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Florida Satanist angers many with bizarre request to open meeting with prayer

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A Florida Satanist is creating quite a stir after he wrote letter describing his bizarre request to open a Deerfield Beach council meeting with a Satanic prayer, Friday's report from 12 News said. In a letter, Florida Satanist Chaz Stevens wrote..."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."

As explained by Raw Story, Stevens' request follows a recent ruling by the Supreme Court that said sectarian prayer before a government meeting does not necessarily violate the Constitution's Establishment Clause. The high court ruled that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts, the court said in a 5-4 decision backed by its conservative majority.

Stevens, who says he converted to Satanism because "Satan is a cool dude," created quite the name for himself last Christmas after he was granted permission to erect a Festivus pole — made of empty beer cans — in the rotunda of the Florida state Capitol as a way of protesting a nativity scene that was also displayed there.

In a brief phone interview, the Florida Satanist admitted that he is fairly new to Satanism and that this is the first time he had committed to any god. He also stated that he believes the Supreme Court's ruling on Monday blurs the line between church and state.

"If the Supreme Court wants to open up the door to this, Satan and I will walk through," Stevens said.

According to Stevens, politics is a dirty business and there is no respect involved. He told NPR that many of the rights enshrined in the Constitution were intended to protect minorities. This decision, he says, isn't about assuring respect for the little guy, instead, it's about protecting the Christian majority.

The Florida Satanist says that even some of his family doesn't understand what he's trying to do with his request. He says that this is not about Satan.

"It's a comic gag, a satirical gag, an extreme gag that draws attention at the greying of the separation of church and state," Stevens says. As of the time of this report, City Council officials have not responded to the request. Updates to the story will be posted here as they are made available.

Satanism consists of a number of beliefs and related social phenomena. They share the features of symbolism, veneration and admiration for Satan (or similar figures). Satan first appeared in the Hebrew Bible and was an angel that challenged the faith of human and religion. In the Book of Job he is called "the Satan (which means " the accuser "or ""an adversary, one who resists ") and acted as the reporter in the court of God. A character named "Satan" was described within the many gospels of the early Christians as the cosmic enemy of man and the tempter of Jesus. Religions inspired by these texts (Jews, Christians and Muslims) traditionally regarded Satan as an adversary or an enemy; seeing its presence and influence in every aspect of adversarial role dating back to the Creation and Fall of Man.

Modern Satanic groups (those that appeared after the sixties) are very diverse, but there are two very important trends that can be seen as traditional Satanism or theistic and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural god. By contrast, atheists Satanists consider themselves atheists and regard Satan as a symbol of man's inherent nature. This categorization of Satanism (which can be categorized in other ways, for example 'traditional' to 'modern') is not necessarily adopted by Satanists themselves, who usually do not specify what kind of satanism they are attached to.

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