After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a Florida Satanist began his push for allowing prayers around Satanism during town hall meetings. Chaz Stevens, an atheist, says the court got it right and it's time to balance the practice of religion with sectarian prayers, according to May 9 Huffington Post news report.
Stevens, a Deerfield Beach resident, is piggybacking the High Court's ruling days ago, that essentially made it unconstitutional to ban prayers of a religious nature during local town hall and government meetings. The decision came on the wake of various groups lobbying to make it unlawful to recite satanic prayers in Florida meetings. However, the decision by justices summarily said that a person or entity cannot discriminate against a person's choice of who they worship -- including prayers to Lucifer. Imagine that?
Stevens, a "self-described trouble-maker," is quoted in a letter he wrote to the city attorney about the right to open a meeting with prayers to Satan. It read:
With the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling . . . 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."
Reportedly, the Florida "Satanist" does not really worship the devil as a practice. Instead, his atheism is rooted in the belief that one should be able to practice their religious beliefs in all matters. Stevens said that prayers from Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Baptists and others are allowed in town hall meetings, but prior to the court's decision, those who prayed to the devil were shunned.
Chaz became somewhat of a celebrity when he made headlines last year, thanks to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who honored his rather unorthodox request: to erect an 8-foot-tall monument in honor of Festivus. The structure, made entirely of beer cans, was placed near the Nativity scene in the town.
In short, Stevens suggests that while he does not believe in a Biblical "God," he does prescribe to the inherent rights to freedom of expression and speech.
The question now is: Will the local government in Florida allow satanic prayers in public forums and skirt the line of church and state?