Florida Satanist Chaz Stevens has a simple request: He would like to lead off a local Florida town council meeting in prayer to his god – who happens to be Satan the Devil. Just days after the Supreme Court ruled that sectarian legislative prayer was constitutional in Greece v. Galloway, Stevens, a Deerfield Beach, Florida resident, submitted his petition to open a town meeting or a state assembly meeting with his Satanic prayer, reports 12 News.
Stevens explained his rather obtuse thinking to Raw Story:
“I just want equal billing,” he said. “We allow various religious nut jobs 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? Satan and I are being circumvented. The city of Deerfield Beach has once again declared war on religion — and this time it’s Satanism.”
According to the Huffington Post, Stevens has already rankled members of Christian faiths when he erected a Festivus pole made of beer cans in the Florida Capitol. Stevens was protesting the traditional baby Jesus nativity scene that was on display. His Festivus pole, a nod to the strange celebration celebrated by the Costanza’s from Seinfeld, was essentially just a stack of empty Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans.
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.
Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in the case stated, “To 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.”
As seen in the video above, the case was initiated in Greece, New York, a suburb of Rochester, and elevated all the way up to the Supreme Court. The opening of the town board meetings in Greece start out each week with a very similar, and decidedly religious, overtone: The town Supervisor invites a minister to begin their meeting with prayer, who then asks for divine guidance and closes the prayer by invoking Christ Jesus. “Amen,” say the town board members.
The public prayers of this Rochester suburb were elevated to the highest court in the land, with the ruling coming earlier this week.
In the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court considered whether the offering of a prayer prior to town hall meetings violated First Amendment separation of church and state. The decision they rendered will have a far reaching impact on any perceived government endorsement of religion during official functions.
The nine-member high court had not heard a case on public prayer since they upheld the practice three decades ago. The 1983 Supreme Court decision of Marsh v. Chambers permitted legislative prayers as long as there was no discrimination in selecting what religious group was chosen to offer the prayer.
Residents attending the Greece meetings say that is not what was happening.
Susan Galloway, 51, spearheaded the effort to fight the ruling, saying at the time that officials in Greece consistently violated the Constitution by endorsing Christianity in their public prayers.
“Government should be inclusive,” said Galloway, who is Jewish. “There are people who don’t believe, and they’re part of this country, too. We all have a right to be part of it and not feel excluded.”
The town disagreed, saying they have not discriminated against other faiths. Officials said that while the opening prayer is typically given by a Christian minister, they are amenable to any other religion that would like to step forward to represent the town in prayer. In the past, the prayer has been delivered by a Jewish man, a Bahai leader, even a Wiccan priestess who called on Greek gods Apollo and Athena. And now we have Stevens with his Devil-seeking incantation request.
“People from other faiths did volunteer, which is great,” said Brett Harvey, one of Greece’s lawyers. “The town has no problem with any of that.”
Now, with its decision in Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway, the court is blurring the line between church and state, says the Florida rabble rouser.
“If the Supreme Court wants to open up the door to this, Satan and I will walk through,” Stevens says.
What are your thoughts on Steven's request or the Supreme Court ruling on public prayers? Sound off below.