Escambia School Board Member, ‘Agnostic Pagan’ Battle Over Satanic Prayer

January 22, 2015

A religious battle of sorts has been brewing between a member of the Escambia County School Board and a citizen that attends board meetings on a regular basis – with a prayer carpet and prayers to Satan. And after a school board meeting this week in which the board member walked out during one such Satanic prayer, it appears that battle may be headed into a full-fledged war.

David Suhor doesn’t describe himself as Satanic, saying that Satan is a “creation of the Bible”, which he rejects. Rather, he says on his blog that he prefers “agnostic pagan pantheist”.

Jeff Bergosh is a three-term Christian member of the board that aims to be a champion for the students in the Escambia County School District, and also aims to make sure the board’s rules are upheld.

Suhor delivered a Pagan prayer in song before the Escambia County Commission last year….during which Escambia County Commissioner Wilson Robertson walked out rather than listen. Suhor has pushed the school board to stop their long-standing custom of inviting a guest speaker to open meetings in prayer and instead opt for a moment of silence. All of those prayers, he says on his blog, have been lead by Biblical believers and have not represented minority religions. He’s pushed Bergosh to invite him to pray before the school board, but Bergosh has repeatedly stressed that will never happen.

This month was Bergosh’s turn to invite the opening prayer speaker, and he chose Rabbi Joel Fleekop from Pensacola’s Temple Beth-El. As the Rabbi delivered his prayer, Suhor turned away from the board on his prayer rug near  the podium and began chanting his own prayer– loud enough in the opinion of one audience member that he told the board that he was unable to hear the Rabbi’s prayer, which asked for “God’s blessing upon this board, upon the teachers, administrators of this county, and especially upon the students…”

During the opening forum portion of the meeting, citizens are allowed three minutes to speak before the BOE, with explicit instructions that they are not to address board members other than the chair or make personal attacks. During his three minutes, Suhor called the Rabbi a “Token-Jew” and, in Bergosh’s words, insulting both the Rabbi and the board member.

Bergosh called it a “total loss of control”, with board chair Patty Hightower exercising “no control” over the speaker.  Before his three minutes expired, Suhor said, “This is from the church of Satan…Hail Satan…” and preceded with his Satanic prayer. As for Bergosh, he didn’t hear but the first few words before walking out of the meeting. Another board member, Bill Slayton, turned away.

“I wasn’t going to listen to a minute, not a nano-second more of this guy’s vitriolic garbage, and I won’t in the future either if he is going to blatantly walk all over our rules unabashed,” Bergosh wrote Wednesday.

Many in the audience began to recite the Lord’s prayer out loud as Suhor continued his message to Satan. On his blog, Suhor took issue with the Lord’s Prayer interruption, saying the chair should have paused the timer and quieted the audience so that he could continue.

The war of the words continued Wednesday on each man’s respective blog, with Suhor calling Bergosh’s actions “immature at best” and Bergosh accusing Suhor of “utilizing antics and shenanigans that are disruptive, divisive, and antagonistic”.

Bergosh said Wednesday that he will put the issues raised by the incident at this week’s board meeting on a future board workshop agenda.

“I will not sit silently if this individual comes to our meeting and tries these sorts of stunts again and is not restrained.  Out of deference to the Chair and the rules of the board, I was silent through this blatant violation of the rules.  I won’t be next time,” Bergosh wrote. “I’m not indulging this disruptive person, and I never will.”

“A BETTER USE [sic] use of the school board’s time would be a thorough discussion of the invocation – as a policy and a legal liability,” Suhor blogged.

Pictured top: Escambia County School Board member Jeff Bergosh’s empty seat (left) during a Satanic prayer. Pictured inset: Self-described “agnostic pagan pantheist” David Suhor delivers a prayer before the Escambia County Commission (top inset) last year and this week before the Escambia County School Board during a pre-meeting public forum (bottom inset).  Images are video stills from each respective board’s meeting video by NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Comments

79 Responses to “Escambia School Board Member, ‘Agnostic Pagan’ Battle Over Satanic Prayer”

  1. NDN on January 26th, 2015 12:21 am

    Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

  2. Rural Geek on January 25th, 2015 12:04 pm

    What they wrote in the Treaty of Tripoli is accurate. The US Government structure is not based on Christianity, it is agnostic. But the actions of the founders prove that the modern interpretation of those that say the 1st amendment excludes Christian observances at government functions is factually incorrect.

    The treaty was signed by President John Adams who also wrote in the Massachusetts Constitution:

    “Article III. As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of the public instructions in piety, religion, and morality: Therefore, To promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies-politic or religious societies to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.”

