A Boston satanic organization is asking to be invited to perform an invocation at a City Council meeting.
Invocations are typically given by a minister, priest or other religious personage at the beginning of meetings of municipal government bodies.
Travis LeSaffre, chapter head of the Satanic Temple’s Boston congregation, wrote the letter to City Council President Councilor Michelle Wu this week asking to be allowed to perform the invocation at a future meeting.
“We’re a group of politically aware, non-theistic Satanists active within your community,” he wrote.
“It would be shocking if I am turned away due to my faith while other religions are allowed to hold prayers in a government building,” the letter reads. “In fact, I would say that it would be a breach of the first amendment.
Wutold the Boston Globethat there are about 36 meetings every year and thatcouncilors choose whom to invite to deliver the invocation.
“It’s not based on anyone’s religious preference, but it does often recognize figures that have done work in the community and are representative of the district,” Wu told the paper.
“Most councilors have already invited their faith leaders to come in, so there are a limited number of spots left…Many of us have a long list of folks who we would like to have the chance to invite to the council meetings.”
LeSaffre accused the council of only inviting clergy who have been “overwhelmingly Christian” to perform the invocation, and “pleaded” with the councilor “as a member of a religious minority” to allow the temple to perform the ceremony.
“The religious oppression felt by those outside the Christian community in Boston is a blight on an otherwise liberal state,” he added.
The mission of The Satanic Temple is “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 guided by the individual will,” LaSaffre said.
A person responding to messages on the group’s Twitter page provided a phone number for a group spokesperson, who said he preferred the pseudonym “Adam.” He verified his real identity and membership in the local temple to Metro, but said he would prefer a fake name be used to avoid backlash that often comes with the association.
“We’ve met many people who were completely supportive, but unfortunately the ones that are not that supportive and — maybe more threatening — are very loud,” he said. “Most members keep this part of their life private because…there’s not a lot of open arms for people when you question their faith’s stranglehold on the government.”
A temple member who spoke to Metro on the condition he be referred to as “Adam,” said the Boston temple started in March and has conducted food drives and other charity events to start raising awareness and giving back to the community.
He added that the group was “non-theistic,” and worshipped Satan not as a literal deity but a metaphor representing “the ultimate rebel.”
“We don’t have any black masses,” he said. “We don’t sacrifice things. We’re a religion that likes to serve society.”
It’s not the only satanic development in the Bay State this fall: Salem, Massachusetts, just saw the opening of a new Satanic Temple headquarters and museum last month.