Lawmakers work to block Satanist group from saying prayer at council meeting

The Devil made them do it.

Arizona lawmakers are scrambling to change the rules regarding prayer at council meetings in an effort to keep The Satanic Temple from delivering an invocation at a February session.

According to ABC 15, the Phoenix City Council meeting planned for mid-February is expected to begin with a Satanist prayer.

But lawmakers are planning to vote this week on a possible change to the rules, effectively making it impossible for Satanists to deliver the opening invocation.

The new rules reportedly would only allow people invited by elected officials to deliver the prayers at the opening of meetings.

The current rules allow for anyone who wants to deliver a prayer to simply make a request. The Satanist Temple made such a request in December and is expected to attend the Feb. 17 council meeting.

“We do not have any gods; we’re not devil worshippers,” Satanist Temple member Stu de Haan told ABC 15.

“We do not believe that Satan is an actual being, but that doesn’t make it any less of a religion.”

The mission of the group, according to its website, “is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.”

“We weren’t comfortable lending either our reputations — or the constituency that voted for us, we didn’t want them to think that we were [allowing] a Satanic prayer at a City Council meeting,” Councilman Jim Waring told ABC 15.

The Satanic Temple said it is ready to file a lawsuit if its members’ liberties are trampled.


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