Satanist Church Rents Out Oklahoma City Civic Center for Exorcism

Satanist Church Rents Out Oklahoma City Civic Center for Exorcism

The leader of an Satanic church firmly planted in the Bible Belt has raised eyebrows by renting a theater in the Oklahoma City Civic Center for a ritual exorcism of God.

The Church of the IV Majesties is inviting members and the public to view the ritual, in hopes of erasing a lot of the unfounded fears many have about Satanism.

Does Satan Exist?

"We don't kill animals, we don't kill children," James Hale, the church's Lord High Master, told

"We just decided that being right here in the middle of the Bible Belt, it wasn't a good idea to keep the secrecy you see in the traditional Satanist churches," he said. "Because secrecy breeds fear. And we're not looking to scare anyone."

Citing concerns for privacy and safety, Hale declined to say how many members the church has besides the seven members who are named on the church's state listing as a tax exempt religious organization, a designation they were awarded this spring.

Those seven members will take the stage Oct. 21 for the ritual, which Hale described as an exorcism to extract the gods of what he called the "right handed path" or traditional religions, such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Does Satan Exist?

"It's a parody of the Catholic rite of exorcism. It's just a blasphemy ritual," Hale said.

Though the police have been notified of the potential for violence -- Hale said his members and other Church of Satan supporters have received letter bombs and been shot at in the past -- the city is not preparing any special accomodations for the event.

"From a city perspective, this is a first amendment isse," said Jennifer McClintock, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees the civic center affairs. "As a public facility we don't deny their right to assemble or deny their right of message. That's discriminatory."

But city officials have started to receive a few e-mails of protest as word of the exorcism gets around.

Does Satan Exist?

"I think a lot of people just look at this as something that they don't believe in," Mcclintock said. "Because they don't agree with the beliefs of this particular group."

Jim Lewis, a leading expert on new religious movements, including Satanism, told that the Church of the IV Majesties is the first Satanic church he's ever heard of that was persistent enough to achieve tax-exempt status as a religious organization.

He echoed Hale's sentiments that the public has nothing to fear from the church's rituals.

"They're not devil worshippers and they don't go out and kill cats or babies," Lewis said from Norway, where he now teachers at the University of Tromso.

Satanists to Conduct Exorcism at Oklahoma Civic Center

Even McClintock admitted she was surprised to see "Satanic exorcism" on the church's city permit, which cost $260. She visited the church's MySpace page to learn more and found a description matching what Hale described -- a chance to cast out other religious influences.

She and other city leaders are keeping a close eye on blogs, message boards and social media sites and are prepared to take any threat relating to this event seriously, even the most thinly veiled.

"Obviously our first priority is the safety of any of our patrons," she said. "Unless a specific threat were to come forward, we're looking at this as any other event on our calendar."

The theater rented out by the Church of the IV Majesties is the smallest of the civic center's three spaces and holds less than 100 people.

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