Outside the Civic Center
Members of the Church of the IV Majesties, a satanic church based in Oklahoma City, held a satanic exorcism at the Civic Center Music Hall last Thursday night. I’ve photographed my share of protests and rallies around the state—some more emotionally charged than others—but with this one I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the OKC police department would be organized enough to prevent any confrontations, and they were. Christian protesters were restricted to the east side of the building, while the satanic group entered the building on the north side. What I didn’t expect was the interesting and sometimes odd conversations I had with people on both sides of the Civic Center.
On the north side, I met a girl named Serra, who told me she was a “Traditional Satanist.” She stood near an old pickup truck outside the service entry with a kid who said he was so excited about the exorcism that he had hardly slept for two days. They were waiting for more ticket holders to show up. Serra told me about different denominations of satanism and that she believed Satan was a higher being, but that she had her own faith she was still cobbling together.
I met Anthony, whose father leads a group of lay Catholics called America Needs Fatima. Based in Kansas, they crusade against blasphemy, so they’d driven nearly 6 hours to protest the exorcism. Anthony stood quietly, holding a flag outside the Civic Center. I had a conversation with an atheist who went to the exorcism on a whim; I waited for a woman to stop speaking in tongues so she could tell me her name; and I talked with a comedian who was looking for material for his act.
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