    The Massachusetts Constitution is the oldest functioning constitution in the world.

    Under the Constitution the government appointed a Senate chaplain, required that the first President attend church after inauguration, had the President sworn in on a Bible (not the Constitution), and held church services in the House of Representatives up until the Civil War. Thomas Jefferson, who is considered one of the least religious of the founding fathers, attended the services in the House while he was President.

    The Founders may have not worshiped like modern evangelicals, but they were indeed mostly Christian. Even Thomas Jefferson believed in Jesus Christ and the morality of his teachings. He just did not believe in the meta-physical miracles but still believed in God.

  3. BT on January 25th, 2015 9:13 am

    Rural geek:

    The Treaty of Tripoli, passed unanimously by the US Senate and drafted during the Washington administration reads, “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the christian religion.”

    The early presidents and patriots were largely Deists or Unitarians.

  4. steve on January 25th, 2015 7:05 am

    The rules are pretty clear here. Separation of church and state.

  5. chris in Molino on January 24th, 2015 5:30 pm

    @Tired of it & rural geek
    And to those of you who read it. One of thousands of examples that there is definately a hidden agenda. Nothing is what it appears. With media and how your brainwashed into thinking Disney, MTV, Nickelodeon, etc. isn’t programming everything your child sees and hears. You really have no rights. Society is sick. Whether your a believer or not, you will soon see. All it will take is one “created” threat that causes computers (your idol) to crash and the gas and grocery trucks to stop coming. If your not killed by the mobs, you’ll cry for the govt to come take care of you (they thrive on dependency), and you’ll accept whatever conditions they impose.i.e. the chip, brainwashing (fema) camps. Im ready for the Lord Jesus, are you.

  6. Sea Hag on January 24th, 2015 3:52 pm

    I’m not going to argue about religion in school or school-related activities, or whether Christianity is superior to any other religion. I’m just going to say this guy is nothing but an attention junkie. His logic is totally flawed and contradictory. He says Satan is a creation of the bible, which he rejects, yet he chants Satanic prayer. He says he is an agnostic, “a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience”. He also claims to be a pantheist, who follows the doctrine that “God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations”. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but the bottom line is that he rejects traditional religion and likes to make a scene.

  7. david lamb on January 24th, 2015 9:42 am

    There are rules of order for meetings, Roberts Rules of Order, There is usually a police officer or deputy present, if not have one there. .Have the individual removed from the meeting.

  8. bk on January 23rd, 2015 8:37 pm

    If Mr. Bergosh has no tolerance of those with different religions, he has NO business being in a public office.

  9. Wondering on January 23rd, 2015 8:23 pm

    why is this person not arrested for disturbing the peace. May God have mercy on us all is these perilous times.

  10. Rural Geek on January 23rd, 2015 7:53 pm

    Here’s you a civics lesson BT.

    Three days before George Washington took the oath of office as the first president of the United States, Congress passed the following resolution: Resolved, That after the oath shall have been administered to the President, he, attended by the Vice President and members of the Senate and House of Representatives, shall proceed to St. Paul’s Chapel, to hear divine service.[13] Accordingly, the Right Rev. Samuel Provost (1742–1815), newly appointed chaplain of the United States Senate and first Episcopal bishop of New York, performed “divine service” at St. Paul’s Chapel on April 30, 1789, immediately following Washington’s inauguration. – Wikipedia

  11. Michael Teply on January 23rd, 2015 6:56 pm

    I’m in total support of Bergosh,He is trying to make the point that prayer does not belong in government

  12. tired of it on January 23rd, 2015 5:31 pm

    @BT even though I was educated in escambia county it was a long time ago before it took it’s downward turn. Civics, as it was taught in my day, was the study of the rights and responsibilities of citizens as it pertained to our government.

  13. brenda on January 23rd, 2015 5:22 pm

    WOW !!!!! This man has openly professed his beliefs in public and we all have given him the notification he wanted….The only thing I want to say is what if he was in torment and pain or someone standing in front of him with an AK47 will he ask for satan to deliver him from torment and go where????? Anyway I and every Christian who will stand up KNOWS WHO WINS IN THE FINAL DAYS and you wear the armor of GOD and stand up for Jesus he will deliver you to a beautiful resting place..

    GOD Wins in the End…Amen

  14. Muriel Killam on January 23rd, 2015 3:39 pm

    This incident is abomination! I cannot express how infuriated I am. To clear this up simply adopt a rule that no more people will be invited to speak a prayer regardless of his religion. Simple let the board have a 3 minute silent prayer. And if anyone attempts to do otherwise simply have him arrested fo disrupting a public meeting.
    God bless us all , especially Mr. Bergosh.

