Midlanders gather to pray about impending band performance

MIDLAND -- Concerned community members prayed over the community Friday night, after learning that a Swedish heavy metal band that they said has Satanic influences, is playing a local concert venue next week.

Midland Pastor Larry Long said he was shocked to learn the Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center agreed to employ the band, "Ghost."

“We’re not here to protest. We’re just simply here to pray, to pray His protection, to plead the blood of Christ over our community. This kind of band will bring spiritual influences into this area. We’re concerned about it, because we believe the devil is real, just as we believe God is real,” he said.

The pastor added that while some people might take the matter lightly, they believe the band’s presence can have real implications.

“And people who think that’s nonsense, probably don’t believe in God or the devil. But because we believe in God, we also believe in the devil. So we believe that this is a real battle, and it’s important for us to be in prayer,” he said.

The concerned community members were not protesting the band or the performing arts center, but praying against spiritual influences that they say are as dark as the patch of dirt they were moved to when their meeting started.

“The fact that they describe themselves as a worship band for Satan, is, I think quite shocking. And I think most of our community would be surprised to learn that. They cover their faces with masks that look like devils in their concerts, and they are all about worshipping and brining glory to Satan. And it’s just not the thing I think most of Permian Basin would be happy to have in our community,” he said.

The pastor added that he believes the namesakes of the arts center would be upset to learn the band was commissioned to play at the venue.

Several community members said they reached out to the Wagner Noel, but did not get their questions answered.

The performing arts center released a statement to CBS7 saying, in part, the venue offers a range of musical talent for varying audiences, and they choose popular bands.