Satanic Temple sues Scottsdale for rescinding opening prayer invite
PHOENIX — The Satanic Temple has filed a lawsuit against Scottsdale for preventing the group from giving the opening prayer at a city council meeting.
“Our only intent is to not be discriminated against, so if they allow us to speak or if they change the program so that it is inclusive as constitutional required, that’s what we’re asking for,” temple attorney Stu De Haan said in a Facebook post.
The matter all began two years ago, when the temple filed to give the opening prayer, called an invocation, at a Phoenix City Council meeting.
After Phoenix refused to allow the group to give the prayer, Scottsdale stepped in and said it would allow a temple member to open its meeting.
However, Scottsdale later rescinded the offer and replaced the speaker with a pastor from a Baptist church.
The temple argued that the city discriminated against it when it reneged on the invitation.
“By the city council’s own statements, it’s clear that their refusal to allow the Satanic Temple to speak was motivated by their intent to discriminate against a minority religion,” De Haan told the Scottsdale Independent.
The Independent said Mayor Jim Lane boasted about denying the temple during his re-election campaign, saying, “In Scottsdale, we’ve decided to keep our traditional invocations and we’ve decided to send this Satanist sideshow elsewhere.”
Lane also claimed the council has allowed various other religions to speak, a claim the temple refuted in the lawsuit.