  15. BT on January 23rd, 2015 2:56 pm

    @tired of it. …is that really what you learned in civics class? I’m beginning to understand the problems public education is facing.

  16. xenubarb on January 23rd, 2015 12:24 pm

    Amazing. These people have gotten so involved with things outside their purview. Dump all prayers and do your damned job instead of focusing on superstitious nonsense.

    This is not what you’re paid to do.

  17. Jessica on January 23rd, 2015 11:40 am

    Praying for Mr. Bergosh and other Christians who stand up for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Satan is under his feet!

  18. Jessica on January 23rd, 2015 11:31 am

    Every knee will bow and every tounge confess that Jesus is Lord… Whether you want to or not…then you can go be with Satan forever!

  19. tired of it on January 23rd, 2015 10:56 am

    People please go back to your Civics classes and American Government classes. The phrase “separation of church and state” itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Meaning that the government shall not say “all of our citizens must be religion X or will be punished by law” and it enables people of different faiths to worship with out being harmed. By having someone come and say a prayer at a public event is not a violation of any law. When you believe in something it is part of who you are. Your decisions in all aspects of your life are guided by those beliefs. The founders of our country were Christians so therefor our foundation is based on who they were as Christians. Without the moral boundaries among other things that they had as Christians we would not have the legal boundaries we do today. How we present our differences and our tolerance for the differences of others has taken a wrong turn somewhere.

  20. RLA on January 23rd, 2015 10:38 am

    To me it is so funny (not ha ha funny) that Suhor gets all offended when the audience start citing the Lord’s prayer and “interrupts his” but that is exactly what he did to the Rabbi. Besides that, according to this article Suhor wasn’t even invited to offer the invocation, so why does he think he has to the right to offer his version of prayer ABOVE AND OVER that of the INVITED clergy? Talk about being RUDE and DISRUPTIVE!!! I applaud the audience that cited the Lord’s prayer… rightfully so. Good on them. Suhor is getting more brazen because his attempts at inciting the various governmental boards at their public meetings is basically getting ignored, thus preventing him from being “in the media lime light” and getting attention. I think everyone should just consider the source of people like him, ignore them and then pray to whoever their god may be for his lost soul.

  21. Humble Christian on January 23rd, 2015 9:57 am

    This is all total nonsense. To the supporters of the pagan: Be honest, you’re happy that someone is ’standing up to “the man”‘, correct? You’re glad that someone other than those terrible, dastardly Christians are getting a moment in the sun…am I correct? Yes, I am, and you know it.

    It all boils down to rebellion and pride. The reason satan was banished from heaven: let’s see…Rebellion and Pride?

    But most pagans think that is just myth. Just like King Arthur, and St. George and the dragon.

    Have you ever considered that myth is usually based in historical events?

    I digress.

    To those supporting Mr. Bergosh: I stand with you and couldn’t be more pleased. Despite what the cry-baby left says, this country is and will always be a CHRISTIAN nation. The founders were Christian, they wrote in their diaries that they appealed to God on a daily basis for guidance, and we have proof of this. One treaty signed in the early 1800s by a sorry one-term president in order to appease a group of muslims doens’t change that.

    The spirit of God must draw these people unto himself. Unbelievers think it’s foolishness and stand on their own might; but take heart, this was prophesied in the Bible.
    Be blessed!

  22. Daniel on January 23rd, 2015 9:50 am

    Chris, you referred to the phrase” Separation of Church and State” Problem is, this does not exist in the Constitution. The first person to coin this phrase was Thomas Jefferson. He did so in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist in 1802. the intent of his letter was to assure these people that their freedom of religion would not be infringed upon. His exact words were “wall of separation between Church & State”, not only did you use the phrase out of context but you miss quoted it. Jefferson said ” between” not ” of “. The letter has been referenced several times through the years of our nations history. Each time it was used to protect the rights of the church, until 1947 when the court used only 8 words of the letter rather than the full content of the letter. When one reads the letter in its entirety it is in no way calling for a separation of church and state, but using only 8 words it can be miss interpreted to mean what you want. The 8 words are,”building a wall of separation between Church & State”.

