Religious Freedom or Ridiculous? A Satanic conference is coming to Scottsdale

How far can religious freedom go? Can it extend all the way to absurdity? Those boundaries are being tested in Scottsdale as we speak…by Satanists.

The Satanic Temple of Salem announced on Instagram that it will be holding their first conference, named SatanCon, in Scottsdale next February. There likely won’t be any ritualistic sacrifices nor biting off of bats’ heads. A look at their website implies that this is actually a civic and politically-minded organization, with focuses on pushing for religious freedom and against abortion restrictions.

The STS made waves in Scottsdale already by attempting to give an invocation at a City Council meeting back in 2016. The courts eventually ruled against them, with an initial appeal rejected by the US 9th Circuit Appeals Court, The STS choosing to have their first conference in the city where we attempted to stretch the boundaries of religious choice and lost is likely no coincidence.

Former Mayor Jim Lane, who was one of the parties who refused the group their invocation 5 years ago, had this to say about the conference: “It’s fine that they will be here, and that’s certainly well within everybody’s rights, We consider ourselves a very inclusive community.” Bygones are bygones apparently.

Meanwhile, their choice of Scottsdale is obviously a statement. No one could realistically believe that Scottsdale is a hot-bed of satanic activity, nor is it heavy on the demographics that would likely be most receptive to their message. It has all the hallmarks of an action meant to poke the political bear, but as Mayor Lane implies, that bear doesn’t care.

So is this a religious and political freedom issue, or is this just absurdity looking for attention? There are serious conversations to be had about what constitutes religion and where and how it can be expressed. However the STS looks to be little more than an attempted political movement disguised as a pseudo-religion than anything approaching actual religion, and their choice to have their conference here only affirms that. So in our eyes, it looks a lot more absurdist than serious. We just hope that they spend lots of money while they’re here; if they’re going to put on their charade, they might as well boost the local economy while they’re at it.