Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio claims on this weekend's "Sunday Square Off" that the Satanist group he tried to block from saying a prayer at a council meeting is the equivalent of the murderous terrorists in ISIS.
DiCiccio, the council's most volatile member, has amped up his outrage in the wake of the Council's vote Wednesday to replace the traditional invocation before a council meeting with a moment of silent prayer. He has also accused council colleagues of inviting Satanists to speak and the city attorney of rigging the vote.
The new policy means the Satanic Temple will not be leading a prayer at its scheduled appearance. But DiCiccio and three colleagues had wanted to continue invocations while disinviting the Satanists -- a position the city attorney advised was likely legally indefensible.
DiCiccio has also called for a citywide vote on prayer at council meetings. He couldn't tell me on "Sunday Square Off" exactly what city residents would be asked to vote on.
The Satanic Temple considers itself a religion but members say they do not worship the devil. One of the group's tenets is: "The freedom of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend."
Stu de Haan, one of the leaders of the Tucson temple that was scheduled to speak, is a criminal defense attorney.
Members of the Satanic Temple have taken on church vs. state battles across the country. The group has been called a "poison-pill" used to challenge governments that it believes cross the line.
"Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sunday on 12 News.