Saturday, December 13, 2014

Atheists Commandeer Invocations: Fla. City Council

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that prayers in Jesus' name are constitutional at government meetings, local atheists in Lake Worth, Florida are filling the allotted invocation slots of the City Commission meetings with prayers to Zeus, Krishna and Thor along with refrains of “Satan conquers! Satan reigns! Satan commands!”
"We want to make a circus out of it. We want to make a fiasco out of it, we want to make it so freaking, utterly ridiculous that they rethink this [and stop ALL invocations]."
-- Chaz Stevens, resident/atheist
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Ohio Councilman Won't Stop Praying in Jesus' Name

Saginaw, Michigan Ignores Atheist Threats Against Prayer

FDR's D-Day Prayer is Un-American, Say Atheists

Shoppers' Prayers Forbidden at Georgia Mall

Sheriff Defies ACLU: July 4th Prayer in Louisiana

Texas Mayor Declares 2014 as the 'Year of the Bible'

Also read Public Prayer: Poll Shows Vast Majority of Americans Want it

-- From "Lake Worth becomes battleground for separation of church and state debate" by Charlie Keegan, WPTV-TV5 (West Palm Beach, FL) 12/11/14

According to emails from the city clerk, [self-proclaimed atheist, Preston] Smith put in his request to speak this summer, hinting he would sue if not allowed. He told us over the phone his goal is to get local governments to stop praying before public meetings.

"I don't want these guys to pray. I want these guys to study, I want these guys to do their homework," said [Chaz] Stevens, who is an atheist, but chose to do a satanic prayer to get more attention.

He lives in Deerfield Beach, but calls Lake Worth the "battleground." He said the city of Deerfield Beach continues to put off his request for a satanic prayer in from of that city council.

Smith said he chose to lead an invocation in Lake Worth because it's closest to where he lives. He also put in a request to lead the invocation at a Palm Beach County commissioners meeting, but was told only county commissioners lead the invocation at those meetings.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Mayor walks out on atheist, says religious beliefs aren't to blame" by Whitney Burbank, WPBF-TV25 (West Palm Beach, FL) 12/10/14

[Lake Worth Mayor Pam] Triolo said a tweet from earlier this year associated with a Preston Smith Twitter account motivated her to walk out [on Smith's invocation]. She said a constituent alerted her to the tweet before the meeting. She called the post, which deals with rape, dark and disturbing.

During the Dec. 2 meeting, Smith’s message was clear. He ended the invocation urging others to "embrace secular-based morality and do good for goodness sake."

Quakers and Wiccans have led invocations at Lake Worth City Hall in the past, she said. Anyone with a positive message is welcome -- all they have to do is sign up at the Clerk’s Office, she said

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Atheist invocations challenge prayer at government meetings" by Chris Persaud, The Palm Beach Post 12/12/14

“It’s a vehicle to show separation of church and state; equal protection for all religions,” Stevens said. “My whole point here is to really, really irritate the religious right.”

The atheist, Preston Smith, had waited six months for his moment. When the commissioners walked out, he muttered “Duly noted” and went into his invocation with only one commissioner remaining.

Smith’s invocation mentioned Allah, Satan, Zeus, Jesus, Krishna and Thor, ending with “let us, above all, love one another, not to obtain mythical rewards for ourselves now, hereafter, or based on superstitious threats of eternal damnation, but rather, embrace secular-based principles of morality – and do good for goodness’ sake.”

Smith, of Lantana, said he did his invocation as part of a contest sponsored by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Atheists, Liberals Lament Recent Supreme Court Religious Liberty Rulings including the ruling that Christians Are Free to Pray in Jesus' Name at Government Meetings

In addition, read President Obama Provokes Second 'In God We Trust' Movement