others to go to the event to protest. It will only make it more prominent and give the organizers the attention they seek. Rather than protesting in person, we hope to storm the Heavens with prayer from our shrines, monasteries, and parishes.”(5) The Archdiocese also posted a list of sites for prayer and adoration, encouraged the Prayer of St. Michael and other Prayers of the Faithful (in which I participated, remotely). Closing out the statement from the Archdiocese of Boston, there was a bullet-point reminder list of dos and don’ts,
- Our response must be balanced and focused on prayer.
- We will gather in adoration and prayer.
- With this intention, many of our parishes will be open during the three days for prayer, adoration, and Masses.
- Please do not organize or encourage the faithful to protest at the event. It will only make it more prominent and give the organizers the attention they seek.
Do you suppose The Satanic Temple was intimidated by this? SatanCon, held in a city with 1.8 million Catholics, out of a total population of 3 million (60%) (6), America’s most Catholic city, was a sold-out event. The Marriott Copley Place, at the epicenter of Boston’s Back Bay affluence, was similarly nonplussed. A couple of hundred protestors did show up at the Marriott, accompanied by a group of White Nationalist crazies, chanting anti-Satan slogans and holding up signs like, “Hellfire awaits”.(7) (Not sure that is really the best argument to discourage Satanists, but I digress.)
The Satanic Temple, not to be confused with the Church of Satan, claims to be a non-religious organization that does not worship a deity, but takes as principle various positions such as women’s reproductive justice, respect for beliefs, self-actualization and other nonsensical word salads. The Satanic Temple holds some sort of ceremonies at the convention and acts pretty religious, for a non-religious organization, claiming religious freedom when wanting to fly Satanic flags at city council meetings and purporting abortion as a religious sacrament. This is the same Satanic Temple that is opening abortion clinics in New Mexico. Essentially, The Satanic Temple is a Zen-like embodiment of our current culture of death, our culture of moral equivalence, our culture of hypocrisy and lies, and our culture of temporal self-interest. TST also is an embodiment of the ever-popular Catholic hate and bigotry that is a badge of honor in American secular society. (If you are curious, (and have Holy water nearby), take a stroll around their website. It is a virtual guide to the evil of our secular society.)
We have, on several occasions, asked, where have the Crusader Knights gone? The Catholic Church, once the most powerful organization in the world, the organization that has single-handedly liberated millions of people from suffering and oppression, an organization of over 1.3 billion members worldwide, a historical rottweiler, has been reduced to a yapping, Paris Hilton purse dog.
Why is TST emboldened to host its SatanCon at the center of American Catholicism? Prayer is important; it is always important. Action, however, is also important.
Jesus did not drive the money changers from the Temple by prayer. In the most dramatic action possible, the Lord Jesus Christ destroyed the Temple, and in 3 days rebuilt it, bringing salvation to the world. Is it not offensive that we cannot manifest any substantive action to respond to Satan’s (the real one, not the cartoonish TST) continued assault on human life and dignity?
We are in a time where the genocide of 65 million unborn children is celebrated, where the degradation of women masquerades as “empowerment”, where the elderly and disabled are seen as unworthy and disposable lives, and where the representatives of God on earth cannot even agree on basic and simple truths.
The fundamental tenets of Catholicism are plain, simple and direct. All life, from conception to natural death, is equal, precious and worthy – period, full stop. Men and women are created in the image and likeness of God, redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and charged to glorify him through their lives and works. Yet even the hierarchy of this church can’t seem to put this simple truth directly and firmly to its members and the people of the world. Take action against TST in Boston? Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and grand chancellor of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences, cannot even make a simple affirmation of the evil of euthanasia, without making equivocal, nonsensical and incomprehensible statements about its acceptability. That is a topic for another day, but where is there any room for equivocation in the basic Catholic support for life and human dignity? There is none. Who is Archbishop Paglia trying to please? Has negotiation with Satan ever been a fruitful strategy? Why does this guy still have a job?
Protests and signs are theater. The economic power of 1.3 billion Catholics is a devastating weapon of mass destruction. What if the Archdiocese of Boston, and the Catholic Church, immediately severed all commerce with the Marriott corporation? What if the Archdiocese excommunicated any Catholic who cooperates, in any supportive manner, with The Satanic Temple? Why wasn’t every Catholic directed not to come to work this weekend at any Marriott property, not only in Boston, but around the world? The Satanic Temple and its event are just one manifestation of the culture of death and the assault on our most vulnerable and innocent. If someone saw a madman with a knife approaching a child in a bassinet, no civilized person would stand by and pray while the madman slaughtered the child. Why are we standing by? Why are you standing by?
By the way, there actually was an attempted anti-Islamic protest some years back in Dearborn. Terry Jones, a pretty crazy Florida pastor, known for stunts involving burning the Quran, resulting in civil unrest in Afghanistan, planned to make a speech in Dearborn on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. After much legal wrangling, he was granted permission by the Dearborn city council to make his speech in front of city hall. He never quite got to the speech. Despite protection by riot police and roads being blocked by 30 police vehicles, a large angry mob broke through police lines and pummeled Jones with stones and shoes (throwing shoes is a mark of disrespect in the Middle East).(8) He quickly and barely exited with his life.
I don’t suspect that SatanCon will hold its next meeting in Dearborn. Perhaps Rome? I hear the weather is nice there this time of year.
“Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
This concludes the audio portion of this article. Thank you for listening.
George Mychaskiw II, DO, FAAP, FACOP, FASA
Saint Padre Pio Institute for the Relief of Suffering
School of Osteopathic Medicine