  23. confused... on January 23rd, 2015 8:56 am

    So, correct me if I’m wrong — the way it works is this: every month, one of the school board members invites a person of their choice to do the invocation…and nobody cares whether this person is Christian, pagan, A Satan worshiper, Jewish, etc., as long as he/she was invited by the school board member assigned to that month. They may not agree with what is being prayed or said, but they would respect that they were the invited speaker. This man, however, was not invited to speak or do the invocation…he speaks, uninvited, and interrupts the invited speaker. How is anyone having a hard time seeing what’s wrong here? This isn’t about what religion he is…

    Now as far as my opinion on the invocation…ehhhh. I sort of think a moment of silence would do the trick. I feel that everyone can pray silently to their God & avoid all of this messy drama, but regardless, that doesn’t entitle someone to disrupt the meeting. That’s what children do – they don’t get their way? That’s fine. They’ll pitch a fit and make as much noise as possible, until someone gives in to their wishes just to shut them up.

  24. A mom on January 23rd, 2015 4:47 am

    Chris in Molino, your not out of touch, everyone else is. @ Josh, read Chris in Molino comment, prayer has always been in school, we don’t care about what you typed, all we care about is what’s right & prayer has been involved in everything, school, ball games, etc, oh by the way, I do take my kids to church, & not just take them, we try to follow & live by what we hear. I hear some parents say that they take their kids to church but you can tell, they don’t act like it.

  25. 429SCJ on January 23rd, 2015 3:16 am

    America was a Christian nation until others, through the federal government, introduced multiculturalism. Once this concept was introduced, next the concept of tolerance was imposed. Multiculturalism and tolerance are creatures of the state. Once the state is removed, then multiculturalism and tolerance collapse as they are not natural.

    When the federal government is washed away by debt and incompetence, then we can return to our natural condition, and then settle disputes and disparities in a natural fashion. We will then again be a Christian nation without dispute.

    Consensus will reveal simple solutions for these once seemingly complex social issues, and reveal a clear course for decisive closure.

  26. angie on January 23rd, 2015 1:45 am

    Since God has been taken out of everything, look where the world is. People have lost all hope because without God there isn’t any hope. God is Real and yes so is Satan, God gave Satan dominion over the earth and us freewill to choose right from wrong. If we can’t stand up for what’s right, we will fall for any thing. I’m glad that we have at least one Christian that’s not afraid to take a stand against EVIL. THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU WITH MORE COURAGE.

  27. chris on January 22nd, 2015 11:26 pm

    School is for education. It is a public place run by the state. I dont care if your Christian, atheist, agnostic or worship the kool aid guy.

    We have a separation of church and state. If you have a personal religion, you have your right to practice it, but keep that out of our publicly funded organizations.

    Live and let live, your personal liberties permit any religion of your choice, but it is not to be imposed on others.

    A moment of silence is a great compromise to all belief systems. If you cant do that then dont do it at all.

  28. Joe on January 22nd, 2015 10:06 pm

    Matthew 6:5-6 says: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    If the school board wants to pray together, they should do it beforehand instead of asking the audience (some of whom are not Christian) to pray along. Would they want their elected officials asking them to pray against their conscience? I think not. This is government, not church.

  29. chris in Molino on January 22nd, 2015 10:00 pm

    @Joe W
    Amen to that. He’s coming, look around you. Every generation has said, this world is going to crap, but now it is. Soon people wont know how to communicate without the image of the beast (ie; computer). Just 25 years ago, had i had a 3D pen that could draw on air, every federal agent in town would be at school investigating me and everyone i know. How have we come so far so fast. Closer to science and technology, further from hard work and spirituality.

  30. joe w. on January 22nd, 2015 9:27 pm

    I geuss its everybodies rite to worship any god rhey want to but as for me I will worship my Lord Jesus Christ

  31. John on January 22nd, 2015 8:50 pm

    Causing all this drama might get this guy temporary satisfaction today. However hell is hot, and real. He needs prayer and to find the LORD before he spends eternity there. Its sad to hear the comments of people who do not recognize that we need GOD in our lives. No matter how smart we are or how successful we become in life, without Jesus in your heart you will end up in hell. 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

  32. chris in Molino on January 22nd, 2015 7:25 pm

    I must be WAY out of touch. I can’t believe some of the comments i’m hearing where i was born and raised. I never knew of another religion in school. Im 36. There were no people doing this sort of thing. Anywhere i can remember people joining hands and praying, everyone did. Have people changed or is there really THAT many yankees that’s moved here ?
    Growing up, if someone seen you do something wrong, they whipped you and told your daddy, then he whipped you also. People waved to each other. If the elderly woman down the road was ill, daddy would make me work at her house. We shut the tv off at dinner and talked and you weren’t disrespectful. I can go on and on but really, nobody cares how messed up things have become ? Maybe i need to get more rural although i guess it doesn’t matter with smartphones and technology. It makes the idoltry instantaneous.

  33. BPD on January 22nd, 2015 7:03 pm

    You want to talk to a magic sky genie, do it at home or go to church.
    If you go to a public meeting, you discuss public business.

