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SALEM, Mass. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Atheist group The Satanic Temple (TST) is announcing the opening of its world headquarters this week in Salem, Massachusetts.
The controversial group is using a 19th-century house for its building and will have a portion of the property open to the public on September 23 as the Salem Art Gallery. The gallery will host "local and internationally acclaimed artists and displays, historic exhibits," as well as "lectures, films, book readings and debates."
Group spokesman Lucien Greaves called Salem "an obvious choice" for its headquarters, noting, "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 organization claims to follow non-theistic Satanism, and maintains followers believe in reason and science but not in anything supernatural — claiming "activism is the truest form of belief."
Members of the Detroit chapter conducted publicity stunts involving the sacrilegious use of Catholic imagery and belief, especially on Good Friday, when they mocked the Crucifixion of Christ. In Detroit in July 2015, the group unveiled a seven-foot high bronze statue of the demon Baphomet.
The Satanic Temple is not associated with another group of self-professed satanists, the Church of Ahriman, which made news in August when it conducted a public ceremony blaspheming the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Group leader Adam Daniels conducted two satanic black masses at the Oklahoma City Civic Center since September 2014 and presided over the desecration of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Christmas Eve in 2015. Daniels noted the reason for the 2015 desecration was in retaliation for the Catholic reaction to his 2014 black mass in Oklahoma City and the July 2015 exposure of the Baphomet statue unveiling in Detroit.
He noted that the reason for the desecration was "to add another layer of corruption to Mary, which is an emblem of the Catholic Church."
Greaves says the people of Salem have been "incredibly friendly and supportive." The mayor's office notes it has only received four phone calls "expressing concerns or objections."