The Satanic Temple is bringing blasphemy and remembrance to Boston for its second annual national conference, SatanCon, from April 28 to 30.
No venue has yet been announced for the in-person conference, which will feature speakers discussing the impact of The Satanic Temple, or TST, on the community, an author’s panel, mixer events, a Satanic Marketplace with artists and vendors selling goods, and musical performances. Although the 2023 schedule has not been released, last year’s convention featured panels including “Satanism and the BIPOC Community” and “Abortion as a (Religious) Right.”
Celebrating its tenth year anniversary, TST is dedicating this year’s SatanCon to Mayor Michelle Wu for “her repeated unconstitutional efforts to keep TST out of public spaces,” according to an announcement from the Salem, Mass.,-based organization’s Twitter account.
In an e-mail to the Globe, the Mayor’s press office stated that the event is not sponsored by either the mayor or the city.
In 2016, TST requested to deliver an invocation before a Boston City Council meeting — a request that City Council denied. As a result, the dedication to Wu is an attempt to highlight what TST co-founder Lucien Greaves called “clear corruption on the part of the Boston City Council” for violating the religious freedoms of the Satanists. TST is also currently suing the City of Boston for denying their invocation request.
“The Supreme Court ruled in favor of such invocations of prayers being given so long as they are open and available to everybody,” Lucien said to the Globe. “They need to still respect pluralism and still respect people’s religious liberty and recognize that no government agency has the right to limit the civic capacities of any one viewpoint over another.”
The organization also has had difficulty in the past getting approval to fly its flag at Boston City Hall, despite a Supreme Court decision last year that found in favor of a Christian rights group, ruling that the City of Boston violated the group’s First Amendment rights when it refused to fly a flag bearing a cross outside City Hall in 2017.
“What’s particularly egregious is us bringing this to court,” Greaves said to the Globe. “The fact that they’ve taken it upon themselves to pick and choose … which religious voices can give preliminary invocations at City Council meetings.”
The temple held its first national, sold-out convention last year in Scottsdale, Ariz. After its initial success, TST is planning to make the conference a yearly event, according to Greaves.
Greaves said ticket sales for last year were sold out, and he expects similar attendance this year.
“We just weren’t sure, because it was the first one, just how much the demand would actually translate into ticket sales,” Greaves said “But it sold out anyway, so we’re expecting it’ll easily sell out this time.”
SatanCon 2023′s announcement was met with some resistance. Greg Locke, the Evangelical and anti-vax lead pastor of Tennessee-based Global Vision Bible Church, announced plans on Twitter to organize a gathering in protest of the conference in response to SatanCon 2023′s announcement.
“Be prepared folks, I’m organizing a massive gathering and deliverance service on April 28th in protest of this demonic and blasphemous agenda,” Locke tweeted.
SatanCon 2023 attendees are required to show proof of COVID vaccination and wear N-95, KN-95, or surgical masks at all times.