KENAI, Alaska — Officials in an Alaskan borough recently allowed an atheist to open their public meeting with an invocation hailing Satan.
According to reports, Iris Fontana, 27, and a member of the Satanic Temple, contacted the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in April to request that she be permitted to present an invocation.
In June, the Borough pondered discontinuing the invocation altogether due to complaints about the prayers being predominantly Christian, or creating rules about who and what could be said. However, due to opposition to the idea, along with a 4-4 tie vote, the Borough scrapped the idea but decided to open up the invocation to other religions.
Therefore, Fontana was permitted to participate last Tuesday.
“Let us stand now, unbowed and unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times. Let us embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the Tree of Knowledge and dissipate our blissful and comforting delusions of old,” she said during her invocation.
“That which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise. It is done.” Fontana continued, ending with the declaration, “Hail Satan.”
One assembly member left the room prior to the invocation, another remained sitting instead of standing with the others, and one stood with his hands on his hips.
Member Dale Bagley opined that Fontana’s invocation was only done to make a political statement. He noted that professing atheist Lance Hunt, who had been permitted to speak at the previous meeting, was present to record Fontana.
“I find it a little ironic that the—I hate to call it a prayer—invocation from the atheist wasn’t really about doing good and making good decisions. It was a political statement,” Bagley stated. “And he was here tonight filming the lady that gave the invocation. And obviously she was doing it for a political statement. It’s kind of irritating that that’s what we got there.”
Fontana told Alaska Public Media that she thinks everyone should be allowed to give the invocation or none at all.
“I would be happy with either allowing anyone to do it and not having like a process for them to have to do it, or everyone go through the same process to do it,” she said. “And I’d also be happy if they did away with it because I really, really believe in the separation between church and state.”
She also explained to the outlet that the Satanic Temple considers itself a religion, but doesn’t believe in any deity and considers Satan to only be a metaphor.
As previously reported, last month, Satanic Temple member David Suhor was permitted to deliver an invocation during the Pensacola, Florida City Hall meeting, which he admitted was done to combat what he saw as “Christian privilege.”
“[G]o to a moment of silence that lets everybody pray or not according to their own conscience,” he declared, angrily smacking his notebook on the podium.