Satan could be coming to your city's commission meeting very soon. Atheist and blogger Chaz Stevens was recently given the go-ahead by Lake Worth to lead a Satanic invocation before one of their upcoming meetings. And, with his foot firmly in the proverbial door, Stevens is looking to knock down the entire proverbial building.
Buoyed by Lake Worth's giving him a slot to give his invocation, Stevens is set on getting one done in just about every city throughout the Tri-County area, and possibly beyond.
"Depending on the responses," Stevens tells New Times, "if we get enough cites giving me the go-ahead, I'll probably franchise it with places in northern Florida, if anybody wants to help join the cause."
Stevens, who runs the political blog MyActsOfSedition.com, says he was inspired by the recent events in Lake Worth when that city's mayor and a handful of commissioners walked out before atheist Preston Smith gave his invocation, after the city gave him permission to do so.
Stevens sent his own request for a Satanic invocation and was accepted. Though the schedule of when he'll do it is pending, it moved Stevens to begin a movement to get one done in every city.
"As everything we do around here, there's zero planning," Stevens says. "It's truly grass roots."
Stevens has already sent off emails to every major city's clerks requesting an invocation slot. He has a spread sheet keeping track of responses, and is determined to make a show of things for every city that lets him in.
Stevens says he plans on bringing a security detail made up entirely of ex-president impersonators. "I'm trying to get maybe a Bill Clinton impersonator, or George W. Bush," he says. Stevens is also looking to hire a Mariachi band to play "La Bamba" in the background as he gives his invocation.
"Can you think of a better song than that for an invocation?" he asks.
Stevens, who is best known as the man who puts up a Festivus Pole made of beer cans as a holiday display in the Florida Capitol Rotunda, says his ultimate goal is to shine a light on what he says is a ridiculous practice for commission meetings.
He's dubbed his project "Satan or Silence."
"The idea here is to make it so utterly fucking ridiculous," he says. "As a Satanic atheist, it's my job to mock, ridicule, and deride the absurdity of having anyone give an invocation to any god at all."
Stevens says that commission meetings are not a place for invocations. That no one should be forced to hear a prayer to a god they don't worship.
"You have someone giving an invocation to their god, but what about the Jewish people in the room? What about their god? Or the Muslims?"
And so far, it seems like it might be making some head way.
After getting an email giving him the go-ahead to proceed with his invocation by the City of Lake Worth, Stevens received an email saying the city was shutting down the allowing of invocations in January.
"There will be one final invocation given by the Mayor, and then that's it," Stevens says. "They're not having any more invocations from that point on."
So Stevens won't be giving his invocation in Lake Worth after all, which is the entire point.
"Hey, Satan shut them down," he says.
Though he has described himself in the past as first-and-foremost an atheist, Stevens sent in his request first to the city manager of Lake Worth "to give a Satanic, yes Satan, invocation at an upcoming City Commission meeting. Everyone is welcome to sing along, or as is the recent case when Miami atheist activist Preston Smith gave the invocation, like Elvis, they can leave the building."
He says he then sent out 38 emails to cities in Palm Beach, and another 30 or so to Miami. He shared his email request with New Times, which reads:
Dear City Clerk in Martin County;
My name is Chaz Stevens, father of the Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus Pole.
I'd like to be placed in rotation to give a Satanic invocation at an upcoming Commission meeting.
Kindly acknowledge receipt of this email and please forward a copy to the City Attorney for review.
Oh, and have a good day.
Chaz Stevens, Genius MyActsOfSedition.com
So far, he hasn't gotten accepted outside of Lake Worth, but it's still early in the process.
Stevens has yet to write up the entire invocation but shared the opening statement with New Times:
Ladies and gentleman, please bow your heads in respect to all of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Christmas. I'm also trying to work this in ... "Satan and I don't believe in keeping Christ in Christmas, nor do we, like certain Catholic priests, believe in keeping the rape in rapists."