Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Satanic Temple Sues to Deliver Invocation at Chicago City Council

The Satanic Temple filed suit last week in an Illinois federal district court challenging the city's exclusion of its clergy from delivering an invocation before Chicago City Council.  The complaint (full text) in The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. City of Chicago, (ND IL, filed 5/3/2023) alleges in part:

2. The City of Chicago has a longstanding practice of inviting clergy to open each meeting of its City Council with a prayer. 

3. Plaintiffs, The Satanic Temple Inc. (“TST”), and Adam Vavrick, an ordained minister of the Satanic Temple and a leader of TST’s Illinois congregation, seek to take part in this time-honored tradition by delivering an invocation before a City Council meeting. For more than three years, the City has rebuffed Plaintiffs’ efforts to provide an invocation without providing any clear explanation of why. 

4. The City’s practices with regard to invocations before City Council violate the First Amendment in two ways:

  • first, the City violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause by excluding disfavored minority faiths from the opportunity to provide an invocation; and 
  • second, the City grants the City Clerk unconstrained discretion to decide who can and cannot deliver an invocation because it lacks any standards for selection of clergy to give invocations and has not established a uniform process for members of the clergy to apply to give an invocation.
Reason reports on the lawsuit.