Davil PhotoThe Satanic Temple has had a busy year in Arizona.  Earlier this year, we reported that the Phoenix City Council abolished its 65-year practice of beginning council meetings with prayer in favor of a moment of silence, following a request by the Satanic Temple to give a pre-meeting prayer.  The City Council later decided to re-implement its prayer policy, but now only allows Phoenix police or fire department chaplains to give the prayer.  Read more about the controversy in our posts Satanists Score Victory in Phoenix and All Hell Breaks Loose in Phoenix Satanic Prayer Showdown.

Now, Scottsdale, Arizona is banning the Satanists from leading prayer before a council meeting.  Reportedly, Scottsdale previously said it would allow the Satanic Temple to provide prayer, but has since reversed course.  A Scottsdale spokesperson said that only “representatives from institutions that have a substantial connection to the Scottsdale community” will be allowed to give the prayer.  The newly formed Arizona chapter of the Satanic Temple is based out of Tucson, Arizona, and does not have a “substantial connection to Scottsdale” to qualify it to lead prayer.  A Satanic Temple spokesperson has said: “If our mere presence offends you that’s not our problem.  That’s not our burden.”

According to local reports, the Satanic prayer would urge the community to embrace a “Luciferian impulse to eat of the Tree of Knowledge” and would tell the community to “reason our solutions with agnosticism in all things” and to stand firm “against any and all arbitrary authority that threatens” personal sovereignty.  The prayer would end with “hail Satan.”  Satanic Temple representatives have said that the Temple does not teach the existence of Satan, but instead uses the name to symbolize rebellion against tyranny.  The Temple states that it promotes compassion, empathy, and embarking on “noble pursuits guided by our individual wills.”

The Satanic Temple has not indicated if it will seek legal action.

Photo by elycefeliz, some rights reserved.

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Photo of Evan Seeman Evan Seeman

Evan J. Seeman is a lawyer in Robinson+Cole’s Hartford office and focuses his practice on land use, real estate, environmental, and regulatory matters, representing local governments, developers and advocacy groups. He has spoken and written about RLUIPA, and was a lead author of…

Evan J. Seeman is a lawyer in Robinson+Cole’s Hartford office and focuses his practice on land use, real estate, environmental, and regulatory matters, representing local governments, developers and advocacy groups. He has spoken and written about RLUIPA, and was a lead author of an amicus curiae brief at the petition stage before the United States Supreme Court in a RLUIPA case entitled City of San Leandro v. International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

Evan serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the APA’s Planning & Law Division. He also serves as the Chair of the Planning & Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, and is the former Co-Chair of its Municipal Law Section. He has been named to the Connecticut Super Lawyers® list as a Rising Star in the area of Land Use Law for 2013 and 2014. He received his B.A. in political science and Russian studies (with honors) from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he was selected as the President’s Fellow in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature. Evan received his Juris Doctor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he served on the Connecticut Law Review. While in law school, he interned with the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General in the environmental department, and served as a judicial intern for the judges of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court. Following law school, Evan clerked for the Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel of the Connecticut Appellate Court.

Photo of Karla Chaffee Karla Chaffee

Karla L. Chaffee is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Real Estate + Development Group and is based in the Boston office, focusing on a variety of land use and environmental matters. Karla’s interest in RLUIPA began in law school when she co-authored, “Six

Karla L. Chaffee is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Real Estate + Development Group and is based in the Boston office, focusing on a variety of land use and environmental matters. Karla’s interest in RLUIPA began in law school when she co-authored, “Six Fact Patterns of Substantial Burden in RLUIPA: Lessons for Potential Litigants,” (with Dwight Merriam) published in Albany Government Law Review (Spring 2009). Karla has continued to write and speak on RLUIPA and has represented clients in several federal proceedings, including RLUIPA, First Amendment, and Equal Protection claims. In addition to her RLUIPA practice, Karla has litigated complex environmental matters, defending claims under Massachusetts Chapter 21E. Karla’s transactional experience includes pre-acquisition and pre-financing due diligence, environmental risk assessment and risk mitigation. She also represents clients seeking local zoning approvals and counsels them on the impact of proposed or recently enacted land use legislation, as well as on land use trends across the country.

Karla is also a proud member of Robinson+Cole’s Pro Bono Committee and is dedicated to maintaining pro bono work as part of her practice. Her pro bono clients include individuals and families seeking asylum in the United States. She has also represented nonprofit organizations in obtaining tax-exempt status and has served as legal counsel in a zoning appeal for a nonprofit association created to support and protect a national park.