DeSantis Excludes Satanists from School Chaplaincy Program

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) recently signed a bill into law that allows public and charter schools to have volunteer chaplains, although the governor emphasized that the chaplaincy program does not extend to Satanists.

“Some have said that if you do a school chaplain program, that somehow you’re going to have Satanists running around in all our schools,” he said during a press conference. “We’re not playing those games in Florida. That is not a religion. That is not qualifying to be able to participate in this.”

“We’re gonna be using common sense when it comes to this,” he continued. “You don’t have to worry about that.”

The legislation reads, “Each school district or charter school may adopt a policy to authorize volunteer school chaplains to provide supports, services, and programs to students as assigned by the district school board or charter school governing board.”

The law goes into effect on July 1.

After the Senate version of the bill was approved in February, The Satanic Temple’s (TST) Director of Ministry, Penemue Grigori, wrote in an email, “Any opportunity that exists for ministers or chaplains in the public sector must not discriminate based on religious affiliation,” adding, “Our ministers look forward to participating in opportunities to do good in the community, including the opportunities created by this bill, right alongside the clergy of other religions.”

TST co-founder Lucien Greaves told Fox New Digital that DeSantis cited “no legal theory to support his view” that Satanists should be excluded from the chaplaincy program.

Rachel Chambliss, TST’s executive director of operations, invited DeSantis to a public debate with Greaves over the temple’s federally recognized status as a religious organization.

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