Thursday, February 4, 2016

Satanic Temple Wins Again

The Satanic Temple is at it again, this time in Phoenix, Arizona. Fundamentalist Christians keep trying to find ways to make sure that they can open legislative sessions with prayers that members of minority religions have to sit through, while making sure that no member of a minority religion can deliver a prayer that they have to sit through. But the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that if a member of one religion is allowed to offer a prayer in that context, members of other religions must be granted the same rights.

The members of the Satanic Temple for the most part don't even believe in a literal Satan and mostly use the name to shock fundamentalist Christians. But it works. After Christian lawmakers tried to pass all sorts of versions of bills that would give their religion the special privilege of delivering prayers to open sessions, the Phoenix city council finally agreed to replace sectarian prayers with a nonsectarian moment of silence. So by being blocked from delivering their prayer, the Satanic Temple actually won.

In a move that blocks a Satanist group from giving the invocation at the next Phoenix City Council meeting, the council voted 5-4 Wednesday night to no longer open each meeting with a prayer. Instead, it will call for a moment of silence. A member of the Satanic Temple from Tucson had been approved to give the opening invocation at the February 17 council meeting. But when the approval sparked outrage, council members decided to look into the way opening prayers come about.

They initially considered a proposal that would have allowed members to take turns inviting people from various religious groups to give the invocation. But Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm warned that doing so would be viewed as an “as applied violation” of the First Amendment and, therefore, subject the city to a lawsuit. “Our view as the City Attorney’s Office — and my view personally — is that we would be likely to lose that case,” he told the council before the vote.

The Satanic Temple had threatened to sue if its representative was prohibited from opening the next official meeting on the 17th. Nobody from the temple commented at the meeting Wednesday on what the organization will do now that prayer has been eliminated.

See, the Satanic Temple is not about "worshiping the devil" or anything like that. What they really want is to see sectarian prayers eliminated from the public sphere, and they use their shocking name to outrage fundamentalists and get the job done. And in case after case, it works quite well.

Personally I like the idea of letting representatives of different religions deliver prayers so long as the opportunity is extended to all, but the facts are that fundamentalist Christians keep refusing to play nice with anybody else, especially a group with "Satan" in its name. That being so, a moment of silence is probably the best we're going to get.

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1 comment:

cousin of Blufli said...

I kinda love those satanic temple guys.