Satanists, protesters expected in Scottsdale for The Satanic Temple's inaugural convention

·4 min read
The Satanic Temple is holding its inaugural convention in Scottsdale this weekend.
The Satanic Temple is holding its inaugural convention in Scottsdale this weekend.

The Satanic Temple's first-ever convention will be held in Scottsdale over the weekend, drawing both Satanists and protesters to Old Town.

The convention will start at 2 p.m. Friday at the Saguaro Hotel near Indian School Road and Drinkwater Boulevard and continue through Sunday afternoon.

Friday's scheduled activities include Satanic Jeopardy! and an "Impurity Ball," an off-site event intended to be a "display of bodily autonomy, personal growth, and the joys of sinning with abandon."

Lucien Greaves, the temple's co-founder and spokesperson, is set to deliver the keynote speech on Saturday followed by sessions on topics including using public records to "Fight Satanic Panic," "Abortion as a (Religious) Right" and Satanism's relationship with communities of color.

The third and final day of the convention will offer sessions on raising children in a satanic household and after-school Satan clubs, followed by a closing ceremony in the early afternoon.

Conference tickets were sold out as of Thursday morning, but a "Satanic Marketplace" will be open to the public from 1 to 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. The cost for those not attending the conference is $5.

Attendees are required to provide proof of vaccination and wear a surgical, N95 or KN95 mask throughout the convention.

According to its website, the temple's mission 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."

Past controversies over satanic invocations at City Council meetings

The temple announced the inaugural convention in November, more than a year after it lost a federal religious discrimination lawsuit against Scottsdale. The temple sued the city in 2018 after one of its members was barred from giving an invocation at a Scottsdale City Council meeting in 2016.

At the time, the city said invocations are reserved for organizations with "substantial" ties to Scottsdale. A U.S. District Court judge ruled in the city's favor in early 2020, saying that the temple had not proven it was discriminated against because of its religious beliefs.

The temple, which founded its Arizona chapter in early 2016, is dedicating the convention to former Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp, who it said "took pride in depriving The Satanic Temple of their civil liberties."

The Phoenix City Council in 2016 voted to end its decades-long tradition of starting its meeting with an invocation after controversy emerged over a scheduled prayer by members of The Satanic Temple.

The invocation was temporarily replaced with a "moment of silent prayer and reflection," though the council voted the following month to restore spoken prayer. The ordinance specified that the invocation must be given by chaplains for the police and fire departments.

'We respectfully wish them the best': Temple discourages interacting with protesters

The convention could bring both physical and spiritual protests to the Valley.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix called for believers to "unite in spiritual warfare" as Satanists congregate in Scottsdale.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted discouraged public demonstrations and protests but encouraged acts such as prayer, fasting and participation in sacraments.

"These are the most effective spiritual weapons against Satan's futile attempt at sowing division and confusion in our midst," he said.

Charlie Kirk, the founder of conservative student group Turning Point USA who speaks at Dream City Church's Freedom Night in America event each month, told the crowd about the convention on Feb. 1 and said he was hoping for a "big protest."

"I, for one, want to be part of a group of people that literally drives Satan out of Phoenix and out of Arizona and I hope you'll all join us," Kirk said.

In a Facebook post, the temple urged attendees not to interact with protesters, saying they are "practicing their First Amendment religious rights just as we are."

"We respectfully wish them the best, from one Scottsdale religious organization to another," the post said.

The Satanic Temple did not respond to The Arizona Republic's request for comment.

Reach the reporter at bfrank@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8529. Follow her on Twitter @brieannafrank.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Satanists, protesters expected for convention in Scottsdale