The 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.