Religious Law

Chicago's refusal to allow 'Hail Satan' city council invocation violates First Amendment, suit says

  • Print

shutterstock_city council microphones

Image from Shutterstock.

Chicago has rebuffed requests by the Satanic Temple to deliver city council invocations for more than three years, violating the First Amendment in two ways, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month.

The May 3 suit alleges that Chicago violates the First Amendment’s establishment clause by excluding disfavored minority faiths. The suit also claims that the city violates the First Amendment by giving the city clerk “unconstrained discretion to decide who can and cannot deliver an invocation.”

Minister of Satan Adam Vavrick wanted to end his invocation with the phrase “Hail Satan,” according to Block Club Chicago.

The Volokh Conspiracy and Courthouse News Service also have coverage.

“The city has never formally rejected minister Adam’s request to provide an invocation,” the suit said. “Rather, the city has simply resisted scheduling him for more than three years without providing a definitive answer about whether he will ever be permitted to provide an invocation.”

The Satanic Temple said in the suit its mission “is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate for common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits.”

According to Block Club Chicago, similar suits are pending in Boston and Scottsdale, Arizona. In San Marcos, Texas, on May 16, a Satanic Temple representative delivered an invocation that ended with “Hail Satan,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. Close to 100 protesters gathered outside, but only a few entered the council chambers to hear the invocation.

Block Club Chicago published Vavrick’s proposed invocation. The first two sentences read: “Let us stand now, unbowed and unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times. Let us embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the tree of knowledge and dissipate our blissful and comforting delusions of old.”

There are several more sentences about finding solutions through reason, holding fast to “that which is demonstrably true” and standing firm to “arbitrary authority” before the “Hail Satan” ending.

See also: “After School Satan Club must be allowed to meet at school, federal judge says”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.