Phoenix City Council frustrates Satanists' planned invocation by adopting silent prayer for meeting

Members of the Phoenix City Council discuss practices on prayer invocation to start a council meeting on Feb. 3, 2016.(Fox 10)

The scheduled invocation by members of the Satanic Temple in Tucson, Arizona will no longer push through as the Phoenix City Council decided to have a silent prayer instead during its scheduled Feb. 17 meeting.

The Satanists were supposed to deliver the invocation during the council meeting but on Wednesday, city council members voted to do away with the prayer tradition and instead have a "moment of silent prayer."

In a statement, the Phoenix City Council said it "approved amending the practice related to invocations."

"Effective immediately, and from this point forward, the new practice for the invocation will be a moment of silent prayer. The invocation is considered a city practice and the Council has the authority to change a city practice," the council added.

The new policy will start on Feb. 17 when the Satanists are scheduled to take part in the meeting.

Some opposed the council's decision, saying it's like banning prayer.

"I am not for the silent prayer," said Pastor Darlene Vasquez, according to The Arizona Republic. "I want those who believe in the one true God to pray. It breaks my heart to hear what is going on."

According to Satanic Temple member Stu de Haan, the group is just trying to exercise its rights, adding that they don't believe that Satan actually exists and that they view Satan as a metaphor for rebellion.

"If they don't want to accept, constitutionally what must happen is that all voices must be taken down from the public forum," De Haan said last week. "It's basically all voices must be heard or none at all."

Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who is opposed to the Satanists' plan, said the moment of silence only gives the Satanic Temple a "big win."

"This is what that Satanist group wants. A moment of silence is basically a banning of prayer. It's to agree to the Satanic goal to ban prayer," he said.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and four members of the council supported the policy change as preventing Satanists from doing the invocation would result to a lawsuit.

"The First Amendment to the Constitution is not ambiguous on this issue. Discriminating against faiths would violate the oath that all of us on this dais took. I personally take that very, very seriously," Stanton said.