ICC Note: Officials in Coral Springs, Florida have officially decided to cease the practice of praying before council meetings in the face of a possible lawsuit. A man named Chaz Stevens requested that the city also conduct Satanist prayers before the meetings, suggesting that if you allow prayers from one religion, you must allow prayers from every religion. He threatened a lawsuit in the matter, leading to the city of Coral Springs to eliminate the presentation of prayers altogether.
By Heather Clark
09/22/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – Officials in a Florida city have opted to end the presentation of prayers at city council meetings altogether rather than face a possible lawsuit from a Satanist who is seeking to lead an invocation.
Activist Chaz Stevens had submitted a request to city leaders in Coral Springs and other Florida cities to lead a Satanic invocation during the city council meeting. Stevens, known for erecting a Festivus Pole made of beer cans at the Florida Capitol Rotunda, submitted the requests to make a point: If you allow representatives of one religion to pray, you must allow them all.
“My project is named Satan or Silence. That sums it up,” he told reporters.
He has threatened to file a lawsuit against any city that refuses his request.
In Coral Springs, officials stalled for several weeks in replying to Stevens’ request, but have now announced that they have decided to discontinue the prayer portion of the meeting altogether instead of accommodating or refusing the Satanist. Mayor Skip Campbell says it was partially because he doesn’t want to use public funds to fight Stevens in court.
“I don’t think our citizens would be in favor of Satanic invocations before City Commission meetings,” he told the Sun Sentinel. “The cost of fighting that could be astronomical. I don’t see [how] we as a city should be paying lawyer fees for fights on principle. I can find a lot of better things to do with a couple hundred thousand dollars than to give to a lawyer.”
The outlet reports that Stevens also has attempted to lead an invocation at Pompano Beach, but has been denied. When he was told that he must belong to a church to qualify, he created the “First Pompano Beach Church of Satan.”