    Besides, any magic sky genie is likely too busy give AIDS and Ebola to people in Africa to worry about your insignificant problems.

    BPD, for everything in its place.

  34. Bob C. on January 22nd, 2015 6:09 pm

    WELL ….. all of us being in on this I can hear Mr. Suhor dancing around and saying,
    “I WIN…They ALL recognized ME”.

    School Board Chair should maintain order or step aside yielding to one of the members who has the Will and Strength to impose the rules.

    When Mr. Suhor — and others — finishes his 3 minutes in the public forum then get on with the Business of the Board which as I recall has something to do with Education and moving that forward on a positive path for the betterment of our students, schools, teachers and society.

  35. Marcia Santeler on January 22nd, 2015 5:52 pm

    Let him have his three uninterrupted minutes. Of course, everyone has the option to walk out. He won’t get much attention from an empty room. And if he is offended by the chosen speakers, I suggest he do the same. My question is why expend so much time and energy arguing against something he doesn’t believe in?

  36. sam on January 22nd, 2015 5:29 pm

    giving this guy coverage is the worst thing that could happen. now he’s encouraged to continue. move on.

  37. Josh on January 22nd, 2015 5:26 pm

    @mom-

    Actually, as clearly stated in the Constitution, and numerous times by our Founding Fathers, the government(s) of this nation have only one choice: no recognition of any god or gods, or religion for that matter.

    In regards to this person, I think he is making a fantastic point, although he could go about it differently: Many Christians have no problem twisting our Constitution to support their ‘religious’ rights, but when it comes to another religion, they tend to be quite disrespectful.

    Religion has no place in public education. Simple as that. If you want to raise your kids in a religious setting (as is your right) take them to church and/or send them to private school.

  38. RLA on January 22nd, 2015 4:16 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with “tired of it”. “Those who cry for tolerance and equality are usually the most intolerant and unbalanced people.” This “person (Suhor)” is just looking for attention and doesn’t care how he gets it. He is trying to incite the local officials at their meetings so he can call in the likes of Freedom from Religion Foundation, ACLU, etc. If he makes a big enought a–s of himself and officials respond negatively to him, that’s exactly who he will call. He is escalating his actions over the past couple of years because people are ignoring him. That is driving him nuts

  39. Wendell on January 22nd, 2015 4:15 pm

    If Mr. Suhor has a legitimate legal complaint I’m afraid he’s not taking it/himself seriously enough to warrant any serious attention to it. People who entertain themselves by acting like a fool are quickly joined by real ones who think they’re in good company.

  40. Neighbor on January 22nd, 2015 3:55 pm

    Angelique, I will pray for your soul because God is in control of all things! You are right about one thing, religion has nothing to do with public education, but, God has to do with all things!

  41. Neighbor on January 22nd, 2015 3:53 pm

    Why can the School board allow prayer at their meetings when Our teachers are not allowed to pray at the schools? Its ashamed that so many have tried to take God out of schools.

  42. CK in Molino on January 22nd, 2015 1:24 pm

    On this one, I would have to agree with Jim (by the rules/laws of man). Although, as a Christian I would love to hear the prayer aloud. Good for those who said the Lord’s Prayer out loud – you should be proud of standing up for your belief too. However, more often these days we are being pushed into silence. Therefore, silence for ALL. Another reason we, as Christians, are told to know our bibles and hide the words and message in our hearts.

    Each day we are pushed to agree with everyone, don’t offend anyone, be tolerant of everything. Well, tolerance will lead to acceptance and before long we have even more problems because the truth is: There are some things are NOT acceptable and should not be tolerated. For those of us that are Christians we know the truth and we know what God accepts as good and we know what is evil. If there was ever a doubt, check your concerns in the bible – the answers are there.

  43. Angelique on January 22nd, 2015 1:08 pm

    Haley: Your pity isn’t necessary. Religion is not necessary. The school board is mighty distracted right now. Gee, Focus on public education already. Don’t lose sleep on my account. My children are proud and respectable and are praised dearly by their good ol mom and dad.

  44. Jim on January 22nd, 2015 12:41 pm

    I go along with the moment of silence so everyone can do as they want without infringing on others beliefs. This is a School Board meeting, not a prayer service. On the same note, if the School Board insists on inviting someone to say a prayer before the meeting then ALL beliefs should be given the opportunity as long as they respect others and follow the rules.

  45. tired of it on January 22nd, 2015 12:35 pm

    Those who cry for tolerance and equality are usually the most intolerant and unbalanced people. Our country was founded on the Christian faith. It has welcomed people of all faiths to come and worship within its borders. The first amendment allows for the freedom to practice different religions. What it doesn’t do is mandate that all religions get is equal time and space.

