Pagan Prayer During Florida Commission Meeting Forces Commissioner to Walk Out

A Florida commissioner stormed out of a meeting after a man was allowed to give a pagan invocation prior to the meeting.

David Suhor, an agnostic pagan pantheist, was allowed to recite a pagan song prior to the Escambia County Commission meeting last week, which prompted Commissioner Wilson Robertson to walk out and call the invocation "satanic."

"People may not realize it," Robertson said via WEAR. "But when we invite someone, a minister, to pray, they are praying for the county commissioners, for us to make wise decisions, and I'm just not going to have a pagan or satanic minister pray for me."

See also: Satanic Temple to Distribute Pamphlets to Florida Schools

The invocation was part of the county's practice of allowing prayers to be delivered before meetings start, per a law saying that prayers spoken before government meetings should include all religions.

Of course, not everyone is thrilled when a non-Christian minister steps up to give the prayer.

Before the commission meeting, Suhor was met with resistance from the School Board, which refused his request to give a pagan invocation before one of its meetings.

The debate spilled over onto the internet, where Suhor and School Board member Jeff Bergosh took their war of words to their personal blogs.

On his blog, Bergosh wrote:

I mean, should the majority of persons in attendance at one of our meetings really have to listen to a satanic verse? What if a "Witch Doctor" comes to the podium with a full-on costume, chicken-feet, a voodoo doll and other associated over-the-top regalia? It could easily get out of hand, so far as I can tell....(I wonder what our local media would say about this?)

And I won't stay and listen if someone tries to be disrespectful like that.

Suhor answered by writing, "the longer I am delayed, the more obscure I'll make my prayer when they finally allow it. Right now they are Pagan-level cooperation. More rejection and delays and I'll go to FSM. If they keep obstructing, I go Satanic."

Following his commission invocation, Suhor wrote on his blog:

I thought the Pagan invocation was a beautiful way to summon blessings upon our commissioners. Sorry if they didn't get it. Maybe you know how non-Christians feel now.

"I think they should not be offering a prayer or sponsoring a prayer of any particular religion," Suhor told WEAR. "Instead, I think they should have a more exclusive moment of silence which allows anyone to pray according to their own conscience."

You can watch Suhor's invocation below.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph