A Nevada county commissioners group allowed a Satanist to open its meeting with a religious ceremony earlier this week.
Jason Miller, founder of Reno Satanic, delivered an invocation before the Washoe County Commission Tuesday that began with praising “the name of the eternal rebel against tyrannical authority,” and ending with “Hail, Satan.”
One commissioner, Clara Andriola, stormed out of the meeting in protest of the invocation.
Andriola had been advocating since the summer of 2023 to add prayers to the start of meetings.
The goal was to open it to faith leaders, however, due the county’s interpretation of legal compliance, anyone, religious or not, could deliver an invocation.
“The federal law is that you don’t have to open your floor for invocations,” explained Nate Edwards, with the Washoe County district attorney’s office. “If you do open your floor for invocations, then federal law is that you have to let everybody have a turn signing up.”
And that is exactly what Miller did.
He “prayed” that commission members would be guided by “nobility and justice to the decisions made in this chamber today,” and that they would “act with might in the undertaking of responsibility that may lay ahead of this body before us today.”
Miller also praised freedom of expression, intellectual inquiry, and the beauty of the natural world in his prayer to Satan.”For our liberation, here and now is our day of joy. Here and now is our opportunity,” he continued.
Andriola and other public commentators expressed that they did not appreciate his remarks.
“I totally disagreed with the invocation presenter today,” she told the public. “I would like to encourage our entire faith-based community to contact the county manager’s office to be considered for an invocation.”
“We are one nation under God. We said that in the Pledge. We are not one nation under Satan, the evil one,” Penny Brock told KTVN-TV.
Others were okay with Miller’s presentation.
“I think that was the hope, is that it would center people, get people to think about the bigger world around us and how these decisions affect our community,” said Commission Chair Alexis Hill.
“As long as you don’t say anything profane or inappropriate or disruptive, then you certainly can speak … and he followed those rules,” she added.
Former commission candidate and chief sheriff’s deputy Tom Green shared during the public comments he strongly opposed the invocation, but he is not surprised by the message.
“We know there’s a struggle for the soul of this nation, a struggle between light and dark, a struggle between good and evil,” he said. “This fight occurs at every level of the nation so why wouldn’t it be happening in Washoe County?”