The Satanic Temple wanted a flag flown over a downtown structure, days after the Supreme Court ruled that Boston, Massachusetts was incorrect to restrict a group from flying a Christian flag at city hall.
On Twitter, the Salem-based group announced that it has filed a request with Boston's property management department to raise and lower a flag during "Satanic Appreciation Week" from July 23 to 29.
Along with a screenshot of the request, they regarded the request as a response to the Supreme Court finding that Boston violated First Amendment rights by refusing to fly a Christian flag at City Hall Plaza.
Lucien Greaves, the organization's co-founder, told The Associated Press in an email, "When government officials can impose arbitrary restrictions on claims of conscience or to abridge the civic capacities of some based on their religious identity, we fail to be a free, democratic republic."
The United Federation of Churches LLC, popularly known as the Satanic Temple, describes itself as a proponent of compassion and empathy among people who oppose oppressive authority.
The Satanic Temple has yet to select which of its official flags it would want the city to fly, according to Greaves. One of their flags resembles the American flag, with only black and white stripes and a pentagram and goat skull insignia in place of the 50 stars.
The goal of the Satanic Temple was to see if the city's court-ordered adoption of religious flags includes a commitment to pluralism. However, when Reuters asked about the Satanic Temple's request, a spokesman for Mayor Michelle Wu's office mentioned that the program had been suspended and that the city was studying the high court's decision from Monday.
The city had run a program allowing private organizations to utilize the flagpole while staging events in the plaza below. It has stated it will re-evaluate the program, which was paused last October amid the dispute to ensure that the city could not be forced to "publicize messages contrary to its own."
A 'Counter-Balance' to Christianity
To challenge Christian student clubs in public schools, The Satanic Temple founded a worldwide "After School Satan Club" in 2016. Their formation was to counterfeit the "Christian Good News Club," which was already established across the nation.
The Christian club's existence in public schools, Greaves said at the time, "generated the need for a counter-balance in the extracurricular alternatives."
At the time, Moises Esteves, vice president of Child Evangelism Fellowship's USA Ministries, told the Christian Post that the Satan club was "yet another atheist PR ploy" that "had no staying power."
Esteves stated that the "After-School Satan Club" was just another atheist group looking for attention. He pointed out that the mascot selection showed that the school's officials rejected God and were seeking to enrage or frighten parents and students. Like others before it, Esteves said that it will die out because parents don't want their children to be used for furious atheists' "mix of political action, religious critique, and performance art."
In April 2022, a Pennsylvania school district rejected a parent's request to start an "After School Satan Club" at an elementary school for pupils who desire to join a non-religious extracurricular program. The Satanic Temple has filed a legal lawsuit against a Pennsylvania elementary school, only days after the district denied the request.