City Won’t Make Deal With the Devil: Ends Religious Invocations

By: Sharon Aron Baron

The City of Coral Springs has decided it would rather end all religious invocations rather than fight potential legal action by denying one religion – or quasi religions over another to lead the prayer before City Commission meetings.

Today, writer and activist Chaz Stevens informed us that the City sent him an email after their workshop meeting telling him that as of October 1, there will be no more invocations in Coral Springs

He contacted the City back in June asking to lead a Satanic prayer, and was told there was availability, but before they could schedule him, they were reviewing their policy on speakers and would keep him updated. Several months later, he contacted Mayor Skip Campbell asking why he wasn’t slated to speak after his first request back in June, even though there were slots available.  Campbell wrote back, “Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Our City attorney is researching the issue and has not given his opinion yet.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last May that prayer is allowed at City and County commission meetings provided it applies to all religions –  or quasi-religions.

Attorney Andrew L. Seidel from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a terse letter to the city alerting them to the unconstitutionality of their policy regarding invocations before their meetings and threatened legal action.

“It’s an infringement on my constitutional rights. It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous,” Stevens said about not being able to have his three minutes.

Dropping their religious invocations last May in Deerfield Beach, Stevens is happy that another City has ended this practice.

“If I didn’t break my femur fighting in the ring, I’d be up doing a dance now,” said Stevens. “They [Coral Springs] are a bully that have the ball, and when you piss them off they go home. They’re not sharing and they’re controlling the message when it comes to the message of spiritually.”

Next up for Stevens: religious invocations in the cities of Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee.

Said Stevens about cities that lead their meetings with religious prayer, “It’s, “freedom of religion, as long as it’s my religion.”