Michelle Shortt  Satanists are Going to Deliver an Invocation at Phoenix Council Meeting Shortt

Michelle Shortt

Members of a satanic temple are scheduled to give the opening “prayer” at a meeting of the Phoenix City Council next month, triggering a controversy about religious freedom and whether a satanist invocation is appropriate. Satanists Michelle Shortt and Stu de Haan submitted a request to give the invocation at the February 17 meeting of the council, reports AZCentral.com. Though members of the city council objected to such a “prayer,” the city has decided to let the satanists continue as scheduled. Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm released a statement Thursday evening, defending the city’s position on the issue. “Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction, the city cannot dictate religious viewpoints or the content of a prayer,” Holm wrote. “In addition, government may not exclude a denomination or a religion from praying under these circumstances.” The invocation at the start of Phoenix City Council meetings has been given by representatives of various faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism. De Haan, who resides in Tucson, said he submitted the request to give the invocation to ensure representation by minority voices. He said his satanic temple does “not believe in a literal Satan” but instead views the biblical Satan as “a metaphor for rebellion against tyranny.” “We’re citizens of this government and we would like our voices to be heard,” de Haan said. “If they don’t want to accept, constitutionally what must happen is that all voices must be taken down from the public forum. It’s basically all voices must be heard or none at all.” De Haan added the satanists “don’t intend on doing anything offensive.”

Jim Waring  Satanists are Going to Deliver an Invocation at Phoenix Council Meeting Jim Waring portrait

Jim Waring

Councilman Jim Waring, however, said he believes the city should have rejected the satanic temple’s request and leave its members to deal with the issue in court. He added that having satanists give the invocation is intended to be offensive to city residents, and questioned whether the move is actually a ploy to push the city to stop conducting any prayer at council meetings at all. “Frankly, I don’t know that we should be capitulating so readily to this,” Waring said. “I do think standing on principle has merit. I’ll probably just leave.” Councilman Sal DiCiccio took to Twitter on Thursday, calling the decision, “Another dumb idea by the city…” [TWEET]

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[4] Bryan Pryor, The Satanic Temple to deliver invocation at council meeting, FOX10 Phoenix, Jan 28 2016
[5] Dustin Gardiner, Satanists to give prayer at Phoenix City Council meeting, AZCentral.com, 6:55 p.m. MST January 29, 2016
[7] Kathryn Blackhurst, Phoenix City Council to Allow Local Satanists to Deliver Meeting’s Opening Prayer, The Blaze, Jan. 29, 2016 5:53pm
[8] Miriam Wasser, The Satanic Temple Vows Lawsuit If Not Allowed to Deliver Phoenix City Council Invocation, Phoenix News Times, Tuesday, February 2, 2016
[13] Satanic group members to give opening prayer at Phoenix City Council meeting, New York Daily News, Friday, January 29, 2016, 6:52 PM
[14] Geoffrey Grider, Satanists To Deliver Prayer Invocation At Phoenix City Council Meeting, Now the End Begins, January 31, 2016
[17] Satanists to do invocation at Phoenix City Council meeting, CNS News, January 29, 2016 | 1:23 PM EST
[18] Bethania Palma Markus, Satanic Temple activists school AZ Christians on civics as city moves to block Satanic prayer, Raw Story, 30 Jan 2016 at 17:57 ET
[19] Harry Henderson, Satanic Temple set to deliver invocation prayer at Phoenix Meeting, Disinfo, Feb 2, 2016
[20] Leonardo Blair, Satanists to Give Prayer at Phoenix City Council Meeting, Christian Post, January 29, 2016|2:43 pm

 

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Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the french canadian province of Quebec.

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