An Alaskan local government meeting became the focus on protests after a member of the Satanic Temple praised Satan in the meeting’s opening prayer.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly had formerly restricted invocations to certain groups. In October, the Alaska Supreme Court threw out that policy as a violation of the state Constitution, requiring that the Borough Assembly open up the process to everyone.
Thus on Tuesday, Satanic Temple member Iris Fontana spoke before the council as it met in the community of Soldotna, south of Anchorage. She urged everyone in attendance to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
“Let us demand that humans be judged for their actions,” she said, according to the Peninsula Clarion. “That which will not bend, must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared as demise. Let us cast aside our differences to use reason, logic, science and compassion to create solutions for the greater good for our community.”
Then came her closing. “It is done, hail Satan,” she said.
Assembly members Norm Blakeley and Paul Fischer, with Chief of Staff James Baisden and Mayor Charlie Pierce and some members of the public walked out in protest.
“Are immorality, corruption, and vice what we expect our public officials to promote? Evil is being accepted by the public as Satanic actions like these break the barriers of horror we still have of evil,” the petition said.
About 40 people protested outside the meeting. They carried signs that read, “Reject Satan and his works” and “Know Jesus and his love.”
William Siebenmorgen, who said he came to Alaska from Pennsylvania to take part in the protest, was among the protesters.
“These are just a few of the instances where God has defeated Satan. Whatever the results of the June 18 Rally of Reparation, God will be pleased with our public prayers of reparation. We want God’s blessings on America, not Satan’s curses. Lucifer is the eternal loser. Let’s keep him out,” he said, according to KSRM
During the public comments portion of the meeting, two local residents offered Christian prayers in response to Fontana’s prayer.
Barrett Fletcher, who is the pastor of a congregation he has named the First Lower Peninsula Congregation of Pastafarians, said invocations should be scrapped altogether and promised his would also rile residents.
“I’m sure when I give the invocation in Homer in September, there will be people that are offended by the idea of a creator of the universe, the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, being invoked,” Fletcher said.
Others said on Twitter that this was a step too far in the wrong direction.
So after the Alaska Supreme Court sided with the ACLU to say that #prayers at certain public meetings did not have to be led by members of a recognized church, a woman lead a prayer that ended with, “Hail #Satan!“
There are reasons for policies that safeguard faith in #God!
— Fr. Frank Pavone ?? (@frfrankpavone) June 21, 2019
“The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things,” the temple’s website stated.
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