The Satanic Temple's memorial to dead soldiers in Belle Plaine's Veterans Memorial Park in Minnesota could prompt young people to "consider Satanism" and reject "good moral behavior," a priest has warned.
"The inverted pentagrams on the Satanic monument proposed by the Satanic Temple will prompt young people to consider Satanism for themselves and to reject the good moral behavior required for an ordered and peaceful society," Father Brian Lynch of Our Lady of the Prairie in Belle Plaine warned in his address to the city council on Monday, as reported by The Catholic Spirit.
The priest also warned that the "the monument may also attract pre-existing Satanists to our community as a place for theistic Satanic ritual activities that victimize our children."
He argued that this could lead to a "form of grooming similar to that used by pedophiles."
"This grooming is intended to not only make children afraid to report the abuse they suffer at the hands of Satanists, but also, to feel personally responsible for the evil they have suffered as youthful victims," Lynch continued.
"Most disturbing is the fact that theistic Satanic ritual activities are known to include deviant sexual acts with and among children."
As reported, The Satanic Temple was granted the right to erect its "Luciferian light" memorial - right beside Christian memorials - at the park in April, when city officials designated the area in the park a "free speech zone" amid complaints from an atheist group.
"That's the unintended consequence of a small-town saga over free speech, and it all began when someone complained about having a religious symbol on public property," quipped The Star Tribune.
Artist Chris P. Andres explained back in February that the memorial represents, in part, "humanistic perfection through curiosity and reason."
"The four pentagrams recall the four corners of the Earth - they serve as a reminder to the viewer of the satanic/pagan symbols/ideas sacred to soldiers that sacrificed. The black is a cold memory in mourning and a field of mystery and imagination. The gold is a Luciferian light reflecting light onto the view like a sacred icon," Andres said.
"The empty helmet is now a Baphometic bowl of wisdom, a void, a protective vessel of the mind and intellect. Memories of the fallen can be psychically deposited, physical notes, names, fruit offering can be left in the monument. This monument produces an interaction. It resembles a ritualistic sacrament as if it's to be used for something," he added.
Responding to Lynch's concerns, Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple told The Friendly Atheist blog, "It is unnecessary to point out the irony in seeing a representative from the Catholic Church decrying a perceived threat to children posed by religious Satanists."
"Being that the bizarre conspiracy theory-based Satanic Panic libels propagated by 'Father' Lynch - that of organized Ritual Abuse engaged in by Satanists - has no credible evidential foundation whatever, one might reasonably harbor suspicions of projection on the pastor's part," Greaves added.
"Father Lynch's combination of indignant unreason and projection of repressed guilt and/or desire are exactly what witch-hunts are built upon."
This is not the first time The Satanic Temple has been accused of attempting to "indoctrinate" children; after Doug Mesner, the Satanic Temple's co-founder, announced plans to implement "After School Satan Clubs" at select public elementary schools across the nation, Franklin Graham took to Facebook to share his concerns.
Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, lamented that the United States has already seen the "devastating effects of secularism" and urged believers to pray that God would transform Mesner's heart.
"Will you join me in doing something unexpected? Let's pray for this man's eyes to be opened to the truth of the Gospel and his own personal need of a Savior. Pray for his heart to be touched and softened by the working of God's Holy Spirit."
Graham, 64, emphasized that no one is beyond the reach of God's love and mercy, and used the Apostle Paul as an example: "Before he came to to faith, the Apostle Paul was once the greatest enemy and persecutor of the church," he recalled.
The evangelist also encouraged Christians to pray for school leadership to have wisdom to decline the letter of request for these After School Satan Clubs