Phoenix City Council votes to bring prayer back to meetings

Prayers and invocations are common to begin public meetings.
Prayers and invocations are common to begin public meetings.

By Dustin Gardiner | The Arizona Republic

Phoenix City Council members voted 7-2 Wednesday night to restore a spoken prayer at council meetings, but the invocation would have to be given exclusively by chaplains for the police and fire departments.

That vote is the latest twist in a fiery debate that began after a group of Satanists were scheduled to give the opening prayer at a council meeting in February.

Rather than let followers of the Satanic Temple pray, the council voted last month to replace the invocation with a “moment of silent prayer and reflection.” City leaders said Phoenix would have faced a costly lawsuit if it kept holding a prayer and rejected the Satanist’s request to pray, as some council members advocated.

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