  46. Bob B on January 22nd, 2015 12:25 pm

    And finally we get to the heart of the matter from Haley:

    My point is, if you are offended by Christian beliefs then don’t attend meetings where prayer (Christian prayer), is offered. Don’t subject yourself to it.

    That a fine way to keep “undesirables” away from you meetings. So, what you’re saying is you have to listen to some Christian, or Jew or Muslim, or Buddhist or some navel gazer spout their drivel for three minutes in order to go before the board of education. What the heck does any of this have to do with education?

  47. Haley on January 22nd, 2015 11:43 am

    WOW. Yes, I believe in free speech-but not to the extent that it reduces others free speech. This guy sounds as if he is trying to disrupt these meetings. I think he should be asked to leave if he cannot conduct himself in a more respectable manner. As a Christian, I am offended by his pagan/whatever worship he believes in. I don’t care what he believes in……My point is, if you are offended by Christian beliefs then don’t attend meetings where prayer (Christian prayer), is offered. Don’t subject yourself to it. At the same time, don’t subject me to your pagan prayer. If I want to hear it, I will attend a meeting or get together where it is practiced. And yes, the majority is giving up their rights for the small minorities in the name of not offending someone. And Angelique, I respectfully disagree with you and actually pity your opinion. Religion has a place in all aspects of our lives. Jesus Christ is very important in our lives. If you think God doesnt apply to all that we do, you are lost. I think this is the problem with many of our young today. Why should I be denied prayer in school simply because one person doesnt agree. Don’t participate if you don’t agree. But dont stop the majority from worshipping God…..WOW……

  48. Marshall on January 22nd, 2015 11:38 am

    Why give this guy any more attention? Let’s just ignore this guy and let the board deal with him on their terms. Acknowledging him this way only helps to serve his agenda.

  49. mom on January 22nd, 2015 10:11 am

    CUT HIS MIC

  50. mom on January 22nd, 2015 10:06 am

    The governments of America have 4 choices:
    1) Acknowledge any or all gods.
    2) Acknowledge no god.
    3) Acknowledge gods that are recognized by the minority and suppress the recognition of the Christian God, (redistribution of worship)
    4) Acknowledge the God of the Bible as was done in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and by our Founders. That was the original intent.

    One does not have to acknowledge all gods to be constitutional.

  51. EMD on January 22nd, 2015 9:48 am

    I wonder if all of this stuff is straining at gnats, and swallowing camels. What are we all doing in our personal lives on an individual basis in our relations with God? Grace at meals? Now I lay me down to sleep? Attending church? Is that basically all or most of what we do? If so, all of this is moot.

  52. molino resident on January 22nd, 2015 9:20 am

    I totally agree with Bob C. School Board, you need to get a hold of your meetings and toss the guy out, when he wants to be disruptive.

  53. Bob C. on January 22nd, 2015 8:53 am

    On a more grassroots level, I pray the kid’s grades and attendance and report cards and schedules and transcripts will be correct and ON TIME following the mess that this new and improved system, Focus, has created for kids, parents, teachers and administrators.
    School Board you need to get a grip and maintain order in your own meetings and get over the fear of Offending someone. They cause problems toss their butt out.
    Lord, Help us ALL……

  54. MM on January 22nd, 2015 8:50 am

    I miss 2nd grade back in the ’70s when we would pledge to the flag, and then the teacher would read bible stories. Unfortunately, these types of confrontations will probably only increase as the Laodicean church age winds down to a close.

  55. BT on January 22nd, 2015 8:24 am

    He’s doing this all wrong. You have to bend your index fingers, too.

  56. Lifendason on January 22nd, 2015 8:04 am

    @proud pagan: Separation of church and state did not mean that the church was supposed to stay out of the state’s business, but that the state would stay out of the churches business. The day you take God out of anything you left with a void that people try to fill with whatever they think is correct, which is way a lost person will never find complete happiness and satisfaction outside of Jesus Christ. Example: look at our PUBLIC schools today after the Bible has been taken out. This country was built on Christian/Judeo values and if you doubt that then you are just in denial and the empty void needs to be filled with Christ, not religion.

  57. BOGIAN on January 22nd, 2015 7:54 am

    I get where this guy is coming from, but he hasn’t got a leg to stand on. I prefer a moment of silence to a prayer precisely because some will choose to “tune it out” if they don’t like the religion of the individual doing the praying.

