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Satanic Temple Sues Scottsdale, Alleges Religious Discrimination

The Satanic Temple is suing Scottsdale for religious discrimination.

The federal lawsuit comes after the city refused to let members of the temple give the opening prayer at a City Council meeting in 2016.

The city denied the request because the Arizona chapter did not have substantial ties to the Scottsdale community.

While the state chapter is based in Tucson, Attorney Stu De Haan, who represents The Satanic Temple, said it is a legitimate statewide organization.

He said Scottsdale made up the standard.

“We find that to be a violation of the [First Amendment’s] establishment clause. You can’t discriminate based on viewpoint. You can’t endorse one religion over another once you open up a public forum in a government,” De Haan told KJZZ on Monday.

A Scottsdale spokesperson says the city has not yet been served with the complaint, but that it believes the practice meets all constitutional requirements.

De Haan said emails and public statements made by council members reveal they intentionally discriminated again his organization, which he characterizes as a “non-theistic religion based on Enlightenment-era values.”

“They are picking and choosing which religions they like best,” De Haan said.

Opponents of De Haan’s group told council members they did not want Satan represented at city meetings.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to clarify the location of the Arizona chapter of The Satanic Temple.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.