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What Satanists plan to say in Scottsdale City Council prayer

, The Republic | azcentral.com March 23, 2016

When leaders of the Satanic Temple take the pulpit at a Scottsdale City Council meeting this summer, they'll urge listeners to embrace a "Luciferian impulse" before closing their public prayer with "Hail Satan," according to a draft obtained by The Republic.

The Satanists' newly formed Arizona chapter — based in Tucson — is scheduled to deliver the invocation at Scottsdale City Hall on July 6. An 

initial date in April was postponed by the Satanists for logistical reasons, temple spokesman Stu de Haan said.

Controversy swept through Phoenix earlier this year when the Satanists sought to give an invocation at a City Council meeting in February. The request sparked an emotional debate over religion and constitutional rights while making international news.

The Phoenix City Council responded by replacing formal, spoken prayer at council meetings with a moment of silent prayer. Council members later reinstated prayer, but only the city's police or fire chaplains can do it. The Satanic Temple has threatened legal action against the city.

READ MORE:  Public prayer back at Phoenix City Council

Meanwhile, the group is turning its focus to other Arizona communities, having filed requests to pray in Scottsdale, Chandler, Tucson and Sahuarita. Chandler spokesman Matt Burdick said the city's invocation schedule is already booked through the end of the year.

Scottsdale is the only city so far to schedule the Satanic Temple, though Mayor Jim Lane said officials are working to "find a clean path, one that is legal," that could block the group.

"We're not in the business of entertaining an invocation that makes a mockery," Lane said. "I'm not an advocate of it, of course."

What will the Satanists say?

The Satanic Temple's prayer, set to be delivered by Arizona member Michelle Shortt, will actually be a brief speech about reason and logic, according to de Haan. Shortt was scheduled to give the invocation in Phoenix. The group promotes religious agnosticism and does not believe in the supernatural.

"People were asking us things like, 'Are you going to sacrifice a baby?'" de Haan said. "No, we aren't going to commit first-degree murder. They'll see two well-dressed people giving a two-minute speech."

“People were asking us things like, 'Are you going to sacrifice a baby? No, we aren't going to commit first-degree murder. They'll see two well-dressed people giving a two-minute speech.”

Satanist Temple spokesman Stu de Hann

De Haan shared the text of the prayer in an e-mail toThe Republic.

Shortt plans to ask the audience to "reason our solutions with agnosticism in all things" while standing firm "against any and all arbitrary authority that threatens" personal sovereignty."Let us stand now, unbowed and unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times," the speech begins, before invoking a "Luciferian impulse to eat of the Tree of Knowledge" and reject "comforting delusions."

The message ends by declaring "that which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise" and "hail Satan."

Shortt planned to give the same speech for the Phoenix City Council invocation, de Haan said.

 

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