Man to sue Lake County after satanic prayer denied

    A man from South Florida is suing Lake County after commissioners denied his request to give a satanic invocation at a commission meeting.

    And we've learned the county is being backed by the Liberty Counsel....the same group that defended a Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

    That's a point that doesn't go unnoticed by the man behind the lawsuit--Chaz Stevens.

     In a phone interview he told Fox 35's Tracy Jacim he finds it ironic the group would defend her religious beliefs yet defend Lake County as they, he says, deny him his right to his religious beliefs.

      But commissioners and the Counsel see it all very differently.

    Stevens' attorneys drafted his intent to sue filed by software employee and now freedom of religion advocate Chad Stevens.

     Stevens filed a request to give a Satanic invocation at a Lake County Commission meeting. That request elicited a resounding 'no'.

       By phone Stevens said, "This was the perfect place to make a stand and we hit a bulls-eye because look at the reaction."

     County commissioners said they can no longer  talk much about the situation because it's in litigation, but Commissioner Sean Parks wrote,  "Lake County requires an invocation to be lead by a resident of Lake County.  Mr. Stevens is not a resident of Lake County so was denied."

      But Stevens told me a statement by County Commission Chairman Jimmy Connor before the lawsuit was filed is really egging him on.

     Connor had said in an earlier interview, "As long as I'm Chairman, I assure you that he will not be giving the invocation in a Lake County Commission meeting. I can assure you I will not support eliminating prayer just because he wants to be disruptive."

       "The fact that no one--even someone that lives in the county--will be allowed to give a satanic invocation is clearly inflammatory and discriminatory," Stevens said.

      We spoke to Senior Litigation Attorney Roger Gannam with the Liberty Counsel...the group defending Lake County's denial.

      He said, "His whole purpose in asking to offer a Satanic invocation in Lake Cty. is to be disruptive and ensure no he has the opportunity to pray before Lake County meetings.  We have an interest in protecting the religious liberty of all the citizens in Lake County who have been allowed to offer prayers up to this point."

      At this point, Stevens is footing his own legal bill...he started a funding site and says a couple hundred dollars have come in.

     The Liberty Counsel is representing Lake County free of charge at this point.

      Stevens told me he's in discussion with a lawyer about actually moving to Lake County to help his case.

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