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The Town That Banned Satan

A Visit to Inglis, Florida

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In our conversation, Pastor Moore brought up an interesting point: "After September 11, the mayor organized prayer vigils and a candlelight service at Town Hall," he said. "Over 500 people came to that, and they all sang church songs as well as patriotic songs. The whole community was patting her on the back for that. But how is that different from this proclamation?"

I pointed out to Moore that the proclamation contains some pretty strong language; it mentions "citizens cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb" exercising their "authority over the devil in Jesus' name" to command "satanic and demonic forces" to leave town. Perhaps, I suggested, it's relatively easy to sing "God Bless America" and talk about evil in Afghanistan and in New York, but it's harder to take when evil is pointed out in your own backyard.

"That's exactly right," said Moore. "And that's what I call paying lip service to God."

One might admire Risher's courage, or her concern for the welfare of Inglis' citizens, or even her resolve to fight evil in "the spiritual realm." However, Risher has ignored one of the most basic tenets of American governance, that imperative to protect the rights and beliefs of individuals, regardless of their religious beliefs or disbelief. Some Americans might call that "paying lip service" to the Constitution. *

When Morris Sullivan isn't holy rolling his way through small towns, he's a freelancer who lives in DeLand, Florida.


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