Satanists volunteer in Florida schools after DeSantis’ ‘more God in classroom’ bill

Satanic Temple members were left outraged after Florida governor said it’s ‘not a religion’ and can’t participate in new program

James Liddell
Tuesday 09 July 2024 19:09
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The Baphomet statue is seen in the conversion room at the Satanic Temple where a ‘Hell House' is being held in Salem, Massachusett on October 8, 2019
The Baphomet statue is seen in the conversion room at the Satanic Temple where a ‘Hell House' is being held in Salem, Massachusett on October 8, 2019 (AFP via Getty Images)

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Satanists are volunteering to fill vacancies across Florida schools after Ron DeSantis signed a new law pushing for more religion in education.

A state law went into effect last week allowing for “additional counseling and support to students” from outside organizations to fill staff shortages – including from religious groups.

The Florida initiative allows chaplains to serve as public school counselors as more states aim to embed Christianity into public school environments.

Without the bill, DeSantis – who was brought up in a staunchly Catholic household – said that “you’re basically saying that God has no place [on campus],” adding “That’s wrong”.

Members of the Satanic Temple have lobbied for freedom of religion in public schools, including through the establishment of After School Satan clubs – which have been popping up in states across the US that allow religious groups to operate on campus.

The Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said schools should be ready for satanists to participate
The Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves said schools should be ready for satanists to participate (Getty Images)

The organization that says it does not believe in God or the devil. It describes itself as “nontheistic” and campaigns against the encroachment of religion on public life.

“Proselytization is not our goal,” it claims, adding: “The program focuses on science, critical thinking and the creative arts, with “no interest in converting children to Satanism.”

Members of the Satanic Temple are now ready to fill vacant counselor roles in schools across the Sunshine State’s 67 counties, its co-founder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves told The Guardian.

“Should a school district now choose to have chaplains, they should expect Satanists to participate as well,” he told The Hill on Monday.

The Satanic Temple is officially recognized as a religion by the US government.

DeSantis contests that Satanism is “not a religion” and said its followers would not be allowed to participate in the program.

DeSantis says that Satanism is ‘not a relgion’ causing outrage to temple members
DeSantis says that Satanism is ‘not a relgion’ causing outrage to temple members (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“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. We’re not playing those games in Florida. You don’t have to worry about that,” he said at April’s signing.

Greaves has slammed the governor for what he perceives as having “openly lied to the public”. He argued that it’s not up to DeSantis to grant rights to Christianity while simultaneously denying another’s “religious identity”.

The temple’s leader said it was prepared to take legal action if Florida continued to attempt to thwart Satanists’ access to schools.

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