Council meeting invocation speakers are invited by the City Council President “based on a personal relationship she has with them.”
The Satanic Temple is once again making the news as they file a discrimination charge against the Boston City Council. According to the members of The Satanic Temple, the City Council discriminated against them by denying them the opportunity to say the opening prayer at a recent public meeting.
The City Council meetings typically begin with some form of opening prayer. However, after members of The Satanic Temple asked to be a part of the prayer, their request was denied. The explanation provided to them was that the city only invites members of the religions’ respective clergy to come and give the opening prayer. Moreover, the discretion of which individuals are invited is left up to the members of the council.
Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for The Satanic Temple, responded that: “The idea of an invitation-only policy being non-discriminatory is nonsensical” and is furthermore discriminatory.
According to a City Council spokeswoman, the invitations are extended to people who have a personal relationship with the City Council President Andrea Campbell. Invocations are scheduled by invite. However, in this case, the members of The Satanic Temple have not been invited by any of the members, but the invitation and selection of people to deliver the prayer is troubling.
After all, the United States Supreme Court has upheld the right of councils to hold prayers. However, councils that are actively discriminating against a specific religious group like The Satanic Temple are indeed misguided if not a violation of the law.
As a result, The Satanic Temple has lodged an official discrimination complaint against the Boston City Council as they have done with many other entities who have sought to discriminate against them in the past. While the claim is under investigation, there has been no outcome yet. Also, the City Council has not openly responded to the accusations against them in public.
Overall, for a group that wants “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,” it is unconscionable for The Satanic Temple to settle for anything other than the ability to lead prayers when they desire.