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Satanists can't get an invitation to lead the Boston City Council in an invocation, but one virulent homophobe can

Boston city councilors take turns inviting local members of the clergy to open their Wednesday meetings with a convocation. Today was Althea Garrison's first turn and the at-large councilor invited her friend, Roy Owens, pastor of the Walthall Chapel Church of God in Christ in Roxbury.

Owens typically runs for elected office every year and makes opposition to the gays in general and same-sex marriage in particular a key part of his campaigns.

Last year, Owens, in his second-straight unsuccessful race for the District 7 council seat held by Kim Janey, thundered how other councilors supported laws that would force ministers to preach the gospel of gay marriage:

We as African Americans and people of color have been by tradition a Holy and Spiritual people. My opponents have failed to take a stand against laws forcing pastors to promote same-sex life style in their Churches or face jail and large fines.

In 2017, in a failed run for the same seat, he campaigned against a bill he claimed would require teaching oral and anal sex to kindergarten students.

The law he was upset about, of course, did not such thing and, in fact, would have strengthened the rights of parents to know what sort of sex education their children would receive.

In 2007, an anti-gay group praised Owens as "a fairly good guy" in his race against then state Rep Marie St. Fleur, whom it called "another footsoldier for the gay lobby."

Owens did not raise such specters in his convocation. He praised the work of city councilors, said he he hoped they realized they were doing God's work and backed a proposal by Garrison to help homeless veterans. He then led the council in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, substituting "Constitution" for "Republic."

The Satanic Temple of Salem has been complaining for several years now about its failure to get one of its members invited to open a session of the Boston City Council; it seems no members of the council are willing to take a turn having a Satanist give a convocation. The group last fall filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination over the issue.

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Complaints. MCAD Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-commission-against-discrimination

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From an organization that is a paragon of virtue and leadership and taking care of children, welcoming gays and not subjugating women:

The Catholic Church!

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Remember how they were all in the comments when she was sworn in because somehow she was disrespected by her fellow councillors?

#crickets

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You don't have a problem with a transgender person being disrespected for being the equivalent of "an uncle Tom" by the political establishment?

If Althea was a stereotypical transgender liberal the council and media would be falling all over themselves to praise her. Because she isn't *crickets*, cynicism, & condemnation are the only coverage Althea will ever get.

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If she has any merits as a political figure in Boston, wouldn't she have won office before and kept it? She's Doug Bennett with a longer track record of wasting our time. She's earned every bit of cynicism towards her as a political figure that there is.

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Roy Owens is not very intelligent. Just read one of his flyers if you think he has an ounce of intelligence. And I'm assuming he doesn't even know that Althea is a (self loathing) transgender female. Both of them are a stain on the City of Boston.

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Roy Owens https://ballotpedia.org/Roy_Owens_(Massachusetts)

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Why are local clergy members opening city council meetings? Don't we still have a separation of church and state?

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Seriously, is this the 1600's? I don't care what silly old book of fairy tales they prefer, religion has no place at a city council meeting.

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Which is why all manners of priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, and other religious folk do the convocation each. If a Unitarian minister does the convocation next week, it will no more mean the City is endorsing their world view as Owen's prayer this week means they are endorsing his world view.

Perhaps if the Satanists played nicer with a member of the City Council, they'd get a turn, but let's be honest, they don't really want to give the convocation.

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pretty sure they would love to give the convocation. it would show that a government body recognizes a secular organization* over some phooey religious one.

*the church of satan, for all its satanic/majestic trolling, is actually not a religious organization.

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Althea Garrison: Proving once again that you can continuous vote against your own well being because you know, religion.. politics are more important than yourself.

*shakes head*

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Althea is just another Caitlyn Jenner. pulling the ladder up behind themselves and spitting down on their brothers and sisters.

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Looking for online easy to use SORTED BY TOPIC 2019 Roll Call Votes of Boston City Council. Chronological Roll Call Votes at https://www.cityofboston.gov/cityclerk/rollcall

Sorted by Councilor 2019 Roll Call Votes can give insight into the Councilor's stands on issues.

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...is "earning" for having backed into a City Council seat, unelected? Salary? Medical insurance? Transportation allowance? Expense account? Pension? This information must be public record, and I assume it must be published somewhere. Any ideas?

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So she makes around $100,000 a year (I should know, but can't remember exactly how much a councilor makes these days), gets health insurance and a free parking space in the City Hall garage. A pension is involved as well.

You're right, it's all public information, but I guess the question is why are you singling her out? She's not getting anything above what the other councilors get.

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The pattern of a Councilor's 2019 Roll Call Votes SORTED BY TOPIC are useful information. But it's obscured by only making 2019 Roll Call Votes available chronologically.

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I've objected here and elsewhere to the system that elevated a distant runner-up and perennial loser to the council because the person who WAS elected jumped ship. If the council desperately needs a new member in order to function, hold a special election. Otherwise, keep the seat vacant until the next scheduled election. Don't reward someone who has been consistently and resoundingly rejected by the voters (for very good reason, as this episode reminds us).

