The hot topics at Austin City Council recently: ridesharing, short term rentals, the job performance of the City Manager, etc.
But this week, a popular subject: Compassion
And somehow Jesus Christ and Satan became a part of the ironically heated "compassion" discussion.
Council Member Ann Kitchen brought forth a resolution authorizing the city to get involved in the "Compassionate Communities Campaign." It's something other major cities have done. Kitchen says it's just meant to encourage everyone in town to practice compassion -- not that we don't already.
Council Member Don Zimmerman took issue with this earlier in the week at the work session, saying the resolution had religious overtones...so if council is bringing religion to the table why not extend that "compassion" to unborn children?
Fast forward to Thursday's City Council discussion on the resolution.
Zimmerman had drafted 3 amendments. One of them focused on Jesus and another instructing Council to set a time for "Serve the Lord Week"' It was a "no-go" on those two but to Zimmerman's surprise, Kitchen accepted his first amendment.
The first paragraph of the amendment was language from the "Compassion Charter." The second paragraph, according to Zimmerman, was made up of language similar to that of the compassion charter:
"WHEREAS, One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason; One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone; the spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word."
But then, Zimmerman let the cat out of the bag about where that language actually came from.
"Those 3 sentences that I added came from the satanic temple website. Most of my constituents in District 6 all believe in Jesus, that he's the resurrected Messiah and he's their Savior. But I probably do have a handful of satanists in an area of 80,000 people," Zimmerman said.
"This really flies in the face of what the resolution is intending to be about and I am very...I'm really put off my Mr. Zimmerman's amendments, all 3 of them," Zimmerman said.
Council Member Zimmerman himself voted to strike the satanic language because he can't quote "go with the devil on this one."
Zimmerman tells Fox 7 he was making a point that Council rejected the Christian amendments but seemed ok with the satanic language before they knew what it really was.
The Compassionate City resolution ended up passing with only the first paragraph of Zimmerman's amendment...the part that's not satanic.