Surprise to add prayer segment to meetings as Scottsdale goes to court over Satanic prayers

Next week, the City of Scottsdale will head to court to defend a decision to block members of the Satanic Temple from delivering an invocation at the beginning of council meetings.

As the East Valley city prepares for their day in court, the City of Surprise, in the West Valley, will start to add a prayer segment before its city council meetings. That also means the city could be on the radar of the Satanic Temple, a group that has looked to be included in city council prayers around the country.

"It depends on what happened in Scottsdale," said Satanic Tempe spokesperson Stu De Haan, in a phone interview. "We don't know what's going to happen with our lawsuit there. There are various things that come down from Appellate Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court in different directions. Sometimes they find the policy to be acceptable, and sometimes they find it to be illegal and discriminatory."

Residents in Surprise are talking about the separation of church and state.

"That's how this country was founded, and I'm not against prayer per se, but if we continue to have controversies with groups that want to come in, where does it end?" said Ramona Wiles.

"Everybody's going to have a difference of opinion always, you're never going to make everybody happy," said Alicia Cutrona. "If the Catholics want to pray and the Christians want to pray and if a Satanic wants to pray, they should be allowed to do their own thing."

The Arizona Chapter of the Satanic Temple, based out of Tucson, has yet to successfully deliver an invocation at any council meeting.

"You're seeing all kind of laws being passed under the 'religious liberty' guise, but it's really about promoting their own religion over other people, and this is where it's become problematic," said De Haan.