Satanic Temple sues Boston over City Council’s opening prayer policy

The Salem-based group says the council should permit prayer from every religious organization that wishes to deliver one.

The Satanic Temple building on Bridge Street in Salem.
The Satanic Temple building on Bridge Street in Salem. –Courtesy The Satanic Temple

BOSTON (AP) — The Satanic Temple has sued Boston after the city council declined to allow Satanists to deliver an invocation at the start of its meetings.

The Salem-based group, which has lodged freedom of religion challenges nationwide, said Tuesday that the council’s policy for its opening prayer is discriminatory and unconstitutional because it does not permit prayer from every religious organization that wishes to deliver one.

Satanists have asked to give the opening invocation on at least three occasions, and each time they were informed the council doesn’t accept requests, the organization said. Council policy allows each council member to invite a speaker of their choice to deliver the opening prayer before each meeting a few times a year, according to the organization.

Advertisement

The Satanic Temple, in its federal lawsuit filed last week, argues that the council policy violates the city’s public accommodations statute, which states that any place serving a public function is entitled to protection from discrimination. It also violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, which it argues guarantees all religions an equal opportunity to participate in free-speech forums.

Mayor Marty Walsh’s office declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. An email seeking comment was sent to representatives for the council.

Get Boston.com's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.

Turn on notifications

Great, you’re signed up!

Jump To Comments
Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com


Close

Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.