Friday, February 07, 2020

Court Upholds Denial of Invocation Slot For Satanic Temple

In Satanic Temple v. City of Scottsdale, (D AZ, Feb. 6, 2020), an Arizona federal district court held that the Satanic Temple failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the denial of their request to deliver a non-theistic invocation at a City Council meeting was because of their religious beliefs. The court rejected defendants' claims that the beliefs of the Satanic Temple do not constitute a religion. However the court credited the testimony of the Acting City Manager that he based his decision on a long-standing unwritten policy that only organizations that had substantial ties to the city could deliver invocations. This decision followed substantial public opposition to the Satanic Temple's appearance, including the orchestration by a church of 15,000 e-mails in opposition. The blog For Infernal Use Only reports on the decision.

UPDATE: In an April 9 opinion (full text), the court, with one exception, refused to amend its findings of fact or to amend its judgment.