ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An invocation presented by a member of The Satanic Temple last week during a government meeting open to the public was met with protest, and some officials and attendees walked out of the room while the reading was underway.
In 2016, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly changed its invocation policy after Satanic Temple member Iris Fontana urged listeners to “embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the tree of knowledge” and ended her presentation with the words “Hail Satan.”
The Borough decided to only allow individuals from pre-approved religious organizations to deliver the prayers at Assembly meetings.
Fontana — along with another atheist and a Jewish woman — consequently sued, and last October, the Alaskan Supreme Court struck down the policy as unconstitutional.
Therefore, on Tuesday, Fontana returned to present her invocation at the opening of the meeting once again.
“Let’s cast aside our differences, to use reason, logic, science and compassion to create solutions for the greater good of our community,” she stated, according to reports. “That which will not bend, must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared as demise. It is done, hail Satan. Thank you.”
Peninsula Clarion reporter Victoria Petersen says that several officials left the room as Fontana came to the podium, as did some members of the public.
“She stood up to the podium, and before she started speaking, several members of the audience stood up to exercise their right not to participate in the invocation since no one’s required to stand or do anything during that time,” she told Alaska Public Media.
“So, several members of the audience got up, maybe five to 10 people, and then two Assembly members — Norm Blakely as well as Paul Fisher, Chief of Staff James Baisden, and our borough Mayor Charlie Pierce all stood up and left the room before she started,” Peterson stated.
She estimated that about two dozen people also stood outside the building protesting the invocation.
“We want God’s blessings on America, not Satan’s curses,” one man who flew in from Pennsylvania told KSRM Radio, according to Fox News. “Lucifer is the eternal loser. Let’s keep him out.”
As previously reported, The Satanic Temple, which identifies itself as a “non-theistic religious organization,” doesn’t believe in Satan, but views the rebellious fallen angel as a metaphor.
“[W]e do not promote a belief in a personal Satan,” the FAQ section of the group’s main website explains. “To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions.”
The Satanic Temple also does not meet in an actual temple. Its national headquarters are located in the Salem Art Gallery in Massachusetts.
The group has been believed by many to be rather an atheist effort to make a point about the promotion of Christianity in society. In March 2018, a member of The Satanic Temple of Arizona filed suit after being prohibited from delivering the invocation at the Scottsdale city council meetings.
A Florida member of The Satanic Temple was convicted of trespassing in August after he continued to stand in front of the dais and recite the Lord’s Prayer, refusing to sit down until the meeting was called to order.