QUEER VOICES
07/22/2013 10:47 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Police Say They Plan To Arrest Satanic Temple Members Who Protested Westboro Baptist Church

Police are preparing to arrest members of a Satanic organization who held a protest ritual earlier this month at a Meridian, Miss., graveyard.

The controversial ritual, called a "pink mass," was carried out by New York-based organization The Satanic Temple and involved gay couples kissing over the grave of Catherine Johnston, the mother of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps. The ritual, held at Magnolia Cemetery in Meridian, Miss., was intended to "turn" Johnston gay for all eternity.

But now cemetery owner Bill Arlinghaus is looking to press charges, and Meridian police say they are currently putting together affidavits and warrants in preparation for an imminent arrest of those who performed the ritual, local ABC affiliate WTOK-TV reports.

Meridian Police Department Capt. Dean Harper told the station that the charges being considered are trespassing, indecent exposure and malicious mischief. The indecent exposure charge is likely related to a Satanic Temple spokesman, who goes by the name Lucien Greaves, laying of his penis on Johnston's grave. (Hyperlink is NSFW.)

Neither Arlinghaus nor the Meridian Police Department immediately responded to requests for comment from The Huffington Post.

However, since the targets of the arrest warrants live in New York City, Harper's talk of apprehending them may just be symbolic. On the phone Monday morning, Greaves did not seem worried about being arrested.

"I think the police captain is trying to allay the fears of the local people," he told HuffPost, adding his group has "no ill will at all" toward the people of Meridian and "regret[s] if they caused them any consternation."

Greaves also questioned the charge of trespassing, saying the cemetery was ungated and the group had visited in the afternoon, during a time when other people could be seen walking about the gravestones.

On its website, the Satanic Temple says the ritual, which was held July 14, was held as a show of support for legal equality for same-sex couples. The group says the idea for the ritual protest came after the Westboro Baptist Church threatened to protest the funerals of victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

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