Furious Christian groups are attempting to shut down the ‘largest Satanic gathering in history’ after hundreds of The Satanic Temple’s members descended on Boston.
The annual SatanCon festival arrived in town on Friday to celebrate the organization’s 10-year anniversary, kicking off with a bizarre opening ceremony that saw speakers tear up the bible and perform ‘un-baptisms’.
But the arrival of the Devil worshippers on the East Coast has sparked backlash from religious groups, with crowds gathering Saturday to stage a series of demonstrations across the city and combat the hellish three-day event with ‘intense prayer’.
It comes after Dr Jaymz Sideras, the leader of religious group Revive Boston, warned: ‘While they think they are coming to ambush Boston, little do they know that God has planned to ambush them.’
His organization is hosting a counter-event at the Revere Hotel Boston Common, less than a mile from the Satanist convention at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.
Tempers flared as the conference headed into its second day, with white nationalist group Patriot Front seen brandishing crucifixes.
White nationalist group Patriot Front seen clashing with counter-protestors outside the event
The far right extremists arrived as tensions flared on the second day of the event
Unlike similar groups, The Satanic Temple does not necessarily worship the Devil, but instead views the character as a symbol to ‘reject tyrannical authority’, according to its website.
But its activism, which also centers around the separation of church and state, has caught the ire of several religious groups.
Revive Boston’s website is hosting a weekend of ‘revival’ that will include prayer lessons before groups are sent across ‘key locations’ in Boston to ‘flood the streets with worship and God’s word’.
Another group opposing SatanCon is the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, who told the Catholic News Agency they plan to use ‘intense prayer’ to combat the event.
‘At the direction of the cardinal [Sean O’Malley], we are approaching it through a response balanced and focused on prayer,’ a spokesman added.
A troubling appearance from white nationalist group The Patriot Front also joined the protestors outside the conference.
‘We’ve had threats’, one Satanist attendee told Freedom News. ‘There are protestors, quite a few of them are outside. We have no problem with them protesting, that’s their right to do.’
SatanCon attendees flashing the Devil-horns hand symbol as they shout ‘Hail Satan’ during the opening ceremony
Counter-events have been set up across Boston, while a large number of protestors remain outside the conference
Hundreds of demonstrators were seen outside the event Saturday, including those from a far right extremist group
Several separate groups congregated outside the Marriott Copley Place in protest
The protests grew after groups began gathering Friday, including members of The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, who held signs reading ‘Satan Has No Rights’.
Other signs seen outside the event included anti-abortion and anti-LGBT placards, and another reading ‘If it contradicts the bible, it’s not science… it’s a lie.’
SatanCon began Friday with a bizarre opening ceremony that saw speakers tear apart bibles and perform ‘un-baptisms’.
And after Boston Mayor Michelle Wu refused to allow the organization to deliver a Satanic invocation at Boston City Hall, the group decided to dedicate the conference in her honor.
Marking its 10-year anniversary in Boston’s Marriott Copley Place, over 800 mask-wearing attendees reveled in stories of the fiery depths while enjoying sermons from speakers.
Members of The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property protested outside the event
Demonstrators have introduced several counter-events to show their opposition to the conference
Several religious groups have protested the event. Pictured: A member of the The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property outside the conference Friday
A protestor holding a sign reading ‘Begone Satan!’ on the streets of Boston as the event got underway
Furious religious protestors also held anti-abortion and anti-LGBT signs in opposition of the event
‘Hail Satan!’ screamed one of the speakers, Chalice Blythe, who repeated the chant as she tore up a bible and a ‘thin blue line’ police-advocacy flag during the opening ceremony.
Another speaker dressed in a large red smock smashed a computer keyboard as he declared: ‘For those of us who can, we must stand up for those who cannot’.
A satanic market was also on display at the event, where people could buy a variety of Lucifer-inspired souvenirs.
Satirical ‘Live Laugh Love’ pillows and demonic goats head dolls were on display at the market, alongside t-shirts, candles, jewelry and Satanic literature.
A large police presence has been stationed nearby in anticipation of protests
SatanCon programming director Chalice Blythe pictured tearing up a bible during the event’s opening ceremony
A speaker smashed a keyboard during the opening ceremony
A ‘Satanic Market’ sold a variety of Lucifer-inspired souvenirs
A satirical ‘Live Laugh Love’ pillow was sold at the event that is dubbed the largest ‘Satancon’
Demonic goats head dolls were also on display at the gathering in Boston
The group has captured headlines in recent years after campaigning to introduce its one-ton goat-head idol statue next to any monument commemorating the 10 Commandments on public grounds.
Its members claim not to view Satan as evil, but rather see the character as a symbol for questioning authority.
After opening its first official headquarters in Salem, Oregon, in 2016, the activists have attempted to lead the way in advocating for a separation of church and state.
While Mayor Wu has found herself as the subject of this year’s conference, The Satanic Temple previously dedicated other events to public figures who opposed them.
Before an event in Scottsdale, Arizona, former Republican Mayor Jim Lane and former Republican Councilor Suzanne Klapp also had the gathering dedicated to them after also denying a request for a satanic invocation at a City Council meeting.
The group’s advocacy of Satanism sparked outrage last month after a California elementary school began hosting an ‘After School Satan Club’.
One parent, speaking to KBAK, slammed the decision to allow the club as ‘disgusting’, while another said it was ‘a mistake’.
SatanCon didn’t shy away from the controversy, however, with a placard seen on an ‘Education with Satan’ stand at the conference comparing it to the ‘Good News Club’, a religious group that is allowed at schools.
An ‘Education with Satan’ stand was installed at the conference
The stand included a placard comparing its Satanic after-school club with the religious Good News Club
A torn bible, torn Blue Lives Matter flag and fake American money lies on the floor during the opening ceremony
The group claims its after-school class, unlike the Good News Club, ‘promotes a rational, science-based, non-superstitious world view’.
The group attempted to distance itself from other Satanic groups and insisted its main objective it the separation of church and state, and teaching empathy.
‘It’s about supporting human rights. It’s about supporting women’s bodily autonomy. It’s about freedom of religion, freedom from religion, SatanCon attendee Richard-Lael Lillard told WBZ-TV.
‘Most don’t believe in Satan, not a literal Satan. It’s not some 1980s horror film.’
Another attendee, Suzanna Plum, added: ‘I understand the confusion, the fear. I really do, but at the same time, we’re a very misunderstood group.’
‘We’re just like everybody else. We pay our taxes, we want our communities to improve and do better. We love our kids just like everybody else. We’re just normal people, we just believe a little differently.’