It was only a matter of time, really.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government meetings are allowed to open with prayer -- even though currently in this country, the vast majority of such prayers are geared toward Christianity. The case was prompted in Greece, New York, where ministers are often invited to say opening words at public meetings. Of 120 meetings, only four opening prayers were non-Christian.
It only took four days since the court's ruling for a self-described Satanist to ask to open a meeting with a plea to his god.
Chaz Stevens, an activist and longtime annoyance to elected officials -- the same man who last Christmas successfully installed his "Festivus Pole" made of Pabst beer cans in the rotunda of the Florida State Capitol -- has written to the City of Deerfield Beach, asking that he be allowed to open a meeting with a Satanic prayer.
Asked about his change of religion, Stevens says, "At Christmas, I was a Pabstfestidian. It's legitimate -- it's based in as much reality as the Catholics. But unlike Catholic priests, we don't rape little boys."
He said he converted to Satanism because "Satan is a cool dude. Think of all the people he's in charge of. Do you want to be stuck listening to harp music in the afterlife? Hell no. I want to drink beer and hang with hookers."
In all seriousness, he says, "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."
City attorney Andrew Maurodis had no comment yesterday afternoon.
Here's the full text of Stevens' letter:
Dear City of Deerfield Beach;
With the recent US Supreme Court ruling allowing "prayer before Commission meetings" and seeking the rights granted to others, I hereby am requesting I be allowed to open a Commission meeting praying for my God, my divine spirit, my Dude in Charge.
Be advised, I am a Satanist.
Let me know when this is good for you.
Chaz Stevens, Calling in from Ring 6 of Dante's Inferno