A woman who is a member of the Satanic Temple began a local Alaskan government meeting with, a prayer that included the phrase “Hail Satan.”
On Tuesday night, Iris Fontana began a local government meeting that was open to the public with a prayer: “That which will not bend, must break, and that which can be destroyed by truth should never be spared as demise. It is done, hail Satan,” Fontana said according to local radio station KSRM.
But after she finished speaking, about 12 people walked out of the meeting in protest, according to the Associated Press. In total, about 40 people came to protest outside of the Kenai Peninsula Borough meeting, The Hill reported.
Fontana was a plaintiff in a 2016 lawsuit filed with the ACLU of Alaska to allow anyone offers a religious invocation at a government meeting — regardless of faith, according to The Hill. Previously, the policy stated that only people belonging to religions with an established presence on the Kenai Peninsula were allowed to do so. Other plaintiffs in the suit included an atheist man and a Jewish woman, according to the Associated Press.
In 2018, Alaska’s Supreme Court called the policy unconstitutional and ruled in favor of Fontana and the ACLU, according to the Peninsula Clarion. The newspaper notes that participation in the incantations is not mandatory for anyone in attendance.
Founded in 2013, the Satanic Temple was given US government recognized the Satanic Temple as an organized religion earlier this year. In April, the IRS gave the group, which is rooted in activism and protest, the same tax-exempt status that it gives to religious groups.