Local Satanists say it's time the Boston City Council give the devil his due - by letting them open one of the council's bi-weekly meetings with an invocation.
The council has long started its regular meetings with an invocation by a member of the local clergy, who are invited on a rotating basis by individual councilors. For the most part, that means ministers or priests, but over the years the council has also been led in prayer by rabbis, an imam and even Hare Krishnas - invited by at-large Councilor Michelle Wu last year to chant for Nepali earthquake victims.
In a letter to Wu, now council president, Travis LeSaffre, head of the Satanic Temple in Boston said he wrote councilors Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton) and Tito Jackson (Roxbury) asking for an invite, but has not heard back from them.
In somewhat sulfurous terms, given that he only wrote the councilors last week, LeSaffre wrote:
It would be shocking if I am to be turned away due to my faith while other religions are allowed to hold prayers in a government building. In fact, I would say that it would be a breach of the first amendment.
The religious oppression felt by those outside the Christian community in Boston is a blight on an otherwise liberal state. Consider what your actions could do to increase the diversity of the city council's current invocation schedule and the light it can shine on religious plurality within the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Wu responded today with an e-mail response that noted that individual councilors only get to invite two or three clergy members a year - the council normally only meets every other week.
The invitations are often used to recognize faith leaders who are active in the community and organizations that are representative of their districts. There is no restriction or criteria based on any Councilor's religious preferences. Many of us have a long list of folks we'd like to invite but haven't been able to accomodate. Everyone is welcome to attend the weekly City Council session, to testify at any City Council hearing, and to get involved in our policy work.