PENSACOLA, Fla. — A Satanic invocation was interrupted with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer on Thursday night during a city hall meeting in Pensacola, Florida.
Hundreds had gathered both inside and outside of the city hall building in expectation of the invocation, which was delivered by David Suhor of the Satanic Temple. Some believe that Satanic Temple members are actually atheist and agnostics out to make a point.
While the prayers delivered during Pensacola city hall meetings are generally Christian, Suhor had requested to present his own invocation on behalf of the Satanic Temple and was permitted to proceed due to fear of a lawsuit.
He attended a meeting earlier this month where a number of residents expressed their opposition, and turned his back and began chanting as a council member delivered the day’s prayer. Suhor also held up a sign with Matthew 6:5-6 to assert that prayers are not to be prayed in public.
The Scriptures speak of not seeking to gain the applause of men by drawing attention to oneself in an ostentatious manner.
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward,” the verses read. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
A woman two rows behind Suhor crafted another sign, citing Matthew 5:15, which reads, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
On Thursday, Suhor wore a hooded black robe as he approached the podium, and was warned by City Council President Charles Bare, “If you deviate away from what I feel is proper invocation speech, I will have you removed from the chamber.”
He was surrounded by opposition as many began reciting the Lord’s Prayer to drown out the invocation.
Bare called the room to order and told those gathered that they must remain quiet or they would have to leave the room.
One man declared, “I would rather be in the room than let darkness sit here by itself.”
Several were escorted out, but others stayed and prayed to Jesus quietly with hands raised while Suhor delivered a loud song, belting out, “That which will not bend must break” and “That which is destroyed by truth should never be spared. Its demise, it is done. Hail Satan!”
During the meeting, one pastor warned the council that allowing Suhor to deliver the invocation was inviting curses on the people.
“If someone is not representing Jesus but representing Satan, and wants to invoke curses, that’s why you have such a representation of people coming based of the word of God,” he declared.
Suhor, who angrily smacked his notebook on the podium, acknowledged that he had a reason for the spectacle.
“Adopt some [expletive] rules. Stop pandering for votes. Quit pushing Christian privilege as we’ve seen with the Bayview cross and so many other issues and instead go to a moment of silence, that lets everybody pray or not according to their own conscience,” he said.