Satanists in Florida offer to fill school counselor roles after DeSantis law

Satanists in Florida offer to fill school counselor roles after DeSantis law

Florida Satanists are volunteering to fill school counselor roles after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a law allowing religious chaplains into public schools amid staffing shortages.

“Nothing in the text of the bill serves to exclude us, and no credible interpretation of the First Amendment could. Should a school district now choose to have chaplains, they should expect Satanists to participate as well,” Lucien Greaves, cofounder and spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, said in a statement to The Hill on Monday.

Back when DeSantis signed the bill in April, he described Satanism as “not a religion” and said its members would not be allowed to participate in the program.

But Greaves said the governor “openly lied to the public” regarding the situation.

“Either entirely ignorant of the most basic fundamentals of constitutional law, or too incompetent to care, DeSantis fails to recognize that it is not the place of the government to confer unique rights to one religious identity while denying them to another,” he said.

Reached for comment, the governor’s office pointed to his remarks from April.

“We’re not playing those games in Florida. That is not a religion. That is not qualifying to be able to participate in [the chaplain program.] We’re going to be using common sense … you don’t have to worry about that,” DeSantis said at the time.

The Florida move allowing chaplains to serve as public school counselors comes as more states are aiming to inject Christianity into public school environments, including by mandating that the Bible or Ten Commandments be taught in classrooms.

The Satanic Temple has increasingly leaned into the fight over freedom of religion in public schools, including through the establishment of After School Satan clubs.

The temple, founded in 2014, says its mission is to “encourage benevolence and empathy, [and] reject tyrannical authority.”

Updated at 2:33 p.m. EDT

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