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City prevails in federal suit filed by The Satanic Temple

Posted On: May. 20, 2021 1:42 PM CST


Officials with The Satanic Temple wanted to give an invocation at a city council meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, and all hell broke loose — legally.

The Satanic Temple Inc. and a number of affiliated plaintiffs sued the City of Scottsdale in federal court alleging that it had discriminated against it on the basis of its religious beliefs, after the city declined to permit temple officials to give a religious invocation at a City Council meeting, according to documents filed Tuesday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

After a two-day bench trial, a federal district court in Arizona entered judgment in favor of the city, finding that the temple “had failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the City had discriminated against (it) on the basis of (the temple’s) religious beliefs or identity.”

On appeal, the temple stated that the district court failed to consider two emails from two council members that expressed opposition to the temple giving an invocation. The appeals court in turn stated that the “district court correctly concluded that the e-mails were not admissible … and were inadmissible as hearsay, because (the temple) provided no evidence to show that either Councilmember was acting as an agent of the City in connection with sending the e-mails.”