The Massachusetts Satanic Temple has made a request to fly its organization’s flag at the Boston City Hall following a ruling last week by the U.S. Supreme Court that the city had acted unconstitutionally by refusing to allow a Christian group’s flag to be displayed.
The Satanic Temple posted a copy of its request in a tweet on Tuesday. It asked to have the city approve the flag for display during what it called “Satanic Appreciation Week” from July 23 through 29. The tweet made note of the Supreme Court ruling against the city last week.
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves told reporters that religious liberty is a “bedrock principle” in a democracy and is dependent on the government maintaining “viewpoint neutrality.” He added that if public officials are permitted to prefer some religious viewpoints over others, the nation becomes a “theocracy.”
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s office told CNN that the city government was “carefully reviewing” the ruling from last week and will “ensure that future City of Boston programs” comply with the ruling.
The Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that Boston had violated the First Amendment rights of Camp Constitution, a New Hampshire Christian organization that had asked to have its flag displayed on one of the flagpoles at City Hall in 2017.
The city refused Camp Constitution’s request, although it operated a program that had allowed a wide variety of flags from private groups to be displayed outside City Hall. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the city had improperly discriminated against the group because of the religious viewpoint presented by their flag.
The Satanic Temple is based in Salem and says that it has not yet determined which of its several flags it wants to display at City Hall. Greaves told reporters that the group is still discussing which design “might be best for this specific purpose.”
The Massachusetts Satanic Temple has existed since 2013 and says it is not affiliated with the Church of Satan, which has been involved in disputes about the use of public spaces since the 1960s. The group says that it is a “religious organization” that promotes “individual rights.” It claims to practice “non-theistic Satanism” as a secular religion that says it does not believe in the supernatural. It says that it uses Satan as a “symbol of defiance, independence, wisdom, and self-empowerment.”
The group wrote to the Food and Drug Administration last year to claim that it considers abortion to be one of its “religious rituals” and any law that restricts their access to killing unborn children is a “violation of its religious liberty.”