A Florida man and self-described “militant atheist” used a Satanic cross to spark a culture war in a nearby town.
But he’s just getting started.
After seeing a nativity and menorah put up in front of city hall during the holidays, activist atheist Chaz Stevens decided to put up his own symbol in front ofHallandale Beach City Hall. Stevens put up an upside down black cross in front of city hall that reads, “In Chaz We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.” The sign, which lights up in red after dark, has drawn outrage. One Christian already answered by putting up a regular cross next to it.
“I requested that In Satan We Trust be added … citing my rights under Florida’s RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act),” Stevens told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “That request has been ignored, so I decided a black upside down cross is the next best thing to get Satan on taxpayer owned property. Trolling accomplished.”
Chaz Stevens, 51, of Palm Beach County, has since sent out requests to towns all over the state, including Miami Dade, Miami Lakes, Doral, Lauderdale and Jacksonville. He is also working on Mission Viejo, California.
This isn’t Stevens’ first culture war. In fact, he said he gets a kick out of antagonizing religious people. He made national headlines in 2013 for setting up a Pabst Blue Ribbon festivus poll in the Florida state capitol. He tried a similar tactic late last year, erecting tall, rainbow festivus polls at state capitols around the country.
Stevens is a professional software developer who was raised agnostic. He says over time his “heart hardened” because of things he witnessed in religion. Now, he’s made it his witness to make the gap between church and state as wide as possible.
“When you peel the onion, removing the humor and the props, this is a discussion about our most basic freedoms, our most basic, and most important, freedoms,” Stevens told TheDCNF. “I staunchly believe government has zero business being in the business of religion. When I go to city hall, I don’t want to sit through church, I’m there to get a roofing permit. Review nation states that don’t separate church from state, are those examples we’d like to follow? Often times, we use words like theocracy and caliphate, and we’re bombing them back into the stone age.”
But why Satan? Stevens said doesn’t believe in Satan.
“Pushing the adversary is offensive to Christians, which is why we use it,” Stevens told TheDCNF. “We show how ridiculous they are by insisting that they let us use their Satan if they get to use their God. But really, we don’t want any of it. We disgust ourselves by using Satan, but it’s a stronger counterpoint than the emptiness of atheism. Satan gets us a ticket to the dance, and from there, we can press our agenda — the complete removal of religion from government.”
It’s not surprising Stevens has received serious backlash for his efforts. But he said his biggest critics have been the actual Satanists.
“Not really sure how that works,” Stevens said. “They’re fighting the good fight, they just need to stop pouting so much, it’s really unseemly for a Satanist to bitch and moan.”