Florida City Opts to End Prayer at Council Meetings Over Threat of Suit From Satanist

Coral Springs Credit Legionarius
Photo Credit: Legionarius

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – 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.”

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But he was again rebuffed last month because city policy reportedly requires the prayer time to be “solemn and respectful.”

“[Y]our numerous emails indicate that you have no intention of delivering an invocation based upon your religious beliefs, no matter what they may be,” officials responded, “but instead intend to make a mockery of the proceedings, by, as you indicated, ‘twerking’ and/or bringing a mariachi band to perform.”

As previously reported, Stevens told local television station WPTV last December that he wanted to put an end to the prayers by making his presentations over the top. He said that he believes a moment of silence is more appropriate.

“We want to make a circus out of it,” Stevens told the outlet. “We want to make a fiasco out of it. We want to make it so … utterly ridiculous that they rethink this.”

He said that he doesn’t believe prayer during the Coral Springs city council meetings adds any benefit to the area.

“How many churches are there in Coral Springs? Let’s just guess and say there are 100. Will one less three-minute church make all the difference in the City? What value does it add? There is no proof,” he asserted to Coral Springs Talk.

It is not clear whether Stevens is a practicing Satanist or is using the title solely to make a point.


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  • respectourdifferences

    Prayer has nothing to do with the business of a city council. There is no reason it should be part of the proceedings.

    • Dominic Flynn

      Lazy public servants. They can pray in their own god damn time.

      • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EvidencefortheBible/ Galut1

        A Christian may be silently praying as he or she is working and no one other than God will ever know … and not all public servant are lazy 🙂

    • David Anderson

      Prayer has to do with EVERYTHING! We must seek God for direction and guidance in all that we do.

      • Names_Stan

        So you’re fine with public Muslim prayers when they become the majority in an incorporated municipality one day soon?

        • wandakate

          Is GOD going to hear those prayers? Will He honor them if it is His will?

          • Names_Stan

            That has absolutely nothing to do with my post.

            The reason to keep prayer out of government is so whatever majority happens to be in charge can’t force a theology on others.

            Some communities are already close to Muslim majority, if not there already. Certainly there are majority Hispanic Catholic communities. The point is, the people here that want others hearing them pray would have a screaming fit if they were forced to hear Islamic or Catholic or atheist or pagan or Jewish or whatever prayers.

            What God hears had nothing to do with it. Although, it can be argued Jesus said those public prayers won’t be heard:

            5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

        • David Anderson

          There is but one God. Who is it that I should pray to?

      • respectourdifferences

        For you, perhaps. But not for everyone.

        • sandra-paquette-

          The Lord only hears the prayers of his people. Until one comes into repentance he hears them not. The scriptures is very clear on this. And of course if it is his will.

          • respectourdifferences

            You are certainly entitled to your belief.

      • wandakate

        I wrote what I wrote just above you b4 I saw what you wrote. Must have been two minds running on the same channel huh?

        • David Anderson

          One body, one mind, alive in Christ; the Great Way Maker!

      • Satanic_Panic

        Why? Do you not have a mind of your own?

        • wandakate

          Of course he has a mind of his own, and so do I. We pray to GOD (our higher power). We don’t always do right when we should, we can do wrong, even when we should be doing right. Today it seems what is right is all the sudden wrong, and what has always been wrong is now right.
          We made wrong decisions and we need help and guidance and that is where Almighty GOD comes into the picture. We love Him, and believe Him, and Honor Him and Obey Him.
          Man will fail us, but GOD will NEVER fail us, therefore we pray…GOD answers prayers and makes changes according to His will. We find comfort and peace after praying knowing that things are then in HIs hands and not ours. He is not like us, He makes NO mistakes, whereas we make plenty of them.

    • Peter Leh

      pray is tradition. tolerate all or none. don’t you think that is reasonable?

      • respectourdifferences

        I see no reason for prayer, of any type, to be a formal part of governmental proceeding.

        • Peter Leh

          legitimate opinion.

      • sandra-paquette-

        Tradition – hm, in America we have always have prayed to God. This should not be changed. If people coming to a country of choice they should respect the country customs, not come to change and take over. Other Muslims countries do not Tolerate Christianity. There is not one church built in these muslim countries. The trouble in saying tolerate all prayer we do not consider mohammed a God. This has never been our way of life and why should we have to change our way of custom. Opening any Government meetings, or school has always been opening prayer. If non-believers don’t like it then they should step out.

        • wandakate

          This reminds me of the Spanish speaking people who come to this country and will not learn English, but instead expect us to learn Spanish and to accommodate them. WHAT??? If a bunch of Americans move down to Puerto Rico, do they think they are going to accommodate us and start speaking English just b/c we happen to be occupying some of their country.
          They speak Spanish, if we want to live there then we need to learn Spanish and the same goes for here. Learn English or go back to where you were.
          The very same thing is happening with the Muslims. They come to America and they want us to do things their way. Pray to Allah, instead of our GOD. NO, we should NEVER have to do that. This is America, the land of the free and the brave and we are an ENGLISH speaking country that has always prayed to GOD and not to Budda or Allah, or any other god, therefore we should continue as we have always been. If they don’t like it, they also should go back to the countries that do it their way and pray to their god!!!!!!

