Apr 27, 2023 - Things to Do

The satanists come to Boston

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Boston will host the nation's largest gathering of satanists this weekend, as legions of religious rights activists attend the second annual SatanCon.

What's happening: The Satanic Temple, a Salem-based religious rights organization, says the convention will bring together its members from across the world.

  • The sold-out convention starts Friday and runs through Sunday at the Marriott Copley Place.

The intrigue: The Satanic Temple isn't hiding the fact that they've decided to host the event in Boston as part of their spat with Mayor Wu and the Boston City Council for denying their request to give an invocation at City Hall or to fly their flag over the building.

  • SatanCon Campaign Director Harry Hoofcloppen said in a statement the group will have a presence in Boston that Wu cannot silence without abusing her power.

What they're saying: "The rot in Boston extends beyond Wu, as the judiciary has been brazenly and shamelessly corrupt as well," for not upholding the group's right to give an invocation or fly the flag, as other religious groups regularly do, Hoofcloppen said.

The other side: Wu will be out of town during the convention on some godlier business – celebrating her goddaughter's first communion and confirmation, and her nephew's baptism.

  • A Wu spokesperson told Axios the City Council extends invitations for invocations, not the mayor.

Of note: These aren't your grandfather's satanists. They use provocative imagery in public media campaigns meant to advance secularism, science and individual liberties.

Details: Beyond satanic rituals, the convention will feature educational talks on secularism, freedom of thought and other contemporary issues.

  • Talks include "Hellbillies: Visible Satanism in Rural America" and "BIPOC Body Modification in Satanic Culture."
  • A satanic marketplace will be open to the public and offering wares from 50 merchants, including a chapel hosting weddings and other rites.
  • An “Impius Conventus'' (Godless Assembly) on Saturday at the Middle East will feature Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves’ industrial metal band Satanic Planet.

The Archdiocese of Boston told parishioners in a letter to pray instead of protesting the convention and giving organizers more attention.

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