The Satanic Temple claims it was discriminated against by the Boston City Council after a member was denied the opportunity to deliver an invocation during an upcoming meeting.
The Council says it never denied them that opportunity; rather, councilor Annissa Essaibi George invites people “based on a personal relationship she has with them or if they’re directly related to work that she does.” She doesn’t know the Satanists. She didn’t invite the Satanists. And that, say the Satanists, is precisely the problem.
“The idea of an invitation-only policy being non-discriminatory is nonsensical,” said Lucien Greaves, a temple spokesman. “It’s the very definition of discrimination.”
For now, the Temple has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. It spells out the problem with the unofficial invocation policy:
On October 9, 2018, I received an email response from [Compliance Director and Staff Counsel] indicating that each city councilor has an opportunity to invite either clergy or a lay person to give an invocation prior to its council meetings, the councilors themselves do not offer the invocation, and her disagreement with my interpretation of their possible legal violations by not allowing my religious organization deliver an invocation.
The complaint was filed in October, but it’s only getting coverage now. The situation remains unresolved. It shouldn’t be too complicated to resolve this, though. Either the council needs to eliminate the invocation completely or they need to come up with a policy that’s open and inclusive.
Right now, they’re just setting themselves up for a lawsuit.
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