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Single-transferable vote STV form of proportional representation PR https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote

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I suspect she already has that, as she was elected before.

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having backed into a City Council seat, unelected?

She was, in fact, duly elected under the rules... She was the runner up (fifth place finisher out of four slots) for the at-large seats, and the rules are that the runner-up moves up if there's a vacancy.

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Still maintain she was unelected, though. Just like Gerald Ford was never elected president.

As I explained above, I think the rule needs to be changed. It's absurd. What if the vote tally was:

Candidate A: 5,000
Candidate B: 4,000
Candidate C: 3,000
Candidate D: 2,000
Candidate E: 1

If the rule says candidate E is elevated if A, B, C, or D leaves, the rule is dumb. I wonder what happens if there are only four candidates. Vacancy? Special election? Mayoral appointment?

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Visited the Satanic Temple of Salem last October.

Nice people. Wonderful Art.

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Satanists are not evil people at all. I follow them on twitter, their twitter account is amazing and always on point. They really make it a point to make it well know they are not evil and do a lot of good

Check out some of the volunteerism they do.

And get your head of the sand, Satanism isn't what you think at all. Read up on it, its enlightening.

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Really. I'm not going to soapbox it here or complain to Adam, but this is pure poison.

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Devils! The Devils!!! hissssssssssss (/Puddy)

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Momo, dancing, and faxing people LSD, too!

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They are basically athiests who are pointing out the ridiculousness and corruption of organized religion, right? Sounds like my kind of people.

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There is some theologian to it too.

Something about Satan being God's other son or something like that. I wish I could remember more about it but it was something similar and connected to judochristian beliefs.

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I wouldn't exactly call it "theology" since they up front refer to Satan as a literary figure, not as an actual entity (with or without the horns and pointy tail).

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Why would the Satanic Temple of Salem have any agency to open a Boston City Council meeting? Just because there isn't a Satanic Temple of Boston? What about the Zoroastrians, Rastafarians, and Mithraists?

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I'm all pro-Satan (don't get me wrong - wink) but I think they have a weak case here. If there was some random selection of religious-types to open the meetings and the Satanists were summarily denied a place in line, they'd have a case. But since it's up to the individual councilors to pick someone they want, there is no systemic bias. They just need to get in good with a councilor who is not running for reelection and blamo! they are in.

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I'm not a lawyer (and, of course, I don't play one on TV), but it seems that the way the courts around here judge the First Amendment and separation of church and state, it's an all or nothing thing: Either you let every group that wants to use a public space (or "forum" as they call it in court) or you let none of them use it.

So if you allow a creche on Boston Common, you also have to allow a menorah (and in the memorable case of the Florida State House rotunda, a Festivus pole). But if you ban menorahs, you have to also ban creches. Either way, you're protecting against the ban on state recognition of a particular religion.

In the case of the City Council, first you'd have to establish whether it's a public "forum." I don't see how you could say it isn't. So if you have government officials selecting particular clergy members (who in the past have also included rabbis, imams and, um, whatever you call the leaders of a Hare Krishna group), but not others (in this case the Satanists), is that effectively government deciding which religions are good and which aren't, and so a violation of the First Amendment? If the Satanists are serious about following through (they first complained in 2016, then did nothing at all until last fall), this could wind up in the courts and that could wind up costing the city (and the Satanists) a fair amount of money. Would be interesting, though.

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I agree it will be interesting! If it was going to run up the legal bill, I would normally say that someone would just bring in the Satanists once to shut them up. Problem solved. However, then every marginal wacko religious group would come knocking, asking for THEIR turn.

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Yes, that's usually the point that the Satanists are making with intended irony. If you don't want every wacko group having at turn at opening the city council meeting, then don't have ANY wacko group, even the Roman Catholics, opening the city council meeting.

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Interesting that Salem Satanists want to use the Boston City Council as a "public forum" in this instance...I don't attend every single public hearing but I don't recall any Satanic group offering testimony on issues of education, housing, transportation, etc.

I'm pro-First Amendment but I'm anti-clout chasing. Seems like the latter here.

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Spending money to make points about religious bias in this country is sort of the Satanist's whole bag. They'd be happy to do it.

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Saw Alex Chilton at the Paradise years ago, and he got the crowd to chant "Hail, Satan!"

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Was it before or after he sang this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4GGTuMHpQU

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Couldn't say. Back then I knew him only from the Boxtops and the Replacements song, had never heard of Big Star at that time. Know more about him now, what a character he was.

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Ernest Angley, they can have an in depth m2m sex discussion, while Althea clutches her pearls

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My opponents have failed to take a stand against laws forcing pastors to promote same-sex life style in their Churches or face jail and large fines.

...beeeecause those laws don't actually exist?

But I'm pretty sure the Bible has something to say about bearing false witness.

(And worshiping money, instead of God...)

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When will the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster get its chance?

Ra-men.

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I'm sure our longtime local anti-humanist Church of Euthanasia would be very happy to deliver a convocation that the City Council would long remember!

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