Satanic Temple Co-founder Calls Out Florida Governor DeSantis for Debate on Religious Freedoms

Satanic Temple Co-founder Calls Out Florida Governor DeSantis for Debate on Religious Freedoms

The co-founder of The Satanic Temple (TST) invited Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a debate on religious freedom after DeSantis said Satanists could not take part in a new chaplain program that was signed into law last week.

A bill that lets school districts use volunteer school chaplain services was signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Under the bill, every school in the state can choose to make a policy that lets volunteer school chaplains help kids in a variety of ways. The bill also says that principals of schools with volunteer school chaplains need to let all parents know about the services and get written permission from parents before students can join or receive the services.

Thursday, DeSantis made it clear that the program was “completely voluntary for either a parent or a student to take part.”

He also made it clear that TST members would not be able to be pastors in public schools.

“Some people have said that if you have a school chaplain program, there will be Satanists in all of our schools.” “Those games are not going to happen in Florida,” DeSantis told the crowd. “That’s not a faith.” That doesn’t meet the requirements to be a part of this. We’re going to use common sense here. “Don’t be worried about it.”

As the bill went through the state legislature, TST said it would sue the state if any of its members were kept from being chaplains in the program.

Lucien Greaves, co-founder of TST, told Fox News Digital that the governor has said many things about the group without knowing who they are or what they stand for.

“This should be of significant concern to anybody, regardless of their own religious views,” said Greaves. “Worse, in signing HB 931 into law, the governor simply announced, from the podium at a press conference, that Satanists were to be considered unqualified for the school chaplaincy program while citing no legal theory to support his view.”

The co-founder of TST said that the bill shows DeSantis doesn’t know how the law works and that the bill he signed “does in fact allow Satanic chaplains in schools,” which shows the governor doesn’t know what his power limits are.

Greaves wrote on X after making the comments that the IRS sees TST as a tax-exempt church.

“If FL’s Republican administration deliberately excludes the group from the state’s new school chaplain program, that would constitute the kind of discrimination that would likely fail in court,” he wrote.

Rachel Chambliss, who is the executive director of operations at TST, also sent DeSantis an invitation to debate Greaves in public about their approval by the federal government as a religious group.

“In light of Governor DeSantis’ recent remarks concerning our involvement in Florida’s new School Chaplain program, we find ourselves in respectful disagreement,” he wrote. “We believe that a public debate would provide an excellent platform to thoroughly discuss the principles of religious freedom in America.”

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