Satanic Temple threatens to sue if schools bar its leaders from chaplain program in Florida

Lucien Greaves is spokesman and co-founder of The Satanic Temple.
Lucien Greaves is spokesman and co-founder of The Satanic Temple. | The Satanic Temple

Two bills recently introduced in the Florida Legislature that would allow volunteer chaplains to provide counseling services in public schools have prompted The Satanic Temple to threaten legal action if its members are barred from participating.

Senate Bill 1044 and its companion House Bill 931, which already passed the Florida House of Representatives last month, would also mandate that principals in schools with volunteer chaplains tell parents about it and offer them a list of the volunteers, all of whom will be subject to a background check.

Parents will be allowed to choose from the list of chaplains and allow their children to receive counseling with written permission, though representatives from The Satanic Temple have expressed a desire for their chaplains to be included in such offerings.

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"Any opportunity that exists for ministers or chaplains in the public sector must not discriminate based on religious affiliation," Penemue Grigori, who serves as The Satanic Temple's director of ministry, told The Tallahassee Democrat.

"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."

Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, spoke out against what he described as the legislation's attempt to allow a back door for religious instruction and "proselytizing evangelism" in Florida's public schools, according to Fox News Digital.

"In an effort to dismiss concerns about bringing religious viewpoints into schools, advocates for chaplain bills have a scripted response that insists their interest is in merely providing additional 'emotional support' for potentially troubled youth," Greaves told the outlet.

"If that were true, they could simply be calling upon volunteers who hold licensure as counselors to offer their services in the schools in their communities."

Greaves also said that school districts can expect legal action if satanic priests are prohibited from participating in the chaplain program, which would go into effect on July 1 and largely be left for individual districts to govern, according to local Fox 35.

"They should also not want to waste public funds on a lawsuit that's certainly going to lose because of some superfluous effort to put chaplains in schools on a false rationale," Greaves told the outlet.

Florida state Sen. Erin Grall, a Republican who represents Vero Beach, did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment but said she is concerned about the potential of satanic priests taking advantage of the legislation she sponsored.

"But I think that as soon as we get in the middle of defining what is religion and what is not, and whether or not someone can be available and be on a list, we start to run up to constitutional problems," Grall said, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.

"So I think that us making sure that it's open and available to anybody who wants to put themselves through the background screening, and let parents know they're available for that service, is the best way to go," she added.

The Satanic Temple of Iowa also made news in the lead-up to Christmas last December when they prompted fierce debate even among Republican lawmakers by erecting a statue of Baphomet near a Nativity scene in the Iowa state Capitol.

Michael Cassidy, a U.S. Navy veteran and former GOP candidate for the Mississippi House of Representatives, traveled from Mississippi to Des Moines and toppled the display on Dec. 14.

Cassidy has since been charged with third-degree criminal mischief in violation of individual rights, a Class D felony under Iowa's hate crime statute. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came out in support of him following the incident.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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