Fun times with ceremonial prayer

Thanks to commenter Timothy, I saw the video below of what happened at the meeting of the Pensacola city council in Florida when a Satanist gave the opening invocation, taking advantage of the US Supreme Court ruling that if government agencies are going to allow ceremonial opening prayers, then they cannot favor or discriminate against any single group. (You may have to turn on the sound by clicking the icon at the bottom right.)

I am not familiar with Satanist rituals but I could not help but suspect that David Suhor of the local Satanic Temple was deliberately putting on a show for the audience, complete with black cloak and hood, singing a full-throated invocation accompanied by elaborate gestures as if he were some medieval monk conducting a Catholic mass, except that the words were secular. It was hilarious. Beats the usual boring old invocations any day.

As this local TV news report says, some Christians went nuts.

Parishioners with the United Methodist Church of Pace staged outside city hall ready to pray, while hundreds filled the seats inside.

David Suhor, co-founder of the local chapter of the Satanic Temple approached the podium, causing the crowd to stand and begin the Lord’s Prayer.

Council President Charles Bare called order and told the crowd they had to be quiet or they would have to leave. Pensacola Police escorted numerous people out.

“If you deviate away from what I feel is proper invocation speech, I will have you removed from the chamber,” Bare ordered.

“I would rather be in a room than let darkness sit here by itself,” one man in the audience said.
Once order was regained, Suhor began his invocation. Many continued to pray. Councilmember Gerald Wingate walked out.

You should listen to the two speakers after the invocation ended. How offended they are that they had to hear the invocations by a speaker of another religion and yet they cannot comprehend that people who are not Christians feel similarly when they are forced to listen to Christian prayers at secular events.


  1. jrkrideau says

    That tie that the city council president is wearing is a bit over the top is it not? I wonder what his underwear looks like.

    I did not find Suhor’s invocation all that impressive and I suspect the hooded cloak owes more to “The Wizard of Oz” than ‘satanic’ ritual but that idiots following seemed irrational. Most of their words seemed to support Suhor’s presence.

    Perhaps the council could have eased into “non-traditional” rites with a druid or worshipper of Odin? Or the tasteful sacrifice of a small ram to Zeus, followed by a tasty BBQ after the meeting?

  2. sonofrojblake says

    This year’s runner up for funniest joke at the Edinburgh Fringe seems appropriate here. Alexei Sayle:

    -- I’ve given up asking rhetorical questions. What’s the point?

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