    I really don’t understand his tactics though. It boggles the mind that he would roll in there and interrupt prayers and then pout when the same is done to him. Perhaps he should seek a career in national politics and leave this local stuff behind. Those games don’t work so well in a local setting.

    It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been to one of those meetings, and the rules were enforced back then. Hopefully the chair will maintain order in the future.

  58. jeeperman on January 22nd, 2015 7:37 am

    As soon as Suhor called the rabbi a token Jew, he should have been ordered to sit down because he attacked a person verbally. The rest of his rant was not a violation of board rules.

    Suhor’s three minutes at the podium was a protest of the school board inviting guest prayer givers. More specifically the lack of non-Christian or non-mainstream prayer givers.

    Jeff Bergosh’s statement below:
    “If he is invited, legitimately, by one of my counterparts on the board to deliver the invocation then I will be respectful and stay.”
    Is just a bunch of hot air, as we all know, no one will invite a guest prayer giver that is not of a mainstream religion. All members have refused to invite Suhor or any others.

    Suhor offers up the solution, which is to not have a verbal prayer delivered by any invited guest. But to have a moment of silence so that all persons have the opportunity to pray or not pray. And not be forced to hear any one persons choice of prayer.

    If the ACLU or some other ilk should take the board to court, the board will lose and be forced to eliminate the prayer.
    And spend thousands of our tax dollars fighting a battle that they will not win.

    Can’t have oral prayers in public schools, why should the board of said schools be allowed to do so?

    Perhaps those that would like to lead a prayer at the board meeting should attend and put their name in a hat and draw a name lottery style?
    Then there are no favoritism invitations involved.

  59. BentStraight on January 22nd, 2015 7:16 am

    Attention seeker trying to troll public meetings to fulfill his ego, probably doesn’t even have any kids (at least I hope not). Pray that his annoyance will end!

  60. Angelique on January 22nd, 2015 7:05 am

    A Mom: this Is where my children are from. Church and state are supposed to be separate. Yes, following rules is necessary even when we don’t feel like it.

  61. M in Bratt on January 22nd, 2015 6:52 am

    The issue here should not be one man’s beliefs against another’s. The issue should be that the School Board Chair did not maintain order in this meeting. Anyone that has issues with the School Board or BCC should have to follow established rules of these boards to address these issues. This person should not have been allowed to disrupt meetings, and in doing so, he trampled on everybody there’s right to free speech. Call the Sheriff, and kick the bum out if he cannot behave.

  62. proud pagan :-) on January 22nd, 2015 6:44 am

    There are many more Pagans than people realize. Christianity, Judaism,& Islam are the only religions that believes in satan….therefore if one does not believe in satan they can not be worshipping it!
    Just as Christians have a right to “their” prayers, so are other religions! It’s called “freedom of religion” ….whish means ALL religions. … NOT “freedom of only christian religion” !
    And on top of that…. there’s supposed to be separation of church and state….school is state. If you want strictly Christian belief/prayers then go to a “Christian school” not “PUBLIC school….or a church!

    Blessed Be

  63. Billy D on January 22nd, 2015 6:40 am

    this clown needs to take his act somewhere else where he really has a forum. It’s time that the people of this country stand up for what the MAJORITY desires rather than pandering to the precious minority who ted to get their way more often than not. Our nation is now scared of groups like the ACLU because they make such a fuss that we bend over and give them what they want…..over and OVER. When will we learn that the needs of the ONE don’t outweigh the needs of the MANY? Thanks Mr Bergosh for standing up and refusing to let this loser be heard. The whole board would serve well to turn their backs on him.

  64. Born again believer on January 22nd, 2015 6:27 am

    I sure hate to see the direction America is going, but I am glad to see someone taking a stand for the Lord. People today are trying to take God out of everything, but historical evidence proves the bible, prayer and God were very relevant in the founders lives,in government and their way of thinking. We as a country need to get back to our roots and not what man says. Schools of old open class in prayer and used the Word of God as the text book! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”Proverbs 1:7. If it was good for them it will be good for our kids today. Mal 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not;”

  65. Ulysess Everette McGill on January 22nd, 2015 6:15 am

    Seems they could ban the guy, charge him with disorderly conduct or some other low grade misdemeanor. They don’t have to be held hostage by this fruit cake’s garbage.

  66. fred on January 22nd, 2015 6:10 am

    you know, I think the board is inviting the wrong guys to lead the prayer. There’s a group of big burly bikers in town who would probably be happy to come pray and keep order in the room.

  67. Jeff Bergosh on January 22nd, 2015 5:43 am

    If he is invited, legitimately, by one of my counterparts on the board to deliver the invocation then I will be respectful and stay. I don’t care if he prays to Satan, The Elements, Klingons–it will not matter I will tune it out. Nothing he says can sway my faith, and that’s really not the point. The point is that every month like clockwork he disrupts the invocation portion of the meeting with vocal chants that make it difficult for audience members, and even board members on the dais, to hear our invited guests. Now even the audience members complain they can’t hear. I’ve discussed the issue with the appropriate staff yet nothing is done to restrain this guy. Sure, he has a right to free speech, and free expression–however that right does not permit him the license to be visually and verbally disruptive during our meetings to the detriment of everyone else in the room. It’s rich that he was upset when folks started praying loud enough to derail him, I think it’s pretty ironic he plead to the chair to have them stop because they were “interrupting his Satanic prayer”. Yeah, that’s the pot calling the kettle black. If he can’t control himself and not do those things and abide by decorum in the meeting hall, then he should be warned, and if he continues he should be trespassed by the deputies. it is that simple— but this just illustrates a problem that is becoming systemic in our country–we bend over backwards to not offend a minuscule, tiny vocal minority–at the expense of everyone else that is following the rules. I’m saying enough is enough here already. And he should have been shut down immediately for his anti-Semitic, derogatory remarks directed toward my guest the Rabbi Fleecop. The whole thing, unfortunately, devolved into a sad spectacle……

  68. Ms. Silence Do-Good on January 22nd, 2015 5:35 am

    Angelique, I’ve prayed for your lost soul and will continue to do so. How sad that you don’t recognize the blessings your son has apparently been given. Many children work hard and study diligently but aren’t capable of making straight A’s. Your child has been blessed with scholastic ability.

  69. Jane on January 22nd, 2015 5:23 am

    If you allow one religion, then by all standards of the Constitution you must allow all religions. However, if one person is disrupting a meeting that person should be removed, regardless of how he/she is disrupting the meeting. Robert’s Rules of Order specifies this. (I am a believer in prayer, and go to church.) I am being very objective here by saying this, in the interest of fairness, this person disrupted a meeting and should have been removed from the meeting.

  70. CW on January 22nd, 2015 5:16 am

    This doesn’t make any sense. If this guy is a true agnostic he shouldn’t need any kind of prayer rug or “Satanic” prayer.

    Personally, I think religion should be banned from it altogether, then we wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.

  71. deBugger on January 22nd, 2015 4:52 am

    I’d like to give Mr. Suhor ten minutes, alone, in a locked, windowless room with a REAL Satanist- Danzig could show him a thing or two about “dat ole Debbil”.

  72. God is Good! on January 22nd, 2015 4:41 am

    Angelique how sad it is that you have no understanding of God, His Son or His Word. Unfortunately, satan has you so blind that you cannot see what a sad situation you are even in. You will definitely be in my prayers.

  73. 429SCJ on January 22nd, 2015 4:16 am

    When Suhor get to hell Satan and his minions will mock and laugh at him for being so gullible, and foolish to believe that Satan holds anything other than contempt and hate for anyone.

  74. John on January 22nd, 2015 4:14 am

    @Angelique, your comments ring reminiscent of the third reich. This is the United States of America and SCOTUS has ruled more than once that this is a Christian nation.

  75. A mom on January 22nd, 2015 3:18 am

    Angelique, you talk nonsense, that’s what’s wrong with our kids today, they took prayer out, keep up the good work Mr. Bergosh, but please bring prayers back instead of silent minutes, if parents don’t want that, then let them take their kids to another district, or go back where they came from.

  76. chris in Molino on January 22nd, 2015 2:44 am

    This guy should’ve been forcibly removed and banned from any future govt meetings. I’d have made him sit down and shut up if i had witnessed such nonsense

  77. Vanessa on January 22nd, 2015 2:32 am

    Continue to stand for our God, Jeff. Praise the Lord that we have you.

  78. bin on January 22nd, 2015 1:35 am

    looks like these teenagers from the 80s and 90s that used to kill dogs and cats to get attention are now putting on suits and going to town meetings to pervert the community and other children. just like a progressive. and he’ll get his way.

  79. Angelique on January 22nd, 2015 12:42 am

    Religion has nothing whatsoever to do with public education. Have times changed against our will? I resent that our children’s educational welfare cannot be discussed without superfluous and supernatural topics being discussed first. God didn’t cause our teachers to do such a great job. God didn’t make my son the straight A honor roll student he is, either. P.S. Not everyone is even religious anyway. Try focusing on the children’s education. When they grow up and have to follow through and work and pay bills and feed children..it will be up to them and their capabilities. They will solve these problems on their own..God won’t. I say respectfully: Save the prayers for church or bedtimes, folks.





Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.