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Satanic Temple co-founder challenges Florida Gov DeSantis to debate on religious freedoms

The co-founder of the Satanic Temple (TST) has called on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to ban his faith after he named Satanists who would not be allowed to participate in a new pastor program signed into law last week. I challenged him to a debate on freedom.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing school districts to hire volunteer school chaplain services.

Under the bill, each school in the state would have the option to adopt a policy that would allow volunteer school chaplains to provide support services and programs to students. The bill also requires principals of schools with volunteer school chaplains to notify all parents about services provided and to notify parents before a student attends or receives services. Written consent is also required.

DeSantis stressed Thursday that the program is “completely voluntary participation by parents and students.”

Florida bill would allow satanic priests to serve as volunteer chaplains in public schools

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the Satanic Temple is not a religion. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

He also clarified that TST members cannot serve as public school chaplains.

“Some people say if we had a chaplaincy program in schools, somehow we’d have Satanists running around in every school. We don’t play that game in Florida,” DeSantis assured the crowd. “That’s not a religion. People like that don’t have the right to participate. So we’ll use common sense in this matter. There’s no need to worry.”

As the bill moved through the state legislative process, TST threatened to sue the state if any of its members were barred from serving as chaplains in the program.

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After School Demon King Lucien Temple

Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucian Greaves pictured outside the Salem courthouse. (Josh Reynolds of The Washington Post via Getty Images)

TST co-founder Lucian Greaves told FOX News Digital that the governor has repeatedly made comments about the organization without any knowledge of who they are or what they believe.

“This should be a matter of grave concern to everyone, regardless of their religious views,” Mr Greaves said. “Worse still, in signing HB931, the governor did not cite any legal theory from the press conference podium to support his views, making Satanists ineligible to participate in the school chaplaincy program. He just announced.”

The TST co-founder said the bill also shows that DeSantis didn’t know how the law worked and that the bill he signed into law “actually allows satanic ministers in schools.” He said it showed a lack of awareness and that the governor was unaware of the limits of his authority.

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Baphomet/Temple of the Devil

A statue of Baphomet in the conversion chamber of the Satanic Temple on October 8, 2019 in Salem, Massachusetts. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

After making his comments, Mr. Greaves posted on X that the IRS recognized TST as a tax-exempt church.

“If Florida’s Republican administration intentionally excluded this group from the state’s new school chaplaincy program, it would be the type of discrimination that would likely fail in court,” he wrote.

Rachel Chambliss, TST’s executive director of operations, also extended an invitation to DeSantis to participate in a public discussion with Greaves regarding the organization’s status as a federally recognized religious organization.

“Given Governor DeSantis’ recent statements regarding our involvement in Florida’s new school chaplaincy program, we respectfully note our disagreement,” Chambliss wrote. . “We believe that public debate provides an excellent forum for a thorough discussion of the principles of religious freedom in the United States.”

DeSantis’ office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on this story.

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Still, Greaves said the governor’s actions were “wrong.”

“If I’m correct and Mr. DeSantis is just engaging in empty grandstanding with complete disregard for the intelligence of Floridians, then he will definitely ignore this challenge.” Mr Greaves added.

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