Mayor of Florida Town Banishes Satan From City Limits

March 14, 2002

Source: The New York Times

On March 14, 2002, The New York Times featured an article on Carolyn Risher, the mayor of Inglis, Florida (population: 1,400), who "has made international news by banning Satan, by mayoral proclamation, from the Inglis city limits... She has drawn praise and condemnation and has become the butt of jokes. To some people, it is a most heinous violation of the separation of church and state. To others, there was too much separation there already, and it took Mrs. Risher, a 61-year-old from Florida's Gulf Coast, to pinch church and state together again... Mrs. Risher... did not plan on any of that... She did it, she said, because on a late night more than four months ago, God told her to... The Rev. Richard Moore, pastor at the Yankeetown Church of God, told the mayor of his plan to help cleanse the town of its evils by installing four hollowed-out wooden posts at the four entrances to town. In the hollow of each post would be a prayer... The mayor thought that was a good idea, but on Halloween night, as she sat alone at her kitchen table, she was moved by the spirit of God to banish Satan -- by proclamation -- and insert that banishment into the posts... Other town officials would later say that the mayor was only speaking for herself, but the proclamation was printed, signed by the town clerk and stamped with the official seal, before being encased in the posts and sunk into the ground... While some residents disagree with the mayor's official stance against Satan, most people seem to support her."