ABC News’ Linsey Davis speaks with stunt activist Chaz Stevens about his efforts to ban the Bible across at least 63 Florida school districts to prevent “2,000-year-old ethics” from being taught.
By Kevin Deutsch
A challenge to a church advertisement at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ended in victory Monday for Broward County political activist Chaz Stevens.
Stevens, who uses satire to advocate for the separation of church and state, had contacted the school’s principal in October asking that a banner advertisement for his “Church of Satanology” be included among the ads affixed to the school’s fence.
One of the banners on the school’s fence advertised Calvary Chapel Parkland, displaying the chapel’s service times and declaring the house of worship a “Proud Supporter of MSD High School.”
“Considering that the school has accepted a banner from one religious group, I’m hoping our banner will be seen in the same light, especially given that the government emphasizes no favoritism,” Stevens wrote in an email to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Principal Michelle Kefford on Oct. 2.
Stevens, an atheist, explained that he had passed the school’s campus “and couldn’t help but notice the Calvary Church banner.”
“I remember you often emphasize equal rights and respect for everyone at MSD,” he said in his email. “In that spirit, I was wondering if my church could also get a spot on the school fence? We’ve attached an artwork of our banner. We’re pretty passionate about football, so this would be a cool way to cheer on the Eagles.”
Stevens’ banner satirically referred to the “Ministry of Chaz the Bropostle,” declaring that “Satan is Here for the Pick Sixes.”
Stevens didn’t hear back from Kefford regarding his request, so on Oct. 31, he forwarded his email to Broward County School Board Member Nora Rupert. Rupert had also been copied on his original email to Kefford.
Next, Stevens was referred to another school board member. He contacted a school district staffer about his request but didn’t hear back.
After Parkland Talk sought comment from Broward County Public Schools about the Calvary Chapel Parkland advertisement, BCPS Director of Mass Media and Community Relations Keyla Concepción told us in an email Monday:
“Thank you for bringing this question to our attention. Based on the district’s advertising policy, the banner has been removed.”
The district’s policy states that “facilities owned or leased by the School Board shall not be used for advertising or otherwise promoting the interests of any commercial, religious, political or other non-district agency or organization except as permitted through Board approved agreements, School Board policies or State Statutes.”
The policy also states that signage must not be “sectarian in nature.”
Stevens’s proposed “Church of Satanology” advertisement was his latest effort in a colorful political activism and advocacy career. He is also an entrepreneur, artist, and CEO of ESADoggy, which helps people obtain Emotional Support Animal letters.
A former Deerfield Beach Housing Authority commissioner, Stevens has previously brought down politicians and waged numerous high-profile advocacy campaigns highlighting First Amendment issues and the improper mixing of religion with government, violating the legal separation of church and state.
Stevens’ advocacy has included placing Festivus poles in Florida cities and multiple state capitols, including in the capitol rotunda in Tallahassee. His campaign to recite Satanic invocations at local government meetings that began with religious prayers led to governments ending the practice in multiple municipalities, including Coral Springs.
In 2015, Coral Springs decided it would rather end all religious invocations than fight potential legal action by denying one religion or quasi-religion – in Stevens’ case, Satanism– over another.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that prayer is allowed at city and county commission meetings, provided it applies to all religions or quasi-religions.
- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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