Friday, December 11, 2015

The Spiritual Ruins of Detroit

Detroit is home to the highest murder and violent crime rate in the nation, according to the FBI. With 44 murders per 100,000 people, that's 10 times the national average. The child death rate for those 18 and under is also higher than any other city in the country. Its statistics for sexual assault fare little better, with a total of 11,199 in 2013, making Detroit one of the most dangerous cities for women to live in.

Detroit is also home to the world's largest Masonic temple, founded in 1926. The decision to build the temple had been considered as early as 1908 because interest in Masonry had grown to such an extent that the existing temple became too small. Masonry has had a long and antagonistic history with the Catholic Church, and has the distinction of being the most condemned religious system in the Church's history. Masonry's tenets are so incompatible with the Catholic faith that the Church imposes the penalty of automatic excommunication on Catholics who join a Masonic lodge — a penalty that remains in force to this day.

Detroit also contains the largest Muslim population in America and the second largest outside the Middle East. Although a satirical piece several years ago claimed Dearborn — a suburb of Detroit — was the first in the nation to fully implement Sharia law, the claim is not far from reality. Calls from local Muslims are growing more strident to impose Sharia morals police and restrictions throughout the city. There are also reports that the terrorist group Hezbollah is also firmly ensconced in the suburb. There is at the very least widespread backing for the group: In July 2005, 3,500 Muslims paraded through the city streets in support of Hezbollah, chanting, "Jews are diseased!"

Into this unhappy mix arrived the flagship chapter house of the Satanic Temple last year, the first of its kind outside New York. Founded by Harvard graduate and Detroit native Doug Mesner (a.k.a. Lucien Greaves) and headed by Andrea Potti (a.k.a. Jex Blackmore), the Temple has received "wonderful support" from locals since its opening last fall, and its membership is thriving. Its online community is also growing, with nearly 5,000 likes on Facebook.  (more...)

On the material devastation:

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