By: Sharon Aron Baron
One organization is threatening legal action if the City of Coral Springs doesn’t allow an activist to lead a Satanic invocation, or asks them to stop having religious invocations altogether before their City Commission meetings.
This happened on Thursday after we wrote about activist Chaz Stevens who sent us an email correspondence with 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. “
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.
“We understand that the City Commission of the City of Coral Springs has permitted sectarian religious invocations at their meetings, but has refused to allow local citizen Chaz Stevens to deliver an invocation, even though there were slots available for him to deliver an invocation, because he adhered to an un popular religion, Satanism.
The letter went on to say that this practice flies in the face of the Supreme Court decision Greece, NY v Galloway. Seidel wrote,” If the Commission truly believes that Satanist invocations will create fear and unrest in their community, the solution is to stop having the invocations. Greece does not require the Commission to allow invocations. All this could be avoided and taxpayer dollars saved, if the Commission were to simply get down to the business of doing its job, rather than first experimenting with the dangerous mix of religion and government.”
Seidel brought up Brevard County’s recent resolution that prevented atheists, agnostics, and non-believers from delivering invocations before County Commission meetings and now they are having to defend their policy in federal court in a lawsuit filed by the FFRF, the ACLU of Florida and Americans United.
The FFRF asks that the city respond in writing with its plan to ensure that people of any or no religion are allowed to give invocations.