Black Mass

Catholic Archbishop Paul Coakley, head of the archdiocese of Oklahoma City, has condemned a Black Mass scheduled to be held in the Oklahoma City Civic Center this September.  He has called for the public leaders and the board members of the Civic center to cancel the Black Mass because it is “sacrilegious” and a “blasphemous mockery of the Mass”. [1]

While the Archbishop is correct in that the Black Mass is sacrilegious and blasphemous he is incorrect in requesting that the Black Mass be canceled.  One of our fundamental rights is the right of free speech.  Sometimes what is said is offensive to others but that does not and must not limit what can be said.  We have too many people of all manner of political, religious, and even scientific viewpoints who think the opposing points of view should be silenced.

Christians should be sensitive to the issue of free speech.  Both Paul and Peter state the Jesus can be “a rock of offense” (Romans 9:33 and I Peter 2:8).  Does that mean those who disagree with us Christians are correct in their attempts to limit our free speech?  Some are trying to do just that—to remove all mention of God and religion from the public square.  If we try to limit the free speech of others then we cannot complain when they try to limit ours.

A better response to the Black Mass would be to do as Jesus tells us:  “. . .Love your enemies  and pray for those who persecute you. . .”  (Matthew 5:44 NIV).  And Paul tells us:  “Love is patient and kind. . .it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ESV).


[1]   Lauren Brown, “Catholics object to Satanists’ ‘Black Mass’ at OKC Center”, Cybercast News Service, Tulsa Beacon, July 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 14, p. 1.

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