          • sandra-paquette-

            Agree

        • Satanic_Panic

          Hey stupid! Are you totally ignorant of the Constitution? How about the Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, which states that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

          The treaty was negotiated and signed by the founding fathers of America; the people who created the country disagree with your inane position.

          • wandakate

            That may well be true as I have hear that before, however, there are plenty of Christians now. GOD is still GOD, and heaven is still heaven and hell is still hell.
            We chose whether we are Christians or not. We chose whether we believe in GOD or we don’t. We also chose where we shall spend our eternity in Heaven (the Kingdom of GOD), or in Hell (the kingdom of satan).
            GOD doesn’t send anyone to hell, they send themselves, but it was their choice remember?

        • Peter Leh

          “If people coming to a country of choice they should respect the country customs, not come to change and take over.”

          why not? What customs have changed for americans since 1776? for the blacks, the gays, the women? you dont think the federal government when into the antebellum south and change the white southerners way of life?

          Consider what you are suggesting ma’am .

    • sandra-paquette-

      Then that mean they better cut out all of the Muslim prayers no allowances made for them at anytime. And that means when they want time out to pray at work or any other places they choose no dice. What goes for one goes for all. Funny, when then there is a disaster like 9/11 why is it the people turn to prayer all of a sudden. Amazing, how they just use God to fit into their lives just when they feel like they need him. As for the non-believers they are forcing the believers to go their heathen ways. If they don’t want to pray then step out of the room till over but, they want to force all their ways unto us.

      • wandakate

        We seem to have to common sense anymore. We don’t have any laws, we don’t know anything. Right is wrong and wrong is right and so be it is the attitude as in “who cares” one way or the other.
        This is an English speaking country and we pray to GOD and only GOD. And yes, what goes for one should go for all according to OUR WAYS and not their ways. It’s our country and GOD has mightily blessed it, therefore we should pray to only GOD here. If they want their own silent prayers then that’s acceptable, but their prayers at our meeting I’m afraid will not be welcomed and hopefully not tolerated either.

        • sandra-paquette-

          Because they have lost their God, they have lost their common sense. What made America the most wonderful country in the world. Because the people of the land put God first schools, Government. Not so to-day they all want to change. And now things are going down hill fast.

      • respectourdifferences

        Are you aware of any City Council that opens meetings with Islamic prayers?

        “If they don’t want to pray then step out of the room till over but, they want to force all their ways unto us.”

        OR, how about this: If those who want to pray do so before the meeting instead of forcing their ways on to everyone at the meeting. Why wouldn’t that work?

    • wandakate

      The way things are going in this country, the cities and towns, villages and everything in between need all the prayer they can muster up.
      GOD is on the back burner of most lives and most cities and unless that changes we are in a world of trouble. GOD needs to be put back into His rightful place, up front (on the front burner) so to speak…We pay more homage and attention to the Pope than we do to GOD. People treat the Pope and Obama better than they treat GOD. I smell a rat, I see a red flag. Something is terribly wrong with our country. Prayer has everything to do with everything.

  • Pam Nowell

    Well, that’s easy. Those interested can gather for an hour to pray at someone’s home on the way to the meeting. NOW instead of 3 minutes they can pray for an hour. Guess who just lost?

    • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EvidencefortheBible/ Galut1

      the holy spirit must be active today …my thoughts exactly

      • ppp777

        The spirit of the antichrist certainly is .

    • Michael Eade

      They can pray all they want at home that is the point he is trying to make, it is not welcome in a government building, when you step into a government job you leave your religion outside, if you want religion to be involved in your work become a pastor/priest/vicar etc.

      • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EvidencefortheBible/ Galut1

        Silent prayer by individuals not heard by those present at the meetings cannot be stopped …and yes there should be no official encouragement … the christian life is a daily one not just at home or sunday at church ….

        • jdumon

          Well said.
          True christians are not behaving like christians for only some minutes a day.

        • wandakate

          Either you are for me or against me said JESUS. “Not everyone who says to me on that day, LORD, LORD will enter the Kingdom of GOD, but ‘only’ the ones who do the will of the FATHER.” There are 7 days in a week and Christians are supposed to be Christians all 7 days, and put GOD first and foremost above everything else. I don’t just abandon my faith if I am at a secular meeting or a government meeting, my faith is still there.
          IF they want to pray before the official meeting starts then they certainly can do so. If they want to have a few minutes of silence so people can silently say their own prayers then so be it.
          Who does this man think he is demanding these things? He’s got a lot of guts…
          However I must also add that if the council members caved into him then that means they are apparently just scared. GOD didn’t want anything to do with weak Christians, those with no guts, no backbone, no willpower. He said they would fall by the wayside, and they will.
          JESUS requires obedience and said, “IF you love me, keep my commandments”. He wanted our loyalty, our love, trust and obedience. In fact our allegiance…
          If they are caving in now, what will they do when the antichrist comes on the scene and the mark of the beast is presented?

