The Phoenix City Council has voted to do away with opening prayer at meetings and replace it with a moment of silence in which people of any religion can pray silently.
The Associated Press reports that the council decided on the new measure in order to prevent members of The Satanic Temple from praying out loud at meetings.
More than 50 people testified in regard to the decision, some claiming that to allow members of The Satanic Temple to have their turn praying out loud before council meetings would be to invoke evil powers, while others lobbied for including minority views.
Ultimately, Councilwoman Thelda Williams offered the compromise that before each meeting the council observe a moment of silence in which members of any and all religions can pray to their preferred deity.
Stuart de Haan, a Tucson lawyer and member of The Satanic Temple, claimed that the group doesn’t actually worship any deities, including Satan, but they were seeking equality for their religion and stood against religious tyranny.
“What is going to happen is: There's no other compromise," Councilman Michael Nowakowski said. "We're ending prayer. To me, that's wrong."
Publication date: February 4, 2016