North Lauderdale suspends its opening invocation as opening prayer to ‘Satan’ proposed
God Bless America - Church

God Bless America
A Broward County city lands in the crosshairs of free speech activist Chaz Stevens.

​​The North Lauderdale City Commission suspended its customary invocation, as a South Florida free speech activist requested equal time for his way of opening a government meeting: “Hail Satan.”

Chaz Stevens’ project, which he calls “Satan or Silence,” is aimed at stamping religion out of all government proceedings, even as reports say state trainers are telling teachers the nation’s founders were not for a strict separation of church and state.

North Lauderdale city leaders, however, do not appear eager to argue the point. Stevens, a Deerfield Beach resident, sent his request to lead the invocation June 28 and City Manager Michael Sargis responded Monday.

“As for the invocation request, at this time we will be halting all invocations at Commission Meetings until the Commission has time to workshop the item and come up with a satisfactory solution that complies with Federal Law,” Sargis wrote to Stevens.

Stevens went national earlier this year with another pushback against what he sees as a creeping problem. He petitioned school districts throughout the state to ban the Bible because of all its R-rated content and discomfort it might cause, in view of new, Gov. Ron DeSantis-backed legislation that requires more review of school materials and restricts certain instruction. The laws went into effect July 1.

Stevens, known for other wacky antics such as erecting a Festivus pole in the state Capitol Complex’s Free Speech Zone, has also bedeviled Commissions throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties since 2014. In the face of his request to lead the opening invocation, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach and Hallandale Beach have dropped the practice. He said he’s still working on meeting the voluminous requirements Pompano Beach laid out after he made his request to them.

At the June 28 North Lauderdale City Commission meeting, Mayor Ana Ziade gave the invocation.

“Heavenly Father, we look to you and thank you for all the blessings you’ve given us,” she begins.

Stevens said it’s not that he really wants to pose as the Prince of Darkness on the dais.

“I choose to wrap myself not in an American flag but our constitutional values,” he said. “What is American, for me, is it’s equal protection under the law, it’s the same for everyone. If someone wants to say, ‘Jesus H. Christ’ on the dais, I want to say ‘Hail Satan.’”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


5 comments

  • Don Key

    July 12, 2022 at 5:55 am

    Nothing in legitimate political protest requires you to make an ass out of yourself. It’s rather the other way around. People who hanker to make asses out of themselves find an outlet in political protests.

  • Yeah

    July 13, 2022 at 11:53 am

    That is kinda bad Jesus died and got crushed by his chain of thought.
    So this guy wants to say shut up or die no free will of thoughts or speech

  • Yeah

    July 13, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    Satén means break policy
    So i f we rob something means we free so vote satén

  • Yeah

    July 13, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    Tell Chaz by the way that saten that comes to visit don’t like you anyway

  • marylou

    July 14, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Protesting needs to be done everywhere, every day, until The Separation of Church and State Wall is rebuilt. Catholic Ron’s imposition of his religion, and his indoctrination of schoolkids needs to be stopped.

Comments are closed.


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