The Satanic Temple has decided to move their international headquarters to the Massachusetts town of Salem. It seems fitting that the religious and political group emblazoned with the image of Baphomet would decide to place its headquarters in a town whose history includes a period where people were executed for alleged ties to the Devil. But despite the irony of the Satanic Temple’s move, there actually isn’t much going on by way of backlash.
Satanic Temple Spokesperson Lucien Greaves explained on the group’s website why Salem was chosen for its international headquarters.
“Salem emerged as an obvious choice to be established as the base for our operations. In addition to Salem’s history and proximity to the intellectual hub of Boston, the people we have spoken to have been incredibly friendly and supportive. Salem is quaint, and quite lovely, and we intend to contribute to the cultural climate while maintaining the community’s high standards. The irony that a town which once executed people because of alleged ties to Satan will now be hosting the headquarters of the world’s largest satanic organization is not lost on us. The fact that we have a home in Salem is a testament to the progressive mentality of the people there, and the local government’s support of plurality.”
Mr. Greaves’ statement speaks to the progressiveness of the people in Salem and to the town’s support of plurality, but according to an article about the move in the Boston Herald, the people of Salem are feeling “unsettled” by the impending presence of the Satanic Temple. The Boston Globe, however, in an article covering the Satanic Temple’s move to “The Witch City,” quoted Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll’s chief of staff, Dominick Pangallo, as saying the mayor’s office has “received a total of four phone calls” from citizens “expressing concerns or objections” about the Satanic Temple’s headquarters moving to Salem.
Four calls. That is hardly worth referring to a town of over 40,000 people as “unsettled.”
But even if there are a few people in a town as spiritually eclectic as Salem, Mass. concerned about the Satanic Temple coming to town, they need not fear. Mr. Greaves has stated clearly and publicly that the move is not designed to be an “attack” on anyone and that the group will not be going around town and proselytizing, like some other religions tend to do…
The Satanic Temple has been one of the more recognizable challengers to sociopolitical religiosity in the United States in recent years. When the Oklahoma State Capitol erected a Ten Commandments monument, the Satanic Temple was there with a proposed statue of Baphomet that, according to Mr. Greaves, “offers a lap that visitors can come sit on, have their picture taken with.” The Oklahoma State Capitol, along with the state representative who funded the monument, balked, taking the monument down amidst controversy, scolding by the state Supreme Court, and efforts by the Satanic Temple to juxtapose Mosaic law with an image deemed evil.
A similar incident took place in Little Rock, Ark.
The new international headquarters of the Satanic Temple will be at 64 Bridge Street, Salem. The 134-year-old Victorian mansion that will house the Satanic Temple is formerly a funeral home and an art museum, and is located about 650 yards from a Catholic church and around the block from Carlton Innovation elementary school.
Unfortunately, Calrton Innovation has not implemented the Satanic Temple’s “After School Satan” club for their children to learn reason, science, and rational thought… at least, for now.
Featured image by SalemPuritan, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.