A South Florida man who once built a ‘Festivus pole’ in protest of Christian nativity displays is threatening to sue Lake County this week if officials pray during a commission meeting but don’t allow him to give a satanic invocation.
Chaz Stevens, a self-described atheist, tells local news outlets his request is part of his ‘Satan or Silence Project’.
His goal is to persuade elected officials to either drop prayers before meetings or allow him to lead a satanic prayer.
Protest: Atheist Chaz Stevens, pictured in December 2013, assembles his Festivus pole out of beer cans in the rotunda of the Florida Capitol in protest of religious nativity displays. Most recently, Stevens tried to hold a Satanic prayer before a county meeting to protest the marriage between prayer and politics
Commission chairman Jimmy Conner says he won’t allow the request.
‘I’ve made the decision that he’s not coming while I’m chairman, period,’ Conner said.
In the past, Stevens has helped sway several cities to have a moment of silence before meetings instead of a prayer.
He says he will consider filing a lawsuit if Lake County denies his request.
Stevens told News 9 that the satanic invocation would, ‘reflect values long part of the nation’s heritage and be solemn and respectful in tone’.
‘It’ll cost the taxpayers a bunch of money when we sue them and they lose in court. What they’re doing is discriminatory and flies in the face of what the U.S. government wants,’ Stevens said.
Conner says he’ll rally churches to raise money for a defense, should he need to. He has no plans to forgo the invocation.
Resistant: ‘You see this cross on my lapel? I didn’t put it on there this morning. It’s something that’s there anytime I have this suit on,’ said commission chairman Jimmy Conner
‘You see this cross on my lapel? I didn’t put it on there this morning. It’s something that’s there anytime I have this suit on,’ said Conner.
Connor went on to criticize the liberal courts and accused them of not understanding what the founders fathers meant for the country to be.
‘No thanks to all the liberal courts in this country, including the Supreme Court, who have no idea what the founding fathers intended for our country to be,’ said Conner.
This is not the first time, Stevens, who is also a gay rights and human rights activist, has asked to lead a satanic prayer.
Legal action: Chaz Stevens, a self-described atheist, is threatening to sue Lake County if officials pray during a commission meeting but don’t allow him to give a satanic invocation
‘I just want equal billing. We allow various religious nutjobs to give a prayer. They pray to Jesus who is make-believe, god who is make-believe, why not Satan who is make-believe? Why discriminate against one make-believe god over another? Satan and I are being circumvented. The city of Deerfield Beach has once again declared war on religion – and this time it’s Satanism,’ Connor told The Huffington Post.
The Satanic Temple is a satirical group, also created by the atheists, that opposes religious displays and activity on government property and public schools.
Stevens has protested displaying nativity scenes during Christmas time and in 2013 built his own ‘satantic display’ which is a Festivus pole made from beer cans.
The six-foot Festivus pole was in tribute to a fake holiday created on the TV show Seinfeld that satirizes the commercialism of Christmas and a display by the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, which mocks beliefs that a god created the universe and argues instead that the universe was created by a plate of pasta and meatballs.