Satanic Temple Sues Scottsdale, Alleges Religious Discrimination
The Satanic Temple is suing Scottsdale for religious discrimination.
The federal lawsuit comes after the city refused to let members of the temple give the opening prayer at a City Council meeting in 2016.
The city denied the request because the Arizona chapter did not have substantial ties to the Scottsdale community.
While the state chapter is based in Tucson, Attorney Stu De Haan, who represents The Satanic Temple, said it is a legitimate statewide organization.
He said Scottsdale made up the standard.
“We find that to be a violation of the [First Amendment’s] establishment clause. You can’t discriminate based on viewpoint. You can’t endorse one religion over another once you open up a public forum in a government,” De Haan told KJZZ on Monday.
A Scottsdale spokesperson says the city has not yet been served with the complaint, but that it believes the practice meets all constitutional requirements.
De Haan said emails and public statements made by council members reveal they intentionally discriminated again his organization, which he characterizes as a “non-theistic religion based on Enlightenment-era values.”
“They are picking and choosing which religions they like best,” De Haan said.
Opponents of De Haan’s group told council members they did not want Satan represented at city meetings.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to clarify the location of the Arizona chapter of The Satanic Temple.