AP

Phoenix City Council to consider change in wake of Satanic prayer debate

Feb 1, 2016, 6:31 PM

(Facebook Photo)...

(Facebook Photo)

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council is set to hear a proposal on Wednesday that would change the way it schedules opening prayer at its meetings after a prayer request from a Satanic church was approved.

The Satanic Temple of Tucson submitted its request in December to give the prayer and was on the schedule for a meeting on Feb. 17.

“All we did was ask if we can do one too,” Stu de Haan with the Satanic Temple said. “It was accepted right away. There was no issue.”

Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm said any religion can call the city clerk’s office and request to give the prayer, which is chosen by a rotating pool of state Senate members.

“We just had a policy if somebody called up and wanted to pray, we said OK,” he said, adding that the city struggles at times to find someone willing to give the invocation.

The new system would allow the mayor and eight councilors to select a prayer leader on a rotating basis.

The city has a long tradition of opening council meetings with an invocation and, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, that cannot be limited to certain religions or beliefs.

Phoenix’s Commission on Human Relations weighed in on Monday, saying if the city is going to allow for the inclusion of prayers at the start of public meetings, then it has an obligation to recognize all faiths and beliefs.

The commission said it supports the right of the Satanic Temple to deliver their invocation before the Feb. 17 meeting, but it also urged the council to reconsider the inclusion of any religious invocations at public meetings.

“While the Supreme Court has upheld the concept of religious invocations, they are neither required nor recommended,” the commission stated.

City Councilman Jim Waring sent a letter to the City Manager Ed Zuercher on behalf of himself, Councilman Sal DiCiccio and several other council members on Friday to change the way the legislature holds its prayers.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the council and the mayor Monday, saying the proposal would amount to discrimination and the best policy would be to stop opening prayers all together.

“That you do not wish to hear a prayer ending with the phrase `Hail Satan,’ is understandable,” wrote Andrew Seidel, staff attorney for the Wisconsin-based group. “Many Americans don’t want to hear prayers that end `in Jesus’ name’ from their government. It alienates them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

AP

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

1 day ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

2 days ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

5 days ago

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

6 days ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

6 days ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Phoenix City Council to consider change in wake of Satanic prayer debate