David Suhor, a member of the West Florida Chapter of The Satanic Temple, was physically removed from a Pensacola, Florida utilities meeting after trying to pray before the meeting was called to order. Suhor was attending a meeting of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA), which provides sanitation services to the Pensacola area.
In the video, Suhor attempts to deliver a Luciferian prayer before he is interrupted by one of the members of the ECUA board.
“Sir, you are disrupting,” one of the ECUA members says to to Suhor. Prior to Suhor beginning his practice of religion in a public area, a Christian prayer had taken place.
Suhor then begins to chant the Hare Krishna, a mantra which was made popular by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a school of Hinduism.
Eventually, Suhor is forced by security to leave the room after again interrupting the meeting before it is called to order as a woman once again tries to invoke a Christian prayer.
Suhor writes his take about the events on his Facebook page:
In March 2015, I spoke at the Public Forum after being denied the chance to give an invocation there. The invocations are given by board members (which represents an explicit endorsement of the religious viewpoint expressed). They rotate giving a generic prayer to one god, not mentioning him by name. Non-theists and multi-theists viewpoints are excluded. Also, ECUA is not a legislative board, so it has no right to hold prayers under Galloway. Anyway, the very next month, they moved the Invocation to BEFORE the Call to Order (apparently at their attorney’s suggestion), thus making it unofficial and not part of the meeting. ECUA’s Citizens Action Committee does the same thing.
Today, I prayed, chanting Hare Krishna, for 5-7 minutes before the meeting with no problem. Still before the Call to Order, (but on the Agenda), they began their own prayer over the sound system. I stood and delivered with my own, different invocation. They asked me to stop. I declined, saying the meeting had not been called to order and it was my right to pray or speak until it did. They brought in a security guard. He asked me to leave. I refused. He manhandled me. I still stood firm. He threatened to pepper spray me, but didn’t. I offered to be silent if they called the meeting to order. They did and recessed and I sat down. They started their prayer again. So I started chanting again. When asked, the attorney said I was disturbing the meeting. I said the meeting had not started and it was my right to pray or speak as I wished. The guard and another eventually removed me physically. He would not let me back in to speak at the Public Forum, so I left before the sheriffs were to arrive.
So basically, it was fine for me to say my invocations/prayers BEFORE the meeting… until they wanted to say their own. Then I was silenced and physically removed. Again, all this was BEFORE the meeting actually began – a choice they made in a ruse to avoid having an ‘official’ prayer. This tells me they know that official, exclusive prayers (by elected officials alone) are illegal. So they tried to slip it in as ‘unofficial’. I called them on it and they had me assaulted and removed for praying and ‘disturbing the meeting’ – which had not yet started. Apparently, religious freedom belongs to them, but not to me.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, Suhor says he considers his removal “an assault and a violation of his civil rights.”