BOSTON, Mass. — The Boston chapter of the Satanic Temple recently sought to offer an invocation during their city’s council meeting, but the request was rejected.
“The religious oppression felt by those outside the Christian community in Boston is a blight on an otherwise liberal state,” the request letter, written by chapter head Travis LeSaffre, read. “Consider what your actions could do to increase the diversity of the city council’s current invocation schedule and the light it can shine on religious plurality within the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
He told reporters that the purpose of the mission was to ensure that various religions are represented during city council meetings—not only Christianity.
“Our goal in this specific endeavor is to either receive equal religious protection from the city of Boston or to prove the inequity and hypocrisy of the city’s leadership,” LeSaffre explained to the Boston Globe.
His plans were to use the invocation time to outline the tenets of the Satanic Temple and to speak about the separation of Church and State.
LeSaffre told the Boston Herald that he believes the city council misunderstands the Satanic Temple, as members are not conventional Satanists, but rather “non-theistic Satanists.”
“It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan,” the group’s website reads. “To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”
The national organization views Satan as a metaphor for rebellion rather than an actual living entity.
“Satan is symbolic of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds,”the group outlines. “Satan is an icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer—the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions.”
He sent requests to three entities to ask for sponsorship—Councilors Tito Jackson and Mark Ciommo, and City Council President Michelle Wu—but Jackson and Ciommo did not respond, and Wu declined.
“It’s individual councilors’ choices who they invite,” Wu told the Boston Globe. “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.”
As previously reported, in July, Satanic Temple member David Suhor was permitted to deliver a Satanic invocation during the Pensacola, Florida City Council meeting. He delivered a loud song, belting out, “That which will not bend must break” and “That which is destroyed by truth should never be spared. Its demise, it is done. Hail Satan!”
Suhor admitted that the invocation was offered to combat what he saw as “Christian privilege.”
“Adopt some [expletive] rules. Stop pandering for votes. Quit pushing Christian privilege as we’ve seen with the Bayview cross and so many other issues and instead go to a moment of silence, that lets everybody pray or not according to their own conscience,” he declared to councilors, angrily smacking his notebook on the podium.