PHOENIX — A satanic church has been invited to give an invocation in Scottsdale after the group sparked a debate in Phoenix that led to the city council doing away with the opening prayer.
Michelle Shortt with the Satanic Temple of Tucson said the city was very open to the group’s request to give the invocation.
“That’s all we want is to be included,” she said.
Kelly Corsette, communications and public affairs director for Scottsdale, said any religious organization can reach out and ask to give the invocation. That group is typically given the next available opening.
“That’s what happened here,” he said. “We were contacted by a member identifying themselves as with a satanic temple and, treating them all equally, we looked to book them at the next available meeting and that happened to be April 5.”
Despite the opinion of some members of the Phoenix City Council, Corsette said the group meets the city’s definition of a religion.
“We understand that some people don’t agree, but we’re not in a position to pick one religion over another,” he said.
Shortt said the April 5 invocation date is tentative, as she and other prominent members may have a scheduling conflict.
“That was the original date, and then I’ll be out of town, so that’s why now it’s tentative,” she said. “And then they said the 19, but then Stu (de Haan) was busy that day so we just need more dates.”
De Haan said the group is also trying to give the invocation at council meetings in Chandler, Sahuarita and Tucson.
Last week, the group was at the center of a debate about the invocation given before Phoenix council meetings. After initially being granted permission to do the opening prayer, the group was opposed by several councilmembers.
The council held an emergency meeting to vote on amendments that changed the way the council holds its meeting prayers. Ultimately, the city opted to do away with invocations in favor of a moment of silence.
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