Satanic prayer in Alaskan council meeting offends assembly members.

On Tuesday, Iris Fontana, a member of the Satanic Temple Organization, presented an opening prayer to Lucifer himself.

This came about as a result of a decision of the local government of Kenai Borough to welcome other faiths to their assembly. The assembly invocation is usually reserved for pastors, but following the new decree (which is on a first come first served basis), Iris Fontana was given the chance to represent her faith in front of the Assembly.

Her prayer was as follows:

“Let us stand now, unbowed and unfettered by arcane doctrines born of fearful minds in darkened times. Let us embrace the Luciferian impulse to eat of the tree of knowledge and dissipate our blissful and comforting delusions of old. Let us demand that individuals be judged for their concrete actions, not their fealty to arbitrary social norms and illusory categorizations. Let us reason our solutions with agnosticism in all things, holding fast only to that which is demonstrably true.

Let us stand firm against any and all arbitrary authority that threatens the personal sovereignty of all or one. That which will not bend must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared its demise. It is done. Hail Satan. Thank you.

While assembly members had been reminded of their right not to take part in the opening ritual, this prayer undoubtedly caused ripples and a lot of controversy when it was posted on the Kenai Peninsula Borough website.

The local council meeting which was to discuss a $138,000 paving project and the changing of a hospital boundary was overshadowed by the opening prayer that was usually the preserve of a local group of pastors. Assemblyman Dale Bagley had this to say when speaking to Radio Kenai, “I appreciate what the Assembly President’s doing with the prayer issue and trying to be fair, but I find it ironic that the prayer from the atheist wasn’t really about doing good and making good decisions.” He also went ahead to describe the incident as “irritating.”

It is important to note that while some types of Satanism focus on hierarchies and authoritarianism, the Satanic Temple “eschews rigid, centralized authority” and does not believe in supernaturalism. Their website states they do not promote evil or belief in things supernatural. “The Satanic Temple holds to the basic premise that undue suffering is bad, and that which reduces suffering is good. We do not believe in symbolic “evil.” We embrace blasphemy as a legitimate expression of personal independence from counter-productive traditional norms.”

The president of the assembly, Blaine Gilman had this to say about the situation, “I think it’s more of a political strategy to try to force the invocation to be removed from the Assembly. Personally, I found it sort of offensive, the Satanic Temple lady who was speaking there, but even if I find it personally offensive, it’s still important to protect the right to freedom of speech and the right for religion.”

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