          • Satanic_Panic

            Hey moron, the Constitution trumps your silly god belief.

          • wandakate

            The Constitution IS NOT above GOD…Your breath comes from Him, and should He alone decide to take it away you will not be here anymore so I would be careful if I were you.
            GOD is sorry He created people who have that attitude about Him. He also created hell so those people would be comfortable for their eternity.

          • Satanic_Panic

            God is below the Constitution. Hell doesn’t exist and neither does god; ’tis but a figment of your imagination.

    • wandakate

      People aren’t controlled unless they chose to be controlled. Nobody can force them to stop praying. They can pray BEFORE the meeting if need be.
      It’s interesting that they took awhile to decide and then they caved in.
      In other words they have NO backbone, no guts, no nothing…they are weak.
      Those who love and believe in the LORD and believe their prayers do make a difference will continue to pray regardless, and those who don’t will do just as the scriptures say, they will fall by the wayside.
      You are either for me or against me said JESUS…
      Remember JESUS also said, “On that day may will say to me LORD, LORD, but only those who did the will of the FATHER will be in the Kingdom of GOD”. The saved souls have backslid, they are in apostasy, they are lukewarm. JESUS said if they were “luke warm” He would spew them out of His mouth. In other words He won’t have anything to do with them. So much for the cities that turn their backs on GOD.
      I understand the part about the lawsuit, and the man might do that very thing, but the council members can find a way to pray IF it’s important to them, if not, then they’re no better than the other man.

    • wandakate

      EXCELLENT SUGGESTION and I hope they will do just that, or have a meeting in a restaurant and pray there for their food as well as their meeting.
      Prayers can’t be stopped. People can pray in silence is they wish to do so.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EvidencefortheBible/ Galut1

    It is time for our christian community to learn how to side step this issue and still pray for the council/government meetings prior to the meetings …there is nothing stopping Christians from holding a short prayer meeting at a home or restaurant or in some other non government building . this takes the issue away from the atheist and other proponents of separation of church and state….and in the meetings there is nothing wrong with silent prayers by individuals as long as there isn’t an official encouragement to do so ….

    for those that say prayers has nothing to do with the business of a city …I say this the creator of heaven and earth controls the elements around us and has influence in ways that well could bless the community …and make things possible ….if you don’t want that … fine

  • Names_Stan

    This issue is a good example of the “literalists” becoming “figurative”, under the guise that surely God needs a theocracy to operate in.

    5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
    Matt 6:5-8

  • Peter Leh

    the ethical thing to do if you cannot accommodate.

    So what have we learned?

  • http://www.bing.com/ Martin Smit

    Why does Coral Springs have a council that is incapable of speaking for themselves and praying themselves for their proceedings? Is this the kind of leadership preferred by the residents? Is this the best leadership that the town could produce? Do these leaders need leadership from outsiders? If outsiders are interfering in council proceedings, then outsiders should be ejected (all of them, if necessary) and the elected representatives should get on with representing their constituents’ interests, and making representations to God or whoever they believe will help them. If Mr Stevens would like to lead the council in prayer or anything else, he should run for office. All the satanists in Coral Springs will vote for him.

    • tatoo

      But their constituents consist of non-Christians. Some atheist, some satanists, etc. So, if they only have Christian racers, the are not representing their constituents. wait Ia surprised aboutis that the council actually did the smart thing rather than spending thousands and getting the same results.

  • Clancie

    Very few people around with guts anymore.. guess like Mrs. Davis, they’re all in jail now? Are we becoming Cuba? We have to stand up to this anti-American people

    • Ambulance Chaser

      And do what? Ignore the Supreme Court?

  • Nidalap

    Ah, another city council rolls over. This is exactly why Trump has garnered such popularity lately…

  • Mike Huck

    we must continue taking all the power away from the Christians…time for them to pay for their crimes against humanity

    • sandra-paquette-

      Don’t worry when the Christians are taken out in the “Rapture” the world will be like never before. I’m sure you will love it.

  • Mike Huck

    benny hinn and thomas monson are the worlds only living prophets

    • sandra-paquette-

      Benny Hinn is a faults prophet never heard of Thomas Monson?

      • wandakate

        Benny Hinn is what? You must have meant a FALSE prophet…

        • sandra-paquette-

          Yep, sorry

  • Tim

    Heck let him do his song and dance on a small one inch square of public property at the back of the building at the edge of another property, he could just as well do it on a sidewalk who cares. In the meantime don’t stop praying before your meeting because of some guy with an attitude. After all it Should be about principles.

  • Satanic_Panic

    Why are xians such pathetic losers?

    • wandakate

      What in the world is an xians? That isn’t in the dictionary…