Chaz Stevens is a South Florida activist who passionately disagrees with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. In a five-to-four split, the high court ruled that opening a town board meeting with prayer was constitutional.
So to poke fun at the decision, Stevens has asked Deerfield Beach to allow him to read a Satanic prayer to open a commission meeting.
The prayer goes like this:
Hail Satan, Lord of Darkness, King of Hell, Ruler of the Earth
God of this world, God who invited us to become as god
Muse of our civilization
Dread enemy of a tyrant god
Satan, mighty liberator, bearer of true light
God of our flesh, God of our mind
God of our innermost will
Oh mighty lord Satan, teach us to become strong and wise
Teach us to vanquish the enemies of our freedom and wellbeing
Although the Church of Satan does exist, Stevens is definitely not a member. He doesn't identify as a member of any church. But he sees this as an opening for conversation and if that conversation doesn’t go the way he hopes, litigation.
“What business does government have… in the business of religion?" he asks. "It has nothing to do [with religion] and it should be out of it."
This prayer request picks up after Stevens' previous airing of grievances about the lack of separation of church and state: He installed a Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in the rotunda of the capitol building in Tallahassee. That came after a nativity scene was set up in the building.
Deerfield Beach has not yet given Stevens an official answer. He said “there was a giant whooshing sound as if they were a turtle pulling their head back into their shell,” when he talked to some people at City Hall. He took that as a "no comment."
The prayer might need some polishing, but Stevens is determined. If the city rejects his request, he plans to fight the city in court.
“We’ve got prayer all the time in front of our meetings. How is it helping?" he asks. "Deerfield Beach kind of sucks. So what good is prayer? I don’t see the benefit.”