The Satanic Temple is turning up the heat on the City Council to be allowed to join in with opening prayers.

The temple argues it is “a religion which was excluded from the prayer ceremony because of its religious viewpoint.” A motion filed Monday in federal court in Boston accuses the council of discriminating against the temple.

The temple argues the devil is in the details when it comes to free speech.

“The whole point of enshrining this fundamental right in the Constitution was ‘to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts,’ ” the temple argues, quoting from a noted free-speech crusader Robert Jackson.

Still, the city council is sticking a fork in the temple’s argument. It’s not about discriminating one religion from another, the city argues, it’s about councilors inviting pastors, rabbis, priests or imams to address the body.

“Invocations at council meetings are personal and a way for each councilor to contribute to … (the) tradition of solemnizing its meetings in a manner intended to benefit the council,” the city adds.

So, if the Satanic Temple is not invited, they can’t complain, the city argues.

The Salem-based temple says it has a “right to compete on equal footing with Christianity, Islam,
and Judaism in the selection of the City’s legislative prayer.”

And, they add, they want their day in court to grill city lawyers and “prays this Court enter an order denying the City’s motion to dismiss in full.”


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