the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Scottsdale Arizona , the Satanic Temple (TST) has filed a lawsuit against the City of Scottsdale, Arizona alleging religious discrimination following the city’s refusal to allow TST to deliver an invocation prior to a City Council meeting. Both Scottsdale policy and Constitutional law require that if religious invocations are permitted, then any religious denomination that wants to deliver an invocation must be given an opportunity. Over the past eight years, every invocation given before the Scottsdale Council has been exclusively from Judeo-Christian faiths.
Evidence of willful and intentional discrimination was provided by communications from the council members. Public records of the council members’ emails reveal a flagrant bias against TST with Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield openly stating that she did ‘NOT want the Satanists’ to speak, and that the notion that a member of TST had the right to do so was an example of “taking equality too far.”
Attorney Stu de Haan, representing TST, states, “By the City Council’s own statements, it’s clear that their refusal to allow The Satanic Temple to speak was motivated by their intent to discriminate against a minority religion.”
After approving TST member Michelle Shortt to deliver a City Council invocation, the Council rescinded its offer and replaced Shortt with a Pastor from a local Baptist Church. During his Mayoral re-election campaign, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane listed the silencing of Shortt as an “accomplishment” achieved during his time in office explaining on his website, “In Scottsdale we’ve decided to keep our traditional invocations and we’ve decided to send this Satanist sideshow elsewhere.”
According to TST spokesperson and co-founder, Lucien Greaves, “It’s disheartening when public officials can display such a flagrant disregard for the most foundational bedrock principles of Constitutional Law while acting upon their personal biases at the expense of their taxpayer base, who are ultimately left to pay the legal costs for the ignorance of their Mayor and City Council.”
While the invocation policy is supposed to allow for voices of any religious denomination, Mayor Lane has also stated that, “These invocations celebrate our diversity, as we have heard respectful and thoughtful messages from Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and countless other faiths.”
However, TST’s lawsuit notes, “At no time have members of the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu faith given an invocation before the Scottsdale City Council.”
The Satanic Temple is a non-theistic religious organization dedicated to Satanic practice and the promotion of Satanic rights. The Temple understands the Satanic figure as a symbol of man’s inherent nature, representative of the eternal rebel, enlightened inquiry and personal freedom rather than a supernatural deity or being. The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.