Satanists threaten to sue Phoenix City Council, but leader says ‘who cares’
PHOENIX — At least one city leader isn’t worried about the potential legal fallout from reinstating the opening prayer at the Phoenix City Council meetings.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio on Thursday said the new measure, which limits the number of people qualified who can give the invocation to a handful, doesn’t discriminate against anyone.
“People sue us every day for everything by, walking across the grass we’re going to get sued, but the fact of the matter is we had two individuals tells us it was completely constitutional,” DiCiccio said.
This is the latest chapter in the ongoing controversy over prayer at City Hall.
The issue blew up last month after the Satanic Temple from Tucson was scheduled to deliver the opening invocation.
Instead of allowing that to happen, the Council scrapped the 65-year tradition altogether.
But one month later the Council reversed course and on Wednesday voted to reinstate the invocation.
Shortly after the decision the Satanic Temple took to social media with the strong message to Mayor Greg Stanton: “Know this @MayorStanton: if the invocation forum is reopened, we are first on the schedule, or we’ll file suit for discrimination (and win).”
Members of the church did not return phone calls seeking comment.
It’s also worth mentioning that Stanton was one of two members who voted against reinstatement. Councilwoman Kate Gallego was the other.
The measure, which was passed 7-2, mandates that only chaplains from the Phoenix Fire and Police departments give the prayer.
That restricts the number qualified to perform the ceremony. According to the city manager’s office, there are five people total that fit the qualifications — four from the Fire Department and one from the Police Department.