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PHX Council: No Satanic prayer; silence instead

Posted at 8:22 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 07:17:54-05
The Phoenix City Council has voted 5-4 to replace a longstanding tradition of praying before its meetings with a moment of silence.
The move prevents a group with "Satan" in its name from offering a scheduled prayer at the Feb. 17 meeting. 
The moment of silence was offered as an alternate motion to one that would have allowed councilors to select who gives the invocation on a rotating basis. City attorney Brad Holm says the original measure would have subjected Phoenix to a lawsuit over constitutional rights.
More than 50 people gave emotional testimony on how they would like to see the council address prayer.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio vowed to bring the issue before voters.
Stu de Haan, a member of the Satanic Temple of Tucson, requested the prayer. He says he is disappointed that the group doesn't get to speak, but is satisfied with the outcome. De Haan believes the city council replaced the prayer with silence to avoid a lawsuit.
"If everyone was open minded none of this would have happened," de Haan said.