SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Protesters gathered on Feb. 11 outside the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, which is the site of the Satanic Temple's first-ever SatanCon.
SatanCon runs through Feb. 13, and includes speakers each day. According to earlier reports, organizers say about 350 people are expected to attend the event, and the event is already sold out.
Protest took place despite plea by Catholic bishop
At the SatanCon site, demonstrators prayed, read scriptures, held signs, banners, rosaries, crosses, and images of the Virgin Mary.
Protesters say they plan to be there throughout the weekend.
"We’re out here to let the Satanists know that there’s no place for evil in Arizona. And we’re here to combat that. And we’re here to say that Jesus is Lord," said a protester, identified only as ‘Marissa.’
The protest took place despite a plea by the Phoenix Catholic Bishop for people to refrain from taking part in such events.
According to an updated statement that was released on Feb. 7, officials with the diocese say they are aware of what they termed as ‘conflicting information’ being spread of social media and websites regarding the diocese's stance on Satancon, and stated that Bishop Thomas Olmsted "reiterates his desire that we refrain from participating in any public demonstration or protest."
The original statement, which was released on Jan. 14, is available via the Wayback Machine. In that statement, officials say Bishop Olmsted "invites the faithful of the Diocese of Phoenix to join him for a month of increased spiritual warfare and reception of the sacraments."
"[Bishop Olmsted] continues to invite the faithful to unite in spiritual warfare through prayer, fasting and participation in the Sacraments. These are the most effective spiritual weapons against Satan’s futile attempt at sowing division and confusion in our midst," read a portion of the updated statement that was released by officials with the Dioceses on Feb. 7.
SatanCon takes place near City hall
The event is taking place near the Scottsdale City Hall, where Tucson attorney Stu De Haan and Michelle Shortt were denied a request in 2016 to deliver an invocation at a city council meeting. An Associated Press report in 2018 states that city officials opted to keep with tradition in allowing prayer only from groups with substantial ties to Scottsdale.
The incident sparked a lawsuit that was filed in 2018, with the plaintiffs asking a judge to find Scottsdale in violation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment right to free speech and to prevent the city from denying prayer opportunities to non-Christian religious groups. We have learned that the group ultimately lost the lawsuit.
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