Everyone's cool with freedom of religion until the Satanists show up at city hall.
Local TV station 12 News reports the Phoenix City Council is looking into ways it can possibly keep representatives from The Satanic Temple from delivering the opening prayer at a city council meeting later this month.
ABC 15 reported last week that a representative of the Satanic Temple would deliver the invocation prior to the council's Feb. 17 meeting. How did they earn this honor? They signed up. Turns out any religious group who wishes to bless the council with an opening prayer can do so, Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm told ABC 15.
"Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction, the city cannot dictate religious viewpoints or the content of a prayer," Holm told ABC 15.
This didn't sit well with some, leading four council members to introduce a measure that would require groups seeking to perform the opening prayer be sponsored by a member of the council or the mayor. Whether or not that is constitutional is up for debate, but it probably would stop the Satanic invocation from going forward, absent a sponsor.
The measure is currently scheduled to be discussed at next Wednesday's meeting.
For their part, the Satanic templars seemed excited to be a part of the civic process, prior to the council's attempts to derail it. A Facebook event for the invocation, created by Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves, frames the upcoming prayer as a fight for religious freedom.
"We’re grateful for Phoenix’s public platform for Satanists, and I believe the people of Phoenix can expect us to be regular contributors to their religious milieu—thanks, in part, to their City Council," Greaves wrote on the page.
The city council seems absolutely thrilled.