First State Satanists get permit for vigil in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN — The First State Satanists group has received permission from the town of Georgetown to hold a vigil on The Circle Dec. 21, the same date and time as a live nativity spurred by the Good Ole Boy Foundation.

Georgetown Town Manager Gene Dvornick said he received a “Circle Use Permit” request from the Delaware-based group and it has been reviewed and approved.

First State Satanists, a non-theistic modern satanic group, plan to hold a public candlelight vigil in observance of the winter solstice, the group announced in a press release Friday.
Per the request to the town, First State Satanists plan to have a vigil “celebrating their deeply held religious beliefs and religious diversity in Southern Delaware.”

The First State Satanists’ permit for The Circle was requested for Dec. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. The group’s release lists the time for the winter solstice gathering from 6 to 8 p.m.

The First State Satanists’ vigil would coincide with an ongoing live nativity also planned on The Circle that evening. Nightly presentations began there Wednesday, Dec. 11, and are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 24.

According to the First State Satanists’ release, “the winter solstice, also known as midwinter, has historically been celebrated as the last major feast before the freeze of winter to celebrate the new solar year and is a time of light and bounty. A wide variety of ancient religions have for centuries celebrated holidays marked by midwinter, including Yule and Saturnalia.

This event will serve as an opportunity for the group and the community to come together with love and light on the longest night of the year, in celebration of the longer days to come, the closing of the current year, and the beginning of a new decade.”

The live nativity effort was spurred by the Good Ole Boy Foundation stemming from community reaction to a recent town of Georgetown policy revision that in the realm of public safety and protection prohibits unattended displays and structures on The Circle. In past years, a church had put nativity on The Circle.

In a statement the Good Ole Boy Foundation said it “is proud to have pulled our community together to bring the first ever live nativity scene to the Georgetown circle over the last few days. The community response has been tremendous, and it has been enjoyable to see everyone come out to celebrate the true reason for the season. We certainly understand that other groups with different views have the same right to express their beliefs on public property. We look forward to continuing to bring joy to Delawareans with our display each night through Christmas Eve.”

Mr. Dvornick said both organizations were notified that “should the town receive a request for other events during the same timeframe as your event, after appropriate review, approval may be granted for use of another area of The Circle.”

In both instances, as part of their permits, The Circle is to remain open to the public at all times, not to block any pedestrians, to allow people that want to come up and take pictures of the Christmas tree, walk around the Circle, etc., Mr. Dvornick said.

“It is an open public space,” he said.

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