Noosa’s Satanists are calling on the Morrison government to protect their right to freedom of religion as thousands of Christians mount an online campaign to have their first annual Black Mass cancelled.

As the Noosa Temple of Satan counts down to its sold-out event this Halloween, an online petition describing the event as ‘anti-Christian’ is gathering support for the Noosa council to put a stop to the event.

In the space of 48 hours, the petition – identified as being run by a site belonging to US group The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property – has collected more than 20,000 signatures. It has also been shared by the fundamentalist Australian-based Christian group Canberra Declaration.

The petition is addressed to Noosa’s mayor, Clare Stewart, as the Black Mass is scheduled to be held at a Noosa council venue which also hosts Hillsong's Sunday services.

Secular activist Robin Bristow, who is also known as Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon and is head of the Noosa Temple of Satan, says the Black Mass event is all about encouraging a sense of community and fellowship.

“The ball is really now in the court of Scott Morrison and his government to put their money where their mouths are and show us how committed they are to freedom of religion,” Robin told the Iron Fist & Velvet Glove podcast yesterday.

“The government has been promoting freedom of speech, freedom of religion, anti-cancel culture and all these kinds of concepts. And, suddenly, when we ask them to stand up, they are nowhere to be seen.”

While being an ardent supporter of secularism, the Noosa Temple of Satan is warning that it will seek to take full advantage of any privileges that are granted to religious groups if the Morrison government’s proposed Religious Discrimination Bill is passed by the federal parliament.

The Australian Christian Lobby, which is pushing the Morrison government to expand ‘religious freedoms’ and which often rails against ‘cancel culture’, is yet to publicly declare whether it supports the right of Noosa’s Satanists to exercise their freedom of expression and their right to hold the Black Mass.

With the Noosa Temple of Satan receiving threatening messages on social media, Robin says he is disappointed that the police have so far shown little interest in pursuing the perpetrators.

This is another post on the topic of #ReligiousFreedom in Australia.

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At the National Secular Lobby, we're pleased to have joined forces with a number of pro-secular community organisations in the #DontDivideUs campaign against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill. Add your voice to the campaign.