Satanic Temple Delivers Invocation for Far Right Ottawa County

County commissioners in Ottawa County, Michigan, enjoyed the First Amendment rights of the Satanic Temple of West Michigan, as “Luis Cypher” delivered an invocation with protesters chanting, singing and praying nearby.

Bendr Bones, co-head of The Satanic Temple of West Michigan, said he thought the invocation went well despite the large protest.

After a local pastor who supports LGBTQ rights complained he was twice not chosen as an invocation speaker, Ottawa County changed rules to allow a simple sign-up sheet for meeting invocations. That pastor filed a lawsuit, still ongoing, claiming that Chairman Joe Moss used his position to “endorse a particular set of religious beliefs and exclude a particular set of religious beliefs.” 

Chairman Moss said he believed that adopting the new invocation policy promotes free speech. He also said he’s heard from several pastors who support the change, even if groups such as The Satanic Temple of West Michigan are allowed to speak.

Cypher, minister of Satan and lifelong resident of Ottawa County, gave an invocation which, including an introductory statement, lasted about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. He started by offering a “loving embrace” to residents. One audience member wore a mask of Donald Trump.

The foyer was standing room only, filled with protesters.

One board member was handing out cookies with bible verses on them. Another resident came to the meeting wearing a hat that said “Make America Godly Again.”

On the Agenda of the Meeting

Commissioners approved a resolution “to promote life” in an 8-2 vote.

The resolution that passed “encourages individuals and communities to promote life, support women in making a choice for life, protect the preborn, provide resources for expectant mothers, and support organizations, which assist mothers and fathers with life affirming decisions in unplanned pregnancies, and adopt and foster children, ensuring every child is valued, loved and protected.”

  • Last week’s version of the resolution would have prohibited any county staff or resources from being allocated to provide for an abortion “including the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug or any other substance or device, to intentionally kill an unborn child.”
  • It also prohibited county staff or resources from being “allocated for transportation to abortion providers for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.”

The No Votes

“This resolution has no business being on our agenda,” said Commissioner Bergman, who worried it could spur legal action against the county.

Commissioner Zylstra said he didn’t want to vote yes on something that would “further split the community.”

Also seen at the meeting were protests against the newest version of MI-GOP leadership, Pete Hoekstra, who replaced the nutjob Kristina Karamo, who was promoted by Chairman Moss.

MLive, WOOD-TV, Holland Sentinel