Florida boards swap prayer for silence

FFRF welcomes the news that two Florida cities, Coral Springs and Deerfield Beach, have recently dropped their invocations at city meetings in favor of a moment of silence. In both cases, FFRF sent letters to back up local activist Chaz Stevens, who started a Satanist church in Deerfield Beach and petitioned the cities to let him lead a Satanist prayer.

Noting that the Supreme Court decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway requires cities to allow prayer from all faiths or no faith, Coral Beach Mayor Skip Campbell said, “I don’t think our citizens would be in favor of Satanic invocations before City Commission meetings.”

The Deerfield Beach City Commission also dropped prayer after Stevens asked to deliver an invocation. Commissioner Gloria Battle threatened to leave if Stevens was permitted to give his invocation.

“We are elected to serve the public, atheists, Satanists, Jewish, everyone,” said Commissioner Joe Miller. “There are many traditions in the early years of our city that are not a great precedent for how to move forward in a multicultural society.”

Stevens has his sights set on other Florida cities’ invocations, including Pompano Beach.
FFRF, Americans United and the ACLU of Florida, are currently involved in a lawsuit against another Florida government body, the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, which excludes nonbelievers from offering invocations.

Freedom From Religion Foundation