Satanic Temple to open first headquarters in Salem, host art gallery, lectures, possibly weddings
In this Jan. 24, 2015 file photo, Chris Bridges holds a sign for The Satanic Temple during a protest outside of an all-day prayer rally headlined by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in Baton Rouge. The Satanic Temple is now proposing an "After School Satan" program at elementary schools nationwide. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman, File) (Jonathan Bachman)
The Satanic Temple and their seven-and-a-half foot tall bronze statue of Baphomet is headed to Salem soon.
The mostly virtual group will open their first official headquarters in the Witch City on Friday, September 23.
The statue of the 1-ton, bronze, goat-headed idol is most known for the group's attempt to put it next to the 10 Commandments monument on public grounds in Arkansas or Oklahoma.
Lucien Greaves, co-founder of the Satanic Temple, said the statue will reside in Salem, until it can be placed next to the 10 Commandments monument or it's needed somewhere else. But that's not all the headquarters is about.
The Satanic Temple advocates for the separation of church and state. They don't view Satan as an evil figure, but one who dared question authority.
The headquarters will offer the Salem Art Gallery, which is a "permanent exhibition dedicated to 'Satanic Panic' witch-hunts past and present," according to their site.
Greaves said dissolution of marriage ceremonies and pet funerals are something that could be really important to people but often lack the space or presence in everyday culture.
They haven't had much push back from the community Greaves said but "its too early to tell." He's hoping they don't run into any issues but are being proactive, asking neighbors to come and ask questions on opening day.
"We are not here to attack or insult," Greaves said.
Patheos noted they are near a church but that's a coincidence, according to Greaves. The property was donated to the Satanic Temple, although they will be funding the upkeep on their own.
"I don't see our activities encroaching on their's," Greaves said. And vice versa, he added.