Benjamin Radford writes at Live Science:
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A public ceremony of Satanists planned in Oklahoma City this month has prompted protests, a lawsuit from the Catholic Church, talk of a “black mass,” and even the airing of laws against bloodletting. Such public images of fear are not uncommon when it comes to Satanist groups, though they may not be justified.
The ceremony for the Oklahoma City Satanists is slated for Sept. 21 in the city’s civic center and requires a ticket for admission. Officials from the city could not legally bar the group, as doing so would violate their First Amendment rights.
Officials did warn, however, that all laws must be followed, including fire codes and those involving public nudity; a spokeswoman for the parks and recreation department noted: “No bloodletting of any kind will be allowed.” (Though bloodletting and animal sacrifice are popularly associated with Satanism, they have historically been part of many religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.) [Tales of the Top 10 Craziest Cults]
The event has been described in the news media as a “black mass,” which, as James Lewis notes in his book “Satanism Today: An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore, and Popular Culture” (ABC-CLIO, 2001), “refers to a blasphemous parody of a conventional [Catholic] Mass that was traditionally thought to be the central rite of Satanism.” This ritual was typically said to involve perverse orgies, a torrent of various bodily fluids, obscene gestures and even “a black candle made from the fat of unbaptized babies,” Lewis wrote.