The Satanic Temple Sues Over Right To Give ‘Invocation’ at City Council Meetings
The Chicago City Council, like many other legislative bodies, typically opens meetings with an “invocation”—essentially, a prayer or moment of reflection. Clergy from a wide range of religious backgrounds have given these invocations, and a Satanist minister wants to join their ranks. But the city has refused to let him—and refused to explain the decision. Now, this minister has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the city.
The Satanic Temple is a nontheistic religion that, as noted by the lawsuit, is “federally recognized as a church and a religious public charity.” Contrary to popular belief, members of the group don’t actually worship Satan. Instead, they follow a series of seven “tenants” focused on broad ideas of compassion, rationalism, and freedom.
The Satanic Temple has often tested religious-freedom policies and challenged anti-abortion laws on religious-freedom grounds. It’s achieved middling success in the courts. Just this month, the group experienced a significant legal victory after it won its lawsuit against a school district that attempted to block the formation of an “After School Satan Club.” The group also successfully sued in 2015 to remove a large 10 Commandments monument from the Oklahoma state Capitol.
This most recent lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, marks at least the third time The Satanic Temple has sued after being blocked from giving an invocation or prayer before a legislative body. Adam Vavrick, the ordained minister in the religion, unsuccessfully sought to perform an invocation at a Chicago city council meeting. According to the suit, Vavrick began his efforts in Jan
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