Satanists react to Phoenix meeting prayer ban

Posted at 10:09 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 14:26:57-05

A group of Tucson Satanists said ending public prayer at Phoenix City Council meetings was not their goal.

But that is what happened, after a member of their group had been scheduled to deliver the prayer at the February 17 City Council meeting.

Instead of allow the prayer, the City Council voted Wednesday night to end spoken prayers at their meetings, effective immediately.

The decades-long tradition will be replaced with a moment of silence.

Satanist Michelle Shortt made the prayer request, which was initially granted, in December.

Watch prayer Shortt would've delivered in video player above.

Shortt planned to wear business casual attire to deliver the prayer. No robes, no animal horns.

“I think it’s a little excessive,” Shortt said of the City Council move to eliminate spoken prayer.

Shortt said she does not worship the devil. She does not believe in a god or the devil; she is an atheist.

Satan serves as a metaphor for rebellion in her religion, called Satanism.

Fellow satanist Stu de Haan said the group would not sue as a result of the decision.  City Council members and Mayor Greg Stanton publicly worried whether excluding only the satanists would spark a lawsuit.

The Satanists simply wanted a chance to say their prayer to expand the diversity of religions represented at the meetings, de Haan said.

“What we would have preferred is to participate, that’s all we asked for,” de Haan said.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio vowed to deliver a voter referendum on whether prayer should be a part of City Council meetings.