Banishing Act

| March 18, 2002 Issue

Y ou can't say Carolyn Risher, the devout Christian mayor of Inglis, Florida, isn't doing her part in the never-ending battle between good and evil. She's just having a little trouble getting people to follow her lead.

Last November, Risher drew up a proclamation that declared Satan "powerless" against the town's citizens. The move came after her pastor, Rick Moore, brought up the idea at a Halloween party. "She felt inspired to put the words on the paper, but God directed it," town clerk Sally McCranie told the Weekly Planet.

The ACLU was less inspired. The organization threatened to file suit in federal court against the town, citing the threat to religious freedom. The Inglis City Council quickly responded, ruling that Risher's proclamation was not an official action of the Council -- meaning the mayor's ban was a symbolic act, not law. Because Risher had no authority to issue a proclamation without the vote of the City Council, she was also required to pay back the cost of photocopying the proclamation.

Risher remains unrepentant, though, saying that the City Council hasn't convinced her that she's done anything wrong. Furthermore, she says the Council hasn't "impressed or convinced [her] that there's a separation of church and state." Her goal is to keep the proclamation alive, she says, and encourage others to "get on the bandwagon."
--Kate Garsombke
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