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Devil's work: How Satanists have bought into Mayor's spiritual adviser controversy

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Community faith groups and public worshippers have been banished from the Gold Coast Mayor’s new prayer room, just weeks after the facility opened, after the Noosa Temple of Satan attempted to make a booking this week to pray for the return of cast-out demonic spirits.

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Trevor Bell from the Noosa Temple of Satan said the group was initially told by Mayor Tom Tate’s controversial spiritual adviser Pastor Sue Baynes that the space was available.

However, after revealing their identity and program of prayers, the group was then told both their access and all general public group access, regardless of beliefs or affiliations, had been suspended.

Indeed, the group reported that the Mayor suggested the satanists “go to hell.”

“They have made their decision to go to hell, that’s their democratic right and enjoy your journey,” the group reported Tate as saying.

The incident is the latest in the saga of Tate’s decision to unilaterally open the prayer room and appoint for himself a ratepayer-funded, evangelical spiritual adviser.

In a shock to many of the city’s councillors, Tate appointed Baynes to his staff and opened the prayer room in council chambers without consultation, leading to questions over the degree of influence Baynes holds over the Mayor.

Since the move, it has emerged that Baynes claimed she deliberately sought to exert influence over Tate and convert him to a radical Christian movement called the Seven Mountain Mandate.

She claims she sends texts from God to the Mayor, whom she baptised in 2018.

She has also labelled the iconic Home of the Arts (HOTA) cultural precinct a “demonic stronghold,” had actively cast out the demonic spirits, and proclaimed she was engaged in a spiritual battle to awaken the city to God.

Tate has defended Baynes’ right to free speech.

Bell said the Sunshine Coast-based temple’s booking of the prayer room for its members was a direct response to Baynes’ proclamations.

Pastor Sue Baynes has become a controversial figure on the Gold Coast over the influence she has over Mayor Tom Tate. (Image: YouTube)

It is understood the Satanists were just one of a slew of ‘unsolicited’ enquiries to council in the wake of Baynes beliefs being exposed, requesting access to congregate in the prayer room.

Council responded with the shutdown citing security concerns, leaving the prayer room solely for Baynes and internal council use.

“We look at laws or privileges that are available in the community that are available for Christian groups or other faiths, and we try to exercise those same rights,” Bell told ABC Gold Coast.

“We are active in claiming the same rights and privileges for Satanism that are commonly enjoyed by other faiths and clearly making a point to people that these privileges should be for all faiths.

“She said she basically drove out demonic spirits from HOTA. Imagine if she said she drove out Hindu spirits or Muslim spirits or other spirits. Imagine if she picked on other religions in the same way as she picked on Satanic religions, it wouldn’t be accepted.

“This is part of educating people like Sue Baynes that it’s a multi-faith world now, you don’t get it all your own way, you have to consider other faiths.”

The Noosa Temple of Satan, which has more than 8,000 followers on Facebook, has been around since 2019 when it was formed to challenge the federal government’s proposal for a religious discrimination bill, arguing it should be replaced with a human rights act.

Bell, a lawyer, also represented the Temple in a Supreme Court case against the Queensland Education Department, arguing that Satanists should also be allowed the opportunity to teach religious instruction in schools, and if they couldn’t, then no religions should be allowed into state schools.

Bell said before the prayer room shut down, the group did inform Baynes and the council that on Friday they intended to pray for the return of the demonic spirit to HOTA that Baynes had driven out.

“It is just wrong for somebody to think the world just revolves around Christianity and we are doing our bit to open their eyes to other faiths that might be around,” he said.

He said the group, however, would not be deterred by the prayer room blockade.

The Satanists intend to celebrate with a ceremony at HOTA on Saturday afternoon to welcome back the demonic spirits that Baynes claimed to have driven away.

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