Oklahoma City was the center of controversy this weekend, as worshippers of Lucifer conducted a "satanic mass" at the city's Civic Center.
The ritual was reportedly attended by between 40 and 50 people, with several hundred protesting outside, and over a thousand attending a church service nearby.
However, according to Fox News Religion Contributor, Father Jonathan Morris, the event should never have been allowed to occur.
Appearing on Fox & Friends Weekend, Father Morris confusingly stated that although the participants had a "political right to do it" the city should step in and prevent it from occurring:
When you have a group that does this, not just because they want to do their own little worship, but they are provoking anger and hatred among the community, the city can step in and say: "That's not worship, that's not free speech, that's mockery, and you're inciting violence."
Genuine incitement to violence may be a justifiable restriction on freedom of speech, but there is a very dangerous precedent in equating offensive speech—which this is—with direct incitement to violence—which this is not.
What else would count as incitement to violence under Morris' standard? The burning of the Koran, and advocacy of Nazism are both given as examples of incitement to violence, despite them being protected by the First Amendment. But there are an almost limitless number of views, the expression of could conceivably be banned on the grounds that they offend a particular group.
The result of such restrictions on free speech can be found around the world, including in western countries like Canada and Australia, where prominent conservative commentators Mark Steyn and Andrew Bolt were hauled before the courts after their comments were deemed offensive to particular minority groups.
The First Amendment is the world's strongest protection for free speech. If America is able to tolerate the vindictive and hate-filled speech of the Westboro Baptist Church, then it is surely able to deal with speech in support of someone as unpopular as the prince of darkness. It might even serve as a means for Christians to come together in shared opposition to Satanism.