Less than three days after the Supreme Court ruled in Town of Greece v. Galloway that prayers before town meetings did not violate the Constitution’s ban on endorsing religion, a self-styled Satanist in Deerfield Beach, Florida has asked city officials to let him open a meeting with a Satanic prayer.
Chaz Stevens — who made headlines last December when he forced Florida Governor Rick Scott to allow him to erect an 8-foot-tall Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans next to Deerfield Beach’s nativity manger — told the New Times that he recently converted from “Pabstfestidian” because “Satan is a cool dude.”
“Think of all the people he’s in charge of,” Stevens said. “Do you want to be stuck listening to harp music in the afterlife? Hell no. I want to drink beer and hang with hookers.”
He then tacked to a more serious course, adding “I just want equal billing. We allow various religious nutjobs to give a prayer. They pray to Jesus who is make-believe, god who is make-believe, why not Satan who is make-believe?”
“Why discriminate against one make-believe god over another?” he continued. “Satan and I are being circumvented. The city of Deerfield Beach has once again declared war on religion — and this time it’s Satanism.”
Raw Story spoke to Stevens this morning, who said that he had contacted City Attorney Andrew Maurodis and was told that he had “no comment” on the status of the request.
The full text of Stevens letter to the Deerfield Beach city council reads as follows:
Dear City of Deerfield Beach;
With the recent US Supreme Court ruling allowing “prayer before Commission meetings” and seeking the rights granted to others, I hereby am requesting I be allowed to open a Commission meeting praying for my God, my divine spirit, my Dude in Charge.
Be advised, I am a Satanist.
Let me know when this is good for you.
Stevens also shared with Raw Story a request he sent to Sherrie Routt, an Administrative Assistant with the Department of Management, to open a session of the Florida state Senate with a prayer to Satan:
Good morning to you. Hope all is well. I have two items that I need assistance with.
1. I’d like to (once again) install my PBR Festivus Pole in the Rotunda during the upcoming winter holiday season.
2. Given the recent US Supreme Court ruling (City of Greece, NY), I would like to open up a Session with a prayer to my god Satan. Kindly advise me how to seek approval for that.
According to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Town of Greece v. Galloway, “[t]o hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force the legislatures that sponsor prayers and the courts that are asked to decide these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech,” meaning that prayers are allowed to invoke particular religious affiliations, including Satanism, without violating the Constitutional edict against state endorsement of religion.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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