Popular Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is putting his foot down after signing a key piece of legislation aimed at protecting a core traditional American value in the state’s primary schools.

DeSantis signed House Bill 931  into law, which allows school districts and charter schools to “adopt a policy to authorize volunteer school chaplains to provide support, services, and programs to students as assigned by the district school board or charter school governing board.”

He also clarified that the program would not be imposed upon public school students, noting that participation is “totally voluntary for a parent or a student.”

In subsequent comments, DeSantis clarified that the new law would not permit members of the Satanic Temple to serve as public school chaplains.

“It’s our view that if school districts want to bring in chaplains to offer voluntary services, they’re within their right to do so. But there’s been a lot of confusion about that, about what’s permitted and what’s not. This legislation clarifies that, yes, school districts and charter schools have the authority to allow volunteer chaplains to be on campus and provide additional counseling and support to students,” DeSantis said during a bill-signing ceremony at Tohopekaliga High School in Kissimmee.

“It’s totally voluntary for a parent or a student to participate. No one’s being forced to do anything. But to exclude religious groups from campus, that is discrimination. You’re basically saying that God has no place. That’s wrong. That’s not what our Founding Fathers intended,” DeSantis said.

“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. That is not a religion. That is not qualified to be able to participate in this. So, we’re going to be using common sense when it comes to this. You don’t have to worry about it,” he said, according to the Florida Phoenix.

Meanwhile, The Christian Post reports the co-founder of The Satanic Temple responded to the new law with a request to debate DeSantis:

Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, which oversees After School Satan Clubs and planned to take advantage of the law, argued in a series of social media posts summarizing his comments to media that DeSantis’ words “hold no authority” because the U.S. Constitution “guarantees equal treatment under the law.” The group has threatened to sue if its members were prohibited from participating in the chaplain program.

Greaves stressed DeSantis “invited Satanic chaplains into public schools, whether he likes it or not” because he is “not at liberty to amend the Constitution by fiat.” He also noted that The Satanic Temple is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt religious organization.


Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.