US to host largest-ever Satanic gathering
The Satanic Temple group has announced on social media that SatanCon 2023 will take place at the end of April in Boston, Massachusetts. Dubbed the “largest Satanic gathering in history,” this year’s convention will celebrate the Temple’s tenth anniversary.
Those who show up to the ‘Hexennacht in Boston’ on April 28, will have to wear “an N-95, KN-95, or disposable surgical mask,” according to the convention website. Other details, such as the exact venue in the “historic downtown,” the schedule of events, or names of speakers, have yet to be provided.
After holding the first-ever SatanCon last year in Arizona, The Satanic Temple (TST) is moving the event closer to its international headquarters in nearby Salem, known for its “witch trials” in the late 1600s. The Temple claims it has around 2,500 members in the Boston area.
The group insists it doesn’t actually believe in the devil, and its official mission is to “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits.”
They have also declared abortion a fundamental religious right, and argued that any state laws restricting the practice are unfairly discriminating against their members. After coming into the national spotlight due to that advocacy in 2020, the actual Church of Satan denounced TST as “a political activist group who uses scandalous language to get press attention.”
The Temple is best known for filing lawsuits against local and state authorities, claiming infringement of religious freedoms when their demands to deliver satanic invocations or display satanic statues on public property are rejected. In July 2021, it petitioned Boston to fly a flag outside the city hall for “Satan Appreciation Week,” but was turned down. The city went on to change its flag policy in October that year.
Boston and the Massachusetts colony were originally founded by the Puritans, an austere Protestant sect that believed the Church of England was too similar to the Roman Catholic Church it had separated from.