In a bow to Satan, Phoenix City Council ends public prayer


#1

[Read the post]


#2


#3

So I guess his career is finished. I hope he’s got a good pension coming.


#4

Because he will run afoul of the evangelicals who had presumably been backing him? Good call. We gotta get the PR that they do on being persecuted for a belief in…the constitution.


#5

Score one for sanity in Arizona! Yet, the City Council doesn’t quite seem to get the message.

“This is what that Satanist group wants,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio told the Arizona Republic. “A moment of silence is basically a banning of prayer. It’s to agree to the Satanic goal to ban prayer.”

The Satanic group wanted to give their prayer, just like the Christians had been allowed to do.


#6

Shame, i would love to see the satanic group give their opening prayer.


#7

What’s the background of all the prayer traditions in US politics? This felt always as breach of the church/state separation to me.


#8

that’s one small step…


#9

It’s kind of a weird gray area. Technically there’s nowhere in the constitution that expressly and directly forbids this, but it could be taken as an official endorsement or support for a given religion over others. Might not be a big deal if politicians made it a point to celebrate different religions and beliefs, but the sole focus on christian faith pretty much makes the case for “separation of Church & State”.

My opinion of course, i’d be happy to make corrections if my explanation isn’t great.

Edit: From Wikipedia…

The phrase of Jefferson (see above) was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947.[67] The phrase “separation of church and state” itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”


#10

Well, I think that the councilman is right in this case: it did want to eliminate the prayer, because the Satanic Church is generally in favor of a separation between church and state. The reason it does all these stunts the try and get “equal time” is really get the legislatures into that exact dilemma, and so get the religion out of where it doesn’t belong.


#11

“No true freedom without the freedom to oppress others.” is the unconscious motto of more than a few people.


#12

The Devil ain’t so bad, once you get to know him.


#13

It may not against the actual law, but it is curious. The public religiousness feels very foreign, I could name maybe two politicians in Germany expressing christian ideas frequently in the political realm, but in the US even cabinet meetings are opened with a prayer.


#14

Sadly, this has led to far too many conversations where I’ve had to explain to a modern-day Christian exactly what was being referred to by “establishment of religion”. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, indeed.

It’s always a fun excuse to casually throw “antidisestablishmentarianism” into a conversation, though.


#15

The two different points that Jefferson was making on religion are definitely a vexing subject because they are seemingly contradicting ideas. Not wholly so, but enough to cause confusion as you pointed out. You cannot establish religion. But you cannot stop the practices of a religion. Some secular people might take this as being within their rights to practice their religion within politics.

Always a great thing to get into a conversation over. Not just religion and politics, but religion within politics.


#16

Locally, if you are a majority, you can often get away with assuming everyone is just like you and steamrolling those who aren’t. If you make a tradition of prayers before council meetings and everyone is a Christian, no one’s going to make a stink about it - there’s not like a team of FBI agents going around enforcing the Establishment clause. The practice will persist.

What these Satanists do is speak up for those who ARE in the minority, forcing the majority to acknowledge the rights that people not of their little club have. They appear as a voice that contradicts hegemony. Often, just the reminder that someone outside of their little club is paying attention is enough to get them to behave.


#17

I don’t know why the Phoenix City Council would want to block the Satanist prayer. I mean, Satanism is just another Christian denomination.


#18

And I have a feeling many, many people who think they won’t get to know him at all because they’re headed “upstairs” will in fact get to know him all too well as they sink “downstairs.”

Let me go to hell in my own handbasket, and you go to hell … in yours.


#19

I’d be happy if every public prayer in the City Council ended in a literal bow to Satan.


#20

Just for clarity:

These people are “The Satanic Temple,” a group who wryly are using the most offensive* possible identity to the general public** to prove a point.

They are distinct from “The Church of Satan,” who actually might be called Satanists.

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*Edit: “worst” -> “most offensive”

**Edit: Added “to the general public”