Shouts of “hail Satan” were met with “we love Jesus.”

Others in the packed foyer of conservative Ottawa County’s Fillmore Complex on Tuesday toted signs that read “Satan has no rights” and “one nation under God” as Commissioner Rebekah Curran handed out cookies with the Bible verse John 3:16, WOOD reports.

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When a member of The Satanic Temple of West Michigan delivered the invocation to start the meeting, a viewing room for the overflow crowd descended into chaos.

“Jesus be glorified in this place,” one man preached as others watched the invocation on a projector screen. “Jesus be glorified, the name above all names.”

The tumultuous start to Tuesday’s meeting follows a change to board policy in January that allowed pastors to address commissioners if they follow specific procedures. The move was prompted by complaints from a LGBTQ activist pastor from Grand Haven who sued the county after he was not chosen to offer an invocation, according to MLive.

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Pastor Jared Cramer of St. John’s Episcopal Church was later allowed to deliver an invocation in February, but has continued his lawsuit nonetheless.

The change followed a resolution approved by the commission last year that established Ottawa County as a “constitutional county” that protects individual rights, and the invocation on Tuesday was a means to test that commitment, Bendr Bones, a member of the STWM, told WOOD.

Bones said he thought the invocation went well.

“It’s sort of a message that ‘I’m doing the right thing’ if people that I ideologically disagree with are protesting,” he told MLive.

Others who attended the meeting shared a range of views about the invocation, and how it relates to the free speech rights for members of The Satanic Temple.

Donning a “Make America Godly Again” hat, Allegan resident Jose Rizo said allowing temple members to speak was the right thing to do.

“But I also think we should have the right to protest,” he told MLive. “We’re just here to praise God.”

Members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation also supported free speech in a letter to commissioners ahead of the meeting, WOOD reports.

“I think what most people want their county commissioners to do is to act as a government and not get involved into these controversial religious disputes,” said Patrick Elliott, FFRF director of legal counsel. “And so we think the best way to resolve it is to drop the invocation or drop the prayer. If they’re not going to do that, there may be some prayers that some on the board don’t like and that’s OK. They’re going to have to tolerate that.”

Many others who spoke Tuesday condemned the move.

The controversy around the invocation is the latest for commissioners backed by Ottawa Impact, a political action committee led by commission Chair Joe Moss that worked to elect representatives to push back on government restrictions imposed during the pandemic.

The PAC won the board’s majority in August 2022, which set of a series of clashes with more progressive members of the community, from replacing the county’s health officer to changing the county motto and closing its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department.

Those clashes continued on Tuesday.

Commissioner Roger Belknap held a sign in protest, while Commissioner Jacob Bonnema walked out during the public comment.

“I had enough of the endless unproductive dramatics,” he told the Holland Sentinel. “When they decide to do actual business of the county again, I will be there with bells on.”

“I would like to see the commission return to its long-standing tradition of commissioners doing the invocation themselves,” Bonnema told WOOD. “After all, the invocation is meant to be for the benefit of the commissioners. I would like to know which commissioners would be willing to go on record to say that they benefitted from the Satanic Temple’s prayers.”

Commissioners Gretchen Cosby and Kendra Wenzel prayed to themselves during the two and a half minute invocation from Luis Cyper, a minister with The Satanic Temple.

Curran, along with about 45 others, read Bible verses during the public comment period, the Sentinel reports.

“I feel like it’s a really important moment in time to not only show the love of Christ, but show the power of Christ,” Curran said. “I just pray that everyone will feel the manifest presence of God in this room and in this building today.”

While much of the focus of Tuesday’s meeting was on The Satanic Temple, commissioners did approve a resolution “to promote life” with an 8-2 vote, MLive reports.

The resolution states the county “encourages individuals and communities to promote life, support women in making a choice for life, protect the preborn, provide resources for expectant mothers, and support organizations, which assist mothers and fathers with life affirming decision in unplanned pregnancies, and adopt and foster children, ensuring every child is valued, loved and protected.”

The was amended from a version published last week that would have prohibited county staff and resources to be used for an abortion, “including the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug or any other substance or device, to intentionally kill an unborn child.”

Also stricken from the resolution was a prohibition on county staff and resources “allocated for transportation to abortion providers for the purpose of obtaining an abortion,” according to MLive.

Despite the changes, commissioners Doug Zylstra and Roger Bergman opposed.

“This resolution has no business being on our agenda,” Bergman said.

Curran disagreed, sharing her experience as a pregnant 19-year-old.

“My daughter is 25 (now). Life was very important to me,” she said. “I knew that if I took any other option or if I had an abortion, that